Tranzalpine Train Rides, Christchurch
Christchurch , South Island
Tel: 64 4 495 0775
Concierge.com's insider take:
If you'd rather experience the rugged, majestic Southern Alps in comfort than in crampons, this four-and-a-half-hour sightseeing trip lets you see the best of it. After leaving Christchurch, TranzScenic's modern, comfortable train (with long windows for admiring the views) crosses the patchwork farmland of Canterbury Plains before hitting high country. Between Springfield and Arthur's Pass National Park, there are 16 tunnels and five vertiginous viaducts—one, aptly named Staircase, winds 250 feet above the Waimakariri River. Photo-op stops are made at both Arthur's Pass and the northeasterly coastal village of Greymouth before the return trip.