Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Greymouth by train

On Saturday morning we set out early for the Trans Alpine train from Christchurch to Greymouth. The Trans Alpine is amongst the top six train rides in the world and certainly lived up to our expectations.
The journey took about four and half hours and travelled through Barfield, Springfield, Arthurs Pass, Otira and into Greymouth.
We crossed the farmlands of the Canterbury plains, spectacular gorges and the rugged, snow capped Southern Alps before descending into the lush forests of the west coast to Greymouth. We passed through many tunnels along the way, one of which was eight and a half kilometres and for many decades it was the third longest railway tunnel in the world. It takes as long to pass through this tunnel as it does to cross the English Channel tunnel due largely to it’s gradient and for those who know how much I enjoy (not!) the Eastlink tunnel – it felt very long!
However the train ride was spectacular and it was great for Ian to be able to sit back and enjoy without worrying about driving.
It was cold so we (I) didn’t spend a lot of time standing out in the open observation area. I cannot claim any credit for the photos as Ian was the one who stood out in the cold this time.
When we arrived in Greymouth we picked up our car which is a Toyota Corolla, small but we hope efficient and enough for our needs after which we walked around the town and found a pub to sample the New Zealand delicacy of whitebait in an omelette. Very tasty it is too, so we’ve marked off one culinary requirement to say we’ve visited New Zealand. We also managed to find some flaked rice which our friends David and Elaine who are Kiwis said was a must to bring home so that will be interesting. Have to get it through Customs first!

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