25 July 2015

5 Day trips from Christchurch, New Zealand

Once you have had your fill of exploring Christchurch (and drinking the cracking coffee) there are 5 places you have to make a day trip of whilst at the tip of the South Island.

Tranzalpine journey from Christchurch to Greymouth.

Crowning the list is one of the top railway journeys in the world - the Tranzalpine journey from Christchurch to Greymouth.


Cross the fertile farmlands of the Canterbury Plains, and enjoy thrilling vistas over deep gorges as you travel alongside the ice-fed Waimakariri River. Traverse the mighty Southern Alps, where spectacular views of the chiselled alpine landscape will take your breath away at every turn.
Descend through thick stands of native beech forest to your destination, Greymouth – a great base for exploring this unspoiled region with its mighty glaciers, wild rivers and famous Punakaiki pancake rocks.

I couldn't put it better myself!
 

Tranzalpine journey from Christchurch to Greymouth.



We unluckily ran into a few problems insofar as a hour into the comfortable 4 hour train ride (we breakfasted on Afghan biscuits and sipped Flat Whites - oh how I adore being home) an elderly gentleman drove over the train tracks ahead of our train but sorely misjudged the timing.

Tranzalpine journey from Christchurch to Greymouth.
 
Tranzalpine journey from Christchurch to Greymouth.

The train couldn't slow quickly enough, hitting the car and damaging the locomotive engine. Luckily he was absolutely fine, walking away just with shock, but it meant we were transferred to a coach for the remainder of our trip to Greymouth. Ironically enough my Uncle had recommended getting the Transalpine train one way, then catching a coach to see a slightly different view of the incredible scenery.

Tranzalpine journey from Christchurch to Greymouth.

The view no matter what transport you take is breathtaking. With winding roads hugging the side of sheer moutain sides and running over shingle river beds we were entranced.

Tranzalpine journey from Christchurch to Greymouth.

Due to the short turn around time, once we arrived in Greymouth we just grabbed a sandwich and hopped back onto the coach, but had considered staying the night to pop into the Monteith Brewery and explore the Punakaiki "Pancake" rocks. Next time, next time.
 
Tranzalpine journey from Christchurch to Greymouth.
I wanted to stay in that Campervan. Imagine waking up to that view! i

Swim with dolphins or whale watch in Kaikoura
I have always dreamt of doing this - and sadly foiled at Christmas in Tauranga due to stormy seas, we booked in with much excitement to travel up to Kaikoura (all my kiwi friends will be grimacing with the tourist-yness of this statement) but alas also owing to stormy conditions, our trip was cancelled whilst we were in Christchurch. It will be third time lucky, right?


Relax in the Hamner Hot springs
A 90-minute drive from Christchurch is one we weren't able to fit in (no thanks to our dolphin cruise being cancelled and the operator pretending to have notified our hotel, but hadn't) but remains on the must-do list. Leyla from Cutlery Chronicles has though...  

Cable car overlooking Lyttleton Harbour
This is more of a half day trip, but beautiful nonetheless. We relaxed in the cliff top restaurant with a coffee and a beating heart (I do not love cable cars) but the view was more than worth the journey.

Cable car overlooking Lyttleton Harbour

Cable car overlooking Lyttleton Harbour

Enjoy a beer in Akaroa
Who doesn't love a relaxing sunset beer before returning to their hotel for pies a lovely meal?

Cable car overlooking Lyttleton Harbour

Have you been to Christchurch? (ps this is in no way a sponsored post, just sharing a little travel joy we found in New Zealand).

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