Break free from the ordinary on this exhilarating four-day TranzAlpine escape, staying in three extraordinary West Coast destinations. Witness an ancient world filled with lush rainforests, curious geological formations, pristine river gorges, and rich cultural history, leaving you rejuvenated, enlightened, and enriched.
- Discover curious limestone formations and blow holes in Punakaiki
- Traverse the majestic Southern Alps on the world-famous TranzAlpine journey
- Soak in a wood-fired hot tub surrounded by natural beauty
- Travel back to the golden age and learn about West Coast mining history at Shantytown
- Morning Tea on the TranzAlpine train
- 4-Star Accommodation at Hotel Lake Brunner
- Evening dinner at Kingfisher Restaurant
- TranzAlpine Scenic Journey
- Wood Fired Hot Tub with charcuterie platter and drinks
- 4-Star Accommodation at Scenic Hotel Punakaiki
- Scenic tour of Brunner Mine Site and Punakaiki Pancake Rocks & Blow Holes
- Shantytown Heritage Park
- 4-Star Accommodation at Beachfront Hotel Hokitika
- Dinner not included
- Breakfast at the Hokitika Beachfront Hotel
- Afternoon tea aboard the TranzAlpine train
- TranzAlpine Train
Day 1 begins with a mesmerising journey high into the Southern Alps aboard the TranzAlpine train before descending into the West Coast region.
By early afternoon, you'll be stepping off the train in Moana, set on the banks of beautiful Lake Brunner. The rest of the day will be yours to explore and relax in equal measure.
Your evening entertainment includes a fresh wood-fired hot tub and evening dinner at the Kingfisher restaurant.
Accommodation & Meals Included
Christchurch to Moana by train
On this fantastic journey, you will see epic vistas, soar on the edges of the ice-fed Waimakariri River, traverse the Great Divide, and experience ever-changing landscapes.
The natural scenery isn’t the only marvel, though. The TranzAlpine soars over the 72m high Staircase Viaduct and through the 8.5km long Otira Tunnel, deep beneath the mountains of Arthur's Pass.
As you glide along the high plains of Cragieburn and Cass, you'll enjoy morning tea aboard the train.
Stepping onto the platform in Moana, you'll be immersed in spectacular scenery and your exploration of the stunning West Coast begins.
Explore Beautiful Lake Brunner
Arriving upon the banks of Lake Brunner aboard the TranzAlpine shortly after midday, you will be immediately immersed in stunning natural beauty. And with a whole afternoon free to enjoy this charming lakeside town and its dramatic natural environment, you'll feel inspired to head straight out and explore the spectacular great outdoors.
Options for an exploratory afternoon on foot abound, from a simple stroll across the Arnold River bridge and around the lake, to longer scenic walks or mountain hikes.
There are four easy trails within walking distance of your hotel, ranging from native bush walks ringing with birdsong, to leisurely strolls along the sandy lake shore soaking in the inspiring mountain scenery. With the hotel bar featuring spectacular views over the lake, an hour or two of easy walking followed by a refreshing drink or two is very alluring.
However, if you are after more strenuous exploration of Lake Brunner, then climbing Mount Te Kinga is a great option. The first viewing point is a fairly simple hour's walk, and the second viewing point a healthy three-hour return. Both viewing points provide spectacular views across the lake and the nearby Arnold Valley. And, with the trail starting and ending in idyllic Iveagh Bay, why not go for a refreshing dip in the lake afterwards.
As the sun goes down over Lake Brunner, it is time to be immersed in the soothing warmth of a wood-fired hot tub surrounded by natural magic.
Freshly poured from the natural spring that rises beneath the hotel and wood-fire heated to 42°C, this is an incredibly revitalising and relaxing experience. Overlooking the lake and its spectacular surroundings, there is nothing more blissful at the end of the day than a warm soak in the great outdoors. And while you relax, you'll be served a delectable charcuterie platter that you can enjoy with an optional, but highly recommended, glass of New Zealand wine.
The hotel's Kingfisher restaurant is also a renowned dining destination in Moana, and once you are fully relaxed from your hot tub experience, you can head straight to the restaurant and bar to continue your evening's entertainment.
