POUNAMU CONNECTION

A rail journey from east to west through the great divide on the TranzAlpine is noted as one of the great train journeys of the world. Follow this rail to Garth’s Studio – a greenstone carver who has lived in this part of New Zealand all his life.

A rail journey from east to west through the great divide on the TranzAlpine is noted as one of the great train journeys of the world. We will drive you to Tawera (Springfield), a small town at the foothills of the Southern Alps where your excursion begins.


The TranzAlpine will transport you over braided rivers, through cliff-lined river gorges, around pristine mountain lakes, up over mountain ranges and through lush valleys. There are numerous viaducts and tunnels, and it is here that you begin to appreciate the history and hardship of building this railway engineering masterpiece. Surrounded by swampland and ancient forest you depart the Midland Line at Moana, a small settlement on the edge of Lake Brunner. Our FLOCKHILL guide will meet you to craft your lunch beachside, lakeside or in riverside bushland. After lunch you will be taken on a guided walk or hike through a West Coast majestic forest of native species and understory trees, shrubs, and ferns. True podocarp forests are selected for you to explore.


You will be driven to the studio of Garth, a greenstone carver who has lived in this part of New Zealand all his life. Welcomed in by Garth and his wife, Jo, both West Coast Kiwis who embrace sharing the story of Pounamu and its history. Pounamu – New Zealand Jade, Greenstone is the God stone used for hundreds of years by tribal Māori to create tools, weapons, carvings, and jewellery. Pounamu is a porous stone that absorbs your natural body oils; therefore, Māori believe it carries a part of you with it. It is a tradition to pass your Pounamu onto someone else, passing on your Mana (essence, spiritual power, respect). Garth carves greenstone that he has personally fossicked from the local rivers and mountainsides. You will hear how each stone and design has its own story. Watch Garth carve and feel the Pounamu that his family found as tribal gatherers. By purchasing a Taonga (gift, treasure), you can connect with the carver, the river, the stone, and the design that is hidden within it. You may wish to purchase a custom-made piece, that is a link to your friends and family, bringing generations together.


After an exploratory day you will be driven back to FLOCKHILL with your guide past fascinating alpine rock formations, waterfalls, and quirky towns via the famous National Park of Arthur’s Pass where you will be welcomed.