The train is not full of passengers on the westbound route, but we understand the eastbound train will be full. There is only one train per day per direction. It has lovely modern coach cars, a café car, and an open-sided car from where it is best to take photos (no window reflections) - however it is rather cold today when you are outside. Cal is spending a lot of his time out there.
|The KiwiRail Train for Today|
|Very Comfortable Seating|
|Open windows (no glass) for the Observation Car|
Due to other fibers used for making clothes, the use of wool has decreased over the years therefore the production of sheep is down in comparison to years ago. However saying this, there are many sheep Stations in the high country. A Station/ranch is a huge area and has a minimum of 20,000 sheep on it.
After we left the Canterbury Plains, the train began climbing and climbing. This higher land is only good for grazing. The train tracks often follow rivers, and we crossed gorges on several high trestle bridges. We also went through tunnel after tunnel, climbing and climbing, until we reached Arthur’s Pass. Along the way we could see snowed mountain peaks. It is a beautiful ride. You would see one lovely peak and then another one would appear. Due to the mountains there are lots of rivers, and the ones at the lower levels are braided. We also stopped at several rail stations to pick up people and drop others off.
|Beginning of the River Gorge|
|Lonely Country House|
|Snow on the Mountains|
|Bridge Across the River|
|The Absolute Beauty of New Zealand|
|Train coming out of a Tunnel|
|Oh to be 4WDing on this road|
This would be a wonderful area in which to have a jeep. You could go for days on off-roads. In 1996 when we were on the east side of the North Island we visited a Rotarian who owned a sheep station that over looked the Pacific Ocean. Stations are usually very self-supporting entities, as they are so remote – Many of the areas we have driven through on this trip are so remote that it would be at least a 2 hour drive to town. The Stations are often 5 miles off the main road on winding gravel roads. In other words, ‘going to town’ would be an all-day event.
|The Highest Elevation on the Route (1200 ft.)|
|Houses at Arthur's Pass|
Back down on the Canterbury Plains you feel like you are in civilization again!! It is dark by the time we get back to the Rail Station in Christchurch.
Our host booked a lovely restaurant for dinner last night. Then it was back to their home for tea/coffee and dessert. Final packing is on our mind as well as calling a taxi for the morning ride to the airport.