Inspiring North Island Train Tour

Duration: 8 Days

Price: from NZ$5,999

Departure From: Auckland

Departure Date: Monthly from September 2023

Tour Type: Escorted Tour

Meal Plan: B&B and selected meals

Physical Grading: 2/5


Join us on this signature rail journey riding the North Island train from Auckland to Wellington exploring volcanic geological peaks, burbling rivers and New Zealand’s idyllic natural landscapes.

The journey is part of the destination on our tours, and our Scenic trains are the ultimate way to see New Zealand.

On our Signature Auckland to Wellington North Island train tour, your journey will begin aboard the Northern Explorer, leaving the towering Auckland skyline behind you and setting out across the mighty Waikato plains.

From Hamilton, your journey spirals up onto the volcanic plateau around the historic Raurimu Spiral. At the top, you will cruise beneath three mighty volcanic peaks before slowly descending across several soaring viaducts.

Your final North Island train journey brings you along the sparkling Kapiti Coast on your way into our glittering capital city, Wellington.

North Island Train Tour

Inspiring North Island Train Tour Highlights

  • Experience the Volcanic Plateau by world-renowned Northern Explorer train journey
  • Escape to the bioluminescent glowworm caves of Waitomo 
  • Witness the engineering marvels of Raurimu Spiral 
  • Encounter the volcanic peaks of Middle Earth in Tongariro National Park
  • Marvel at the mesmerising coastal views of the Kapiti Coast
  • Discover the sandstone cliffs of the Rangatikei River Gorge
  • Be captivated by the storytelling of your local Tour Director along this great journey
Raglan Sunset
Enjoy a west coast sunset cruise in Raglan

Inspiring North Island Train Tour Included Excursions

Each option on our is highly recommended to make the most of your Northern Island train tour. Ask at the time of booking.

Hamilton Gardens Tour – Guided by an experienced botanist, you’ll learn the history and context of each garden before picnicking on the lawn.

Raglan Dinner Cruise – Enjoy freshly prepared seafood and sensational views on a sunset cruise in Raglan

Waitomo Gloworm Caves – Enter an underground universe sparkling with starry glowworms.

Waitomo Glowworm Caves
Take in the view of Waitomo Glowworm caves, a highlight of your tour.

Explore Tongariro – Put your walking shoes on and explore the volcanic mountains of Tongariro National Park

Old Coach Road – Hire a bike or e-bike and explore Ohakune’s historic Old Coach Road

Wellington City Tour – Explore the heights of Wellington on the famous red cable car to take in the views over the city

Northern Explorer Taihape
Enjoy the lush North Island countryside from the outdoor viewing carriage

For a detailed itinerary, departure details, and booking conditions for your North Island Train Tour, please see below.

Departure Dates from Auckland:

  • 13 September 2023
  • 25 October 2023 – SOLD OUT
  • 15 November 2023
  • 10 January 2024
  • 6 February 2024 – SOLD OUT
  • 14 February 2024
  • 16 April 2024 – SOLD OUT
  • 17 April 2024

All North Island train tour departures are guaranteed to operate

Click here for alternate New Zealand tours.

Tour Inclusions

  • Northern Explorer Train Journey
  • Hamilton Gardens Guided Tour and Picnic
  • Raglan Dinner Cruise
  • Sanctuary Mountain Wildlife Experience
  • Glowworm Caves Guided Tour
  • Volcanic Geology Experiences
  • Wellington City Tour
  • The Northern Explorer Scenic Train
  • Private Coaches to reach regional sightseeing
  • Services of our Experienced Tour Director
  • 7 Breakfasts, 4 Dinners and 3 meals on the train
  • 4 – 4.5 star hotel accommodation (twin share)
  • All sightseeing and entrance fees as specified in the itinerary.

Pricing Notes

  • Advertised price based on per person, twin share
  • Non-refundable deposit of 20% per person is due at the time of booking
  • Full non-refundable balance of tour payment is required 66 days prior to departure booking
  • A single supplement is available or you can choose to match up with another single traveller
  • Price is subject to change unless paid in full
  • Full terms and conditions will be advised at the time of booking.
  • Maximum group size of 20

