Two of New Zealand's three scenic rail journeys serve these regions. The West Coast is connected with Christchurch by the TranzAlpine Express, which ranks as one of the world's great rail journeys. The train crosses the Southern Alps between Christchurch and Greymouth, winding through southern beech forests and snow-covered mountains. The Coastal Pacific meets some Cook Strait ferry sailings and travels through Marlborough and along the scenic Kaikoura coast to Christchurch. Both trains are modern and comfortable, with panoramic windows and a no-frills dining and bar service.
The Coastal Pacific Train. 0800/872–467; www.kiwirailscenic.co.nz.
The TranzAlpine Train. 0800/872–467; www.kiwirailscenic.co.nz.