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TranzAlpine: A STEM-learning journey with a view

Travel on the TranzAlpine train journey, from Ōtautahi Christchurch to Māwhera Greymouth and get a sense of engineering achievement in this spectacular and challenging landscape.

Discover more >
Background reading, images, narrations, keywords and quizzes.

Connect with experts >
Insights into people, their careers and a chance to ask them questions in a LIVE web conference.

Explore the field trip videos >
Videos and more showcasing places, people, ideas and initiatives on this field trip.

Take the Google Earth for Web tour >
A virtual tour of the field trip with GIS mapping, 3D locations, images, daily diaries and video.

Rail safety, share your ideas.

Share your rail safety messages >
Win a return trip on the TranzAlpine by creating an important safety message.

About this trip

As a means of transportation, rail has been used for over 150 years in Aotearoa and STEM-based innovation is constantly required to keep it on track. In this field trip, you’ll experience the TranzAlpine – described as one of the greatest train journeys in the world!

The TranzAlpine is a feat of engineering that allows people to traverse through one of the most scenic, but uncompromising landscapes in our country. It winds its way through Te Tiritiri-o-te-moana the Southern Alps, along 223kms of track, through 15 tunnels, and over four viaducts. One of the tunnels is 8.5kms long and one of the viaducts is 72 metres high!

It's not only people that traverse the TranzAlpine by rail. Freight trains move goods along this route frequently. Also a feat of engineering, a fully laden freight train can weigh up to a thousand tons. They can also travel on some parts of the track at nearly 100kms an hour! So, we’ll take a look at how technology makes trains an efficient, fast and safe way to move people and freight around. 

Travel online with LEARNZ to:

  • explore how STEM-based innovation allows people to experience this incredible train trip
  • discover what it takes to engineer a 223 kilometre rail journey
  • get up close to a working train to inspect what makes it work
  • uncover how technology is being used to keep rail future-focused and community oriented
  • connect with a range of skilled people involved in the rail industry and find out what they do
  • use supporting STEM-based resources and activities. 

This online field trip supports a STEM-based, cross curricular approach to teaching and learning. Participation encourages curiosity, citizen-science and student inquiry. Access the glossary.



United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

United Nations SDG 9This trip reflects the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially Goal 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.



waka kotahi nzta logo.