The Northern Explorer, New Zealand’s longest running passenger service, is back on the tracks! Explore the heart of the North Island on an epic journey that covers 680 km’s through a land of stunning changing landscapes from farmlands, river viaducts, the volcanic Central Plateau to the sparkling sea of the Kapiti coast.
Travelling between Auckland, our city of sails, and Wellington, a vibrant and cultural city nestled on the hills surrounding the harbour, the Northern Explorer takes you the length of the historic North Island Main Trunk Railway.
The railway was completed in 1908 and features great feats of engineering such as the Raurimu Spiral, Turangarere Horseshoe and Makatote Viaduct, the tallest of the viaducts at 79 metres and spanning 262 metres.
The journey passes through the Waikato Plains, the King Country, before ascending onto the Central Plateau. Tongariro National Park, with its three spectacular volcanic mountains – Tongariro, Ngāuruhoe and Ruapehu – is a highlight, a place of extremes and surprises, where snow-blanketed fields, ancient lava flows and dense beech forests can be seen side by side. Here the train meets a series of steepling viaducts that bridge deep ravines carved by rivers forming on the slopes of Ruapehu.
On the south-eastern edge of the Central Plateau the train crosses the dramatic barren landscape of the Rangipo Desert. The Desert Road is a notoriously dangerous stretch to travel by car, especially in winter, when travelling through the Central Plateau by train its a fascinating expanse of tussock land that gives magnificent unobstructed views of the imposing Mount Ruapehu.
Rumbling into the Rangitikei District and the view of the Rangitikei River carving a path through sandstone cliffs is another of the highlights of the Northern Explorer train trip.
As early evening approaches the train wends its way along the Kapiti Coast arriving into Wellington in time to explore the city’s nightlife and taste some gourmet delights at one of its many renowned eateries.
Contact LOCO for pre/post travel arrangements. Wellington is the gateway to the South Island so why not continue your journey by taking the iconic three-and-a-half hour Interislander cruise through the Marlborough Sounds. The Interislander brings you to Picton, where the equally enjoyable Coastal Pacific train will take you on to Christchurch.
Glide through the heart of New Zealand’s beautiful scenery in Scenic Class carriages, with epic landscape views filling your window while you relax in your seat.
In Scenic Class you’ll experience spacious reclined seats with generous amounts of legroom and comfort, panoramic windows, glass shelves and skylights. And to heighten your comfort, state-of-the-art airbag suspension has been used to guarantee a smooth ride across our rugged New Zealand terrain.
While onboard, you might like a stroll to the Scenic Cafe carriage where you’ll find a great selection of hot and cold snacks, drinks and ice creams. Indulge in a freshly brewed specialty tea or barista coffee married with a sumptuous cake? Or perhaps toast your special journey with a bottle of bubbles?
The Scenic Cafe opens for coffee and breakfast before the train departs and continues serving throughout the day. You can take a seat in the Scenic Cafe carriage and feast upon the views whilst eating. But you are also welcome to return to your seat to dine and drink if you would prefer. The day is yours to do as you choose!
During the hot summer months, the Open-air Viewing Carriage is a great place to get some fresh air and enjoy the great outdoors while on the move. You can whittle away the hours chatting and gazing out upon spectacular scenery and wildlife. It is also that perfect place for capturing those magical views on camera.
Learn the stories of our land while you travel by plugging into the Scenic Class Audio Commentary at your seat. The commentary provides a seamless stream of stories, narratives and facts about the places outside your window and is available on all three Scenic Class services, including the Northern Explorer, Coastal Pacific and TranzAlpine.
New Zealand’s Northern Explorer will stop at Palmerston North, Ohakune, National Park, Otorohanga and Hamilton if you book in advance. This is great for anyone who wants to break their journey up and do some extra exploring. LOCO Journeys can tailor-make your holiday – just let us know!
Duration: 1 Day
Price: From $109 NZD One-Way
Departure From: Wellington or Auckland
Departure Date: Commencing 30 September to 31 March leaving Wellington on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, and leaving Auckland on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
Tour Type: Day Tour
Physical Grading: 1ENQUIRE NOW
For more information about this tour, price queries and updates on specials, please Enquire Now.