04.03.2010 - 04.03.2010 22 °C
We were all very excited about this trip as everyone said to make sure we did it. We all got up nice and early as we were being picked up by a shuttle into town at 7.15am.. it was a bit chilly but not too bad.. in fact the weather here has been gorgeous the whole time and it is only cold when you get a bit of the wind.
Ok anyway back to the train trip.. we checked in and got our carriage letter and seat number and it was really groovy with a table in the middle of 4 seats (2 either side) so we immediately sent all the kids to one table and us adults took the other!
We settled in and waited for the train to start.. it was a really cool way to see the country and the train driver/conductors did an excellent job on the commentary on all the small towns along the way. It is 228kms long and goes through 19 tunnels.. a couple of highlights was a place where the population consisted of 1 person named Barry.. we all had a lot of fun speculating about what that would be like, there was also another town where apparently it became a bit of a refuge for dodgy people because of it's isolation and cheap rent.. again we had a bit of fun coming up with various scenarios and lastly of course was the station called Jackson which caused Ian and Gary to sing the song every time it was mentioned! This prompted Wendy to tell Ian that when he got back on the train to remember they were in carriage K (we were in I)
Of course the main highlight was the scenery which again was spectacular.. I am not a scenery person but this takes your breath away every time.
We got to Greymouth and had a quick look around, went to the post office and got some stamps so we could send a few postcards and to the chemist because Savannah is still fighting a cold, Wendy and I found a great stationary shop where we got the kids activity books and novels for them to read on the return journey, we also picked up a packet of cards, the train only stopped for 40 minutes and then it was time to go back to Christchurch.
As we had already enjoyed the scenery we decided it was a perfect opportunity to have a few drinks and play Knock Poker on the trip home.. this was great fun.. not to mention the fact that alcohol is so cheap over here and the sizes of their premix drinks seem bigger while their beer is smaller.. love this photo LOL
We had a great trip back and we all got a bit tipsy.. think it is a bit of a big trip for the kids though, they were great and very well behaved but it got a bit boring in the end.. I would probably recommend breakng the trip over two days and staying the night in Greymouth.
We got back to Christchurch and our coach driver asked us to wait in his shuttle while he tried to find the other people that were supposed to be with us, we waited for a while took over his radio and had a great time in his van LOL.. he finally took us back to the park where we all promptly fell in a heap exhausted!