Tour Itinerary

Day 1 | Auckland (D)
Kia Ora! Welcome to Auckland, New Zealand’s City of Sails! Auckland is known for its multicultural hub of food, music, arts, and culture. After checking into your hotel and reading your welcome letter from your Tour Director, head out and explore all that Auckland has to offer. This is the perfect opportunity to visit the Sky Tower or shop along bustling Queen Street. You may even fancy a drink in one of the charming bars or eateries of Vulcan Lane. Your tour officially begins this evening, as you join your fellow travellers and Tour Director this evening for a welcome dinner.
Your journey awaits as you join the Northern Explorer scenic train. Marvel at rural New Zealand’s lush landscapes from the comfort of your scenic carriage. From the sparkling waters of the Waitemata Harbour to the green pastures of the Waikato – you won’t want to miss a moment. Arriving in Hamilton, your coach awaits you to bring you to the famous Hamilton Gardens. Engross yourself in the garden’s collection of themed rooms as you are led by an experienced guide. Learn about the history, context, and meaning of each garden before finishing this delightful morning with a picnic on the lush lawns. Surrounded by beauty, you will be in utter bliss. In the early afternoon, enjoy some free time in the heart of Hamilton before departing for an evening visit to Raglan – a seaside surfer town. It’s here that you’ll enjoy a Sunset Dinner Cruise on the pristine harbour.
This morning you will depart for your next exciting excursion – Maungatautari Sanctuary Mountain. Let your guide transport you into an ancient world of ecological wonders as you explore New Zealand’s very own pest-free environment, within native forest. On this excursion, you will walk through the home of some of New Zealand’s most endangered species. Discover North Island’s robins, tomtits, kākā, pōpokotea, bellbirds, hihi, tīeke, fantails, kereru and wētā. This pre-human paradise has one of the world’s longest pest-proof fences. Your expedition continues after a lunch stop in New Zealand’s “Kiwiana Capital”, Otorohanga. Make sure you capture a photo of the giant Kiwi birds! Next, discover the famous Waitomo Glow worm Caves and be dazzled by the seemingly star-filled sky as you glide by boat through this impressive cave formation. Tonight, explore Hamilton's riverside walks and shops on this free evening. Enjoy one of the many nearby restaurants as the sun sets over the Waikato River.
Joining the Northern Explorer train once again, today you’ll soar over icy mountain streams as you travel to Tongariro National Park, the home of three volcanic mountains. Tongariro National Park has a diverse range of ecosystems and spectacular landscapes. In 1993, it was recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site and was the first property to be inscribed with the criteria describing the cultural values it holds for Māori. Enjoy a mini excursion up to Tūroa ski field. Here you'll want to capture a panoramic photo of Middle Earth before descending into Ohakune. Tonight, enjoy a special dinner with your fellow travellers.
Today is free for you to discover one of the region's many exciting excursions. Choose from the optional activities on offer and personalise your perfect holiday. Perhaps you will hop aboard a rail cart journey or join a horse trekking experience that takes you along expansive hills, mountains, rivers and into native bush. If you're after an active day, why not explore Ohakune’s historical cycle trail? Rent e-bikes and discover old viaducts, tunnels, old settlers’ camps and reclaimed native forests along the Old Coach Road.
Your day begins with an elevated experience up the northern face of Mt Ruapehu for panoramic views of the volcanic landscape. Drink in the views of Mt Ngāuruhoe, Mt Tongariro, and beyond across the central North Island. Joining the Northern Explorer train once again, waving goodbye to Tongariro National Park, as you settle into your uber-comfortable seat. Don’t get too comfortable though; dramatic rivers, gorges, and ravines are just around the bend! Stretch your legs and explore the open-air carriage to get the best view from the train. A little later, why not indulge in a treat from our onboard licensed café? As you glide through rich green farmland and past dramatic coastlines, enjoy the picturesque Porirua Harbour as you arrive into Wellington. Welcome to Wellington – New Zealand’s windy capital! You’ve arrived at Wellington Railway Station, which is just a stone’s throw from downtown, the Beehive and Parliament Buildings. You won't want to waste a moment of time after checking into the hotel – your evening is free to explore this culinary capital from Queen’s Wharf to Cuba street and beyond.
The perfect day does exist – and it includes exploring Wellington! Today is free for you to experience vibrant Wellington as you please. Start by joining our Wellington City introduction tour and then head off to explore Cuba Street’s cafés, bookstores, and eccentric shops. Get cultured at Te Papa, New Zealand’s National Museum, or visit Zealandia Eco-Sanctuary to surround yourself by native birdlife and regenerating forest. You won’t get bored with the plethora of activities on offer. From coffee, culture, historic buildings to botanic gardens and much more… the list goes on! If you need any suggestions or recommendations, just reach out to your helpful Tour Director or our Travel Centre to pre-book an experience. This evening is your final hurrah as you enjoy a farewell dinner. This is the perfect time to reminisce and share photos and phone numbers with your new friends.
Your journey will end after enjoying a final breakfast at your hotel. Not ready to leave Wellington? Reach out to LOCO Journeys to pre-organise your extended stay.

For more information about this tour, price queries and updates on specials, please Enquire Now.