Trans Alpine Express, Christchurch to Greymouth 

Today we took the Trans Alpine Express from Christchurch to Greymouth. It leaves at 8.15 am each day and takes a little under 5 hours. It was a dull, grey, rainy day and still the views were spectacular. On gorgeous sunny days I can only imagine that they will be even better.
The seats are comfortable and the carriages bright. The windows curve round the edge of the roof to let in extra light. There is a commentary that talks you through the history of the train line and there are two carriages that have open sides to allow better photographs.
A kia came and sat on the engine while we stopped at Adams Peak.
Greymouth is about a two hour drive from Franz Joseph glacier and there are coaches that meet the train. We hired a car.
  
  

A trip up Penang Hill, Penang Malaysia 

The funicular railway to the top is a good way to get to the top.
Make sure that you go early in the morning; the queues for the train get long in the summer and the view from the top is more spectacular before cloud cover comes in.
You can walk down (you can walk or cycle up too, but I suspect it is a killer journey!) it is a 5k walk. It is very, very steep and took us almost 2 hours. However, there were many monkeys on the way down and it ends in the Penang Botanical Gardens which are beautiful.
The views from the top though are the best because trees line the road all the way down. So, I think if I were to do it again, I would catch the railway back down and visit the Botanic Gardens separately so that I would be able to give them all the time that they deserve.