4 Jun 2013

Across the Southern Alps by train

Getting ready to board the train
Repin with the Kea, the only alpine parrot in the world
From Christchurch we traversed the Southern Alps aboard the famous Trans -Alpine train to Arthur's Pass. We boarded the train very early in the morning (8.00am). It was quite full actually - mostly tourists from all over the world.  As the train moved over the Alps we saw the snow capped mountains of the Alps and spectacular gorges and the Waimakariri river winding its way through the valley. Here and there are mountain farms or highland farms as they call it here in New Zealand. They reminded me so much of Essie Summers' books about New Zealand high country life. We passed by a small town high up on the mountains called Springfield - according to the commentator it served as the collecting point for wool and other high country produce for the farmers in days gone by. Today much of the high country farms are no longer in operation and many of them have been taken over by the government.

We stopped at Arthur's Pass and boarded our coach here. From Arthur's pass we drove through more scenic country and stopped at Spooner's View point to get a look at the surrounding landscape and also got an intimate introduction to the Kea - the only alpine parrot found in the world. The Kea is said to be as clever as a 3 year old and just as mischievous!

Repin at Arthur's Pass station

That night  we stayed at another scenic resort - the Franz Josef Scenic Resort with a gorgeous view of the mountains and the temperate forests. The next day, 6th May we visited  the famous Franz Josef glacier, one of the few fairly accessible glaciers in the world.
Another gorgeous view from the train

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