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.
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
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.
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.
Day 2 | Auckland - Northern Explorer Train - Hamilton (B,L,D)
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.
Day 3 | Hamilton (B)
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.
Day 4 | Hamilton - Northern Explorer Train - Tonagariro National Park (B,D)
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.
Day 5 | Tonagariro National Park (B)
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.
Day 6 | Tonagariro National Park - Northern Explorer Train - Wellington (B)
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.
Day 7 | Wellington (B,D)
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.
Day 8 | Wellginton (B)
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.