Take the Northern Rail highlights tour and journey between Auckland and Wellington aboard the epic Northern Explorer train on a six day adventure.
Explore New Zealand’s bustling cities and quaint towns in Auckland, Ohakune, and Wellington. Enjoy this guided scenic tour through the North Island, passing volcanic peaks, rolling hills, engineering marvels and sparkling coastlines.
Your northern rail 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 northern rail journey brings you along the sparkling Kapiti Coast on your way into our glittering capital city, Wellington.
Northern Rail Highlights Rail Tour Highlights
Experience the Volcanic Plateau by world-renowned Northern Explorer train journey
Encounter the volcanic peaks of Middle Earth in Tongariro National Park
Witness the engineering marvels of Raurimu Spiral
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 Tour Director throughout your northern rail great train journey
Northern Rail Highlights Rail Tour Optional Excursions
Each option on our is highly recommended to make the most of your Northern Rail highlights tour. Ask at the time of booking.
Kia Ora! Welcome to Auckland, New Zealand’s City of Sails! Auckland is known for its multi-cultural 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 go shopping 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 reception.
Day 2 | Auckland - Northern Explorer Train - Ohukune (B,D)
Today you will marvel at rural New Zealand’s lush landscapes from the comfort of your seat onboard the Northern Explorer scenic train journey. From the green pastures of the Waikato to the icy mountain streams of Ruapehu, you won’t want to miss a moment. If you are interested in culture and history, be sure to listen to the audio commentary as you cross historic viaducts and traverse up the Raurimu Spiral. This experience is one like no other. Enjoy an elevated experience as you visit the volcanic plateau. Learn about Tongariro National Park which is home to three volcanic mountains and recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. At the base of this geological wonder is Ohakune, 'the carrot capital of New Zealand', where you’ll stay the next two nights to experience your chosen adventure.
Day 3 | Ohukune - Volcanic Plateau (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 forest. 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 4 | Ohukune - Northern Explorer Train - Wellington (B)
After breakfast, we begin our day by travelling from National Park to Mt Ruapehu. You won't want to leave this mini excursion to Middle Earth without a panoramic photo in hand! Joining the Northern Explorer train once again, you will wave goodbye to this UNESCO World Heritage Site 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 acquire the best views from the train. As you glide through rich green farmland and past a dramatic coastline, indulge in afternoon tea while drinking in the views. All too soon the train will arrive into Wellington leaving the picturesque Porirua Harbour behind you. Arriving at Wellington Railway Station, you are just a stone’s throw from downtown, the Beehive, and Parliament Buildings. Welcome to New Zealand’s Capital City! You won't want to waste a moment of time after checking into the hotel - your evening is free to explore this award-winning cultural and culinary capital from Queen's Wharf to Cuba Street and beyond.
Day 5 | Explore 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. Enjoy dinner tonight with your fellow travellers and Tour Director.
Day 6 | Wellington (B)
Your journey will end after enjoying breakfast at your hotel. Should you wish to add any further adventures to your holiday, let us kow at the time of booking and we will galdly arrange these for you.
For more information about this tour, price queries and updates on specials, please Enquire Now.