Tuesday, April 10, 2108
I managed again to be awake before my alarm went of. More time to get all my stuff ready for the trip today. All searching for my power bank has been in vain. It is gone. That is not good when you use your mobile for geocaching, filming, photos and surfing and you need backup energy for your GoPro…
Walking with all the luggage is not an option as the train station is outside the city center where I am staying. But thanks to the Uber app my car arrives after about 2 minutes. Only great service I got. I have to say, I didn’t meet one Kiwi that was unfriendly. Extremely open and friendly down here. I like that. After about 15 minutes driving i arrive at the station.
My ticked was booked way in advance and I can only advice people to get as much information online as possible. The TranzAlpine train has prices that are only visible in New Zealand. Non flexible tickets that can be up to 80 NZ$ cheaper than the ones you get online. Just put the free Hola Add-on in Chrome and make the homepage believe you are in NZ. Very easy.
The day is gray and it rains. Not the best starting point for a scenic train ride. I hope for the best. Camera is charged. The train is in the station and I have to wait about 30 minutes before boarding starts. The time is used to make a call home (still have a lot of minutes for calls to Germany left).
Luggage is checked inn to an extra car at the back of the train. I av a seat in wagon A at the back. Window seat in the direction we are driving. Perfect. As this is a scenic train ride, the windows are large and the view would be great – if it wasn’t raining…
All seats have electricity (which I cannot use because my adapter is to big) and headphones for information about the area the train is driving through. I have two seat to myself. A lot of space. First thong to do is getting some breakfast from the cafe wagon. Normal prices here.
I cannot describe the whole train ride. We are crossing 5 different areas with 5 different climates. As we come closer to the mountains, it starts snowing. I thought I went on holiday to NOT have snow – we have enough of that at home. That makes filming with my GoPro put of the window difficult. Have to see at home how it went.
The train staff informs us that we will enter a nice valley and scenic view. There are two wagons for viewing in front of the train. So everyone who wants to take pictures it on the move to the front. As I am sitting in the back of the train, I have to go a long way, and all the very old people are in front of me, moving with the speed of snails. It takes some time to get there.
The wind is blowing and the snow comes in, but the view is OK – i would have been fantastic without the snow and a little bit of sun. You cannot see the mountain tops as they are covered in clouds and the range of visibility is extremely reduced. I do some pictures and hope they turn out well. An English passenger who sits opposite of me gives me his mail address because he couldn’t take any pictures – i f I could send a few if there are good ones. Sure that. Not every person carries around their big camera like me (they might be smarter^^).
There are several more opportunities for pictures and I take some videos with my GoPro on the Gimbal without the wet window in front of it. After about 3 hours, we arrive at Arthurs pass. A perfect photo opportunity. The train stops there for 15 minutes and everybody gets out to take pictures in front of the sign – me too of course. Just the snow is disturbing and I was to lazy to get my jacket, but I am used to this type of weather – so no problem here.
The train is now going through 17 km of tunnel down towards Nelson. The snow has stopped and it is raining again. The landscape is different. The on board information we get tells us about the building of the railroad, the villages we pass and how things were and are now.
We arrive in Greymouth about 10 minutes after schedule. That is not that good as I have to get the bus to Nelson and need to get some drink and food for the 6 hours bus ride.