The drive from Christchurch to Greymouth is one of the best drives in New Zealand. It’s a trip I’ve taken hundreds of times, having grown up on the West Coast, making frequently runs across the Southern Alps to Christchurch on the East Coast. It’s a magnificent drive, through the Arthur’s Pass at around 900 metres above sea level. Three hours well spent.
Coming from Christchurch, the Canterbury plains lay green in winter, yellow and dry in summer.
The road side paddocks are home to sheep and cows.
The rocky outcrops of Castle Hill signal the start of the ascent into the Alps.
The Alps moving ever closer with every kilometre.
Long one way bridges slice over dry riverbeds.
The ascent begins. The surrounding bush thickens.
The viaduct gorge cuts dangerously through the eroding mountains. A waterfall is skillfully diverted above the road.
The descent is quick. Welcome to the wet and wild West Coast.
Great pictures – my bf and I are starting our travels in NZ on March 3rd. We’ll be renting a car and spending a month driving around both islands, these pictures have made me even more excited about what’s to come!
Excellent! Letting me know if you’re coming through Chch and we can arrange a blogger meet up. 🙂
Cannot wait to see this!
Bethaney, I took the train from Christchurch to Greymouth (July 2012), and even with under partly overcast skies and a very cold stiff breeze blowing through the observation car, the views were absolutely glorious. I would definitely love to drive around the South Island the next time I’m there. 🙂
Just found out today that the TransAlpine train is canceled until April 3 and we (my wife and I) had train tickets. So,, now driving I guess and was checking out the route and your pictures. Lvg CC on March 6. Should be nice weather that time of year. Thanks for the pics.
Oh that is a bummer! Wonder why they cancelled it?? The drive is lovely. March should still be nice. It’s been a really wet summer over on the West Coast though.
They cancelled it due to a grass fire on the plain burning the rail bridge pilings. From what I read though, the drive is prettier.
Oh that’s a bummer. You will still enjoy the drive and you can stop and do some things en route.
I also will be driving due to train cancellation … any specific suggestions on stops to make on trip from Greymouth to Christchurch?
Stop at Arthur’s Pass, visit the tea room and wait for some cheeky Kea’s to appear! There are also some short hikes around Arthur’s Pass like to Devil’s Punchbowl falls – http://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-go/canterbury/places/arthurs-pass-national-park/things-to-do/tracks/arthurs-pass-short-walking-tracks/?region=westcoast&park=3120d751-92f6-4d9d-97d8-4780c898b354&activity=walking-tramping#activitypanel
Other stops en route are Castle Hill which is interesting. Or the historic Bealey Hotel.
Want to take train to Greymouth and then see the glaciers and go to Queenstown. Do not plan to drive what is the best alternative.
Hi Amit. You can take the Intercity bus from Greymouth to Franz Josef and then Franz Josef to Queenstown.