We'd like to experience the TranzAlpine train as part of a self-drive holiday in New Zealand. Which month would give us the best chance of seeing snow without having to cope with wintry conditions for the rest of South Island? R. Ewart, Ferntree Gully
I've seen a blizzard out the window of the TranzAlpine Express in February when the train crossed through Arthur's Pass as it crested the New Zealand Alps at the height of the journey. That might have been a little out of season but it's not so unusual. To give yourself a better chance of seeing snow I'd say late March, and temperatures in other parts of New Zealand should still be mild enough to allow you to enjoy all the wonderful outdoor attractions that the country offers. If you're particularly interested in this part of New Zealand you could spend a couple of nights at Wilderness Lodge Arthur's Pass http://www.wildernesslodge.co.nz [wildernesslodge.co.nz], a window on this spectacular world. If you want to make sure of seeing snow, after your journey aboard the TranzAlpine Express ends at Greymouth you could drive down the west coast of South Island, taking in the glaciers and possibly even adding a scenic flight over the alps to your itinerary. You could drive from Greymouth to Queenstown in three days with a couple of nights at the towns of Fox or Franz Josef to explore the glaciers, the scenery is colossal.
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