Aussies and Kiwis with Pat & Mike travel blog

Mount Cook early in the morning.

Road to Greymouth 1

Road to Greymouth 2

Pat picking up strangers.

Views from the Trans Alpine RR

The Train

Almost into Christchurch

Day 31-Trans Alpine RR

Woke up this morning and quickly turned on the space heater and jumped back into bed for 10 minutes, then put the space heater in the bathroom so we could take a comfortable shower. Maneuvering in that small room was a challenge, but we did it. When I went to the car, there was a covering of ice on it so the defroster and rear window heater went into high gear. While I was waiting for some clear window, I snapped a few pix of Mt. Cook in the morning sun.

Pat and loaded the car and pointed it toward Greymouth. The views were spectacular again. I know that our pix will have a ton of mountain shots, but they're so hard to pass up for a flatlander. We stopped in Franz Joseph to get cash at an ATM and grab some breakfast. This little café offered a bottomless cup of coffee with any breakfast - my kind of place and very unusual down here.

We made it into Greymouth by noon and located Budget Car Rental and the train station. Had lunch - soup and sandwich - and finally checked in at the train station for our Trans Alpine trip to Christchurch. We boarded the train at 1:30 and our assigned seats were rather disappointing on two counts:

1. They were facing backward.

2. The couple we had to face for the next 4 hours was as interesting as a cricket match.

I looked for every excuse to be on the observation car to shoot off some pix and Pat tried, in vein, to sleep. The time dragged but the scenery was again magnificent.

We were met at the train station by our private driver, Ozzie, who gave us the rundown on what to see in Christchurch and New Zealand politics. He was great. Our room at the Copthorne Hotel is great, and we're right in the city center. The room is spacious with nice little touches. We had some time to explore the area before settling on a Chinese dinner (Asian restaurants are over-represented in this part of the town). Really great food, but Pat refused to use the chopsticks. Picked up a bottle of local pinot noir and headed back to the hotel to plan out tomorrow.

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