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast in the hotel restaurant, and then the morning is yours to explore or relax as you please. Take a refreshing dip in the stunning water, a leisurely stroll around the lake, or lace up your hiking shoes and explore the local trails.
In the afternoon, you will be taken on a guided tour of Brunner Mine Site and the Pancake Rocks & Blow Holes in Punakaiki.
Your evening entertainment will be at the Scenic Hotel Punakaiki, where you'll enjoy an evening relaxing with phenomenal ocean views. This destination has the potential to be the best part of your adventurous escape. Enjoy dinner overlooking a spectacular sunset as the sky glows from orange to purple hues, finishing off with a full tableau of sparkling stars.
Accommodation & Meals Included
West Coast Guided Tour
Shortly after midday, it will be time to begin your scenic guided tour of the West Coast.
Starting with a brief educational trip to Brunner Mine Site, the highlight of your afternoon will be an insightful tour of the iconic Pancake Rocks and blow holes in Punakaiki.
This is one of the most famous geological formations in New Zealand. Formed over millennia and shaped by a unique West Coast environment, the huge sea cliffs have been moulded into stacked pancakes. Meanwhile, the relentless tides of the Tasman Sea have carved a network of caves and tunnels within the rock that funnel and spout waves of seawater high into the air.
This is certainly a unique and memorable experience.
After a stunning breakfast overlooking the Tasman Sea at the Scenic Hotel Punakaiki, Day 3 is a learning journey through West Coast history, both ancient and modern.
After an enriching day visiting Shantytown, you'll spend the evening relaxing in the gorgeous Beachfront Hotel Hokitika. We recommend grabbing some fish and chips and enjoying the remarkable view from Sunset Point.
Accommodation & Meals Included
Learn about the West Coast gold rush at Shantytown
Your first destination on Day 3 is the nineteenth century golden era of the West Coast.
Modelled on West Coast gold rush towns of the 1860s, Shantytown is a heritage attraction where you can relive the days of golden opportunity. However, as with most gold rush towns, things didn't work out well for the vast majority. And this is the poignant story of this heritage park—and why the park is called Shantytown.
Walking through the 30 pioneer buildings of Shantytown, you will learn the stories of the men and women who came searching for gold and prosperity and found only hardship and poverty.
You'll also find steam trains, a general store, and a chance to find gold as you learn the art of panning.
You will leave with a wealth of knowledge thanks to this educational experience.
Starting with a relaxing breakfast at the Hokitika Beachfront Hotel, Day 4 includes a leisurely return to Christchurch aboard the TranzAlpine train with a couple of hours exploring the West Coast town of Greymouth.
At 12pm your transfer will collect you from the Hokitika Beachfront Hotel and take you to Greymouth.
Arriving in Greymouth at around 12:15pm, you can check in your bags at the station, and then explore this quintessential West Coast town before the train leaves.
Stroll the streets, peruse the shops, enjoy a coffee at one of the many cafés. Walk along the river banks, where you'll discover interesting plaques and memorials that recount and commemorate the history of the town and its people. Wander down to Monteith's Brewery where you can learn about the history of this iconic nineteenth century brewery, learn about the brewing process, and enjoy lunch and a beer.
By 2pm, it will be time to board the TranzAlpine train and voyage back through the mountains to Christchurch.
TranzAlpine Greymouth to Christchurch train
The heavenly journey back through the Southern Alps aboard the TranzAlpine train is your perfect relaxing end to a wonderful few days exploring the West Coast.
Your journey begins alongside the Grey River, past Coal Creek, around stunning Lake Brunner, across the plains of Inchbonnie, through the Otira River valley, before ascending into the Southern Alps through the Otira Tunnel.
From Arthur's Pass, you'll descend into Canterbury along the braided Waimakariri River, past Cass and Cragieburn, before skirting along the steep banks of the Waimakariri Gorge.
Ease back in your seat and soak up the mountain views while enjoying afternoon tea, reflecting on the beautiful natural world around you and the engineering mastery of the generations who built this great railway through the heavens.
The spectacular five-hour journey to Christchurch will be over all too soon, but the memories of this great escape by rail will live on forever.
Included Activities & Accommodation
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