What an amazing trip this was! It was a perfect spring day… Not too cold, not too hot… Just right. The sun was shining, the skies were blue, the air was crystal clear, there was snow on the tops of the mountains, and the equally crystal clear creeks and rivers were flowing fast. Newborn lambs, calves, and foals were gambolling in green pasture. You couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day!
Added to that was the company of friends, so good conversations, relaxing silences, a certain amount of silliness ensued. The train was modern and comfy, the staff were all very friendly, and, except for one idiot who decided that getting on the other side of the safety railing was a good idea (and he did it several times, even after being told not to by the staff as either his head could be knocked off or he could break his back if the train had to stop suddenly), all the passengers were well behaved.
The scenery was just spectacular. Mountains, steep gorges, flat plains, wide rocky river beds, blue waters from melting snow, white sheep (how do they stay so white?), ‘panda’ cows (black front and rear with a big band of white around their girth), new leaves, wildflowers, blossoms… This trip had it all.
After the ascent up the mountains from Christchurch and the Canterbury Plains, we travelled up over Arthur’s Pass then down the other side to the pretty little town of Greymouth where we had lunch at the pub. After an hour’s break we did it all again to get back to Christchurch. A 10-hour day trip from beginning to end.
It wasn’t a cheap day. However, the cost will fade over time while the memories won’t. NZ at its most spectacular.
One other thing… I’m still a bit wonky several hours later – a bit like sea legs after you’ve been out on a boat for more than a few hours. Must be the rocking of the train.