Northern Rail Highlights Tour

Duration: 6 Days

Price: from NZ$2,999

Departure From: Auckland

Departure Date: Monthly from October 2023

Tour Type: Escorted Tour

Meal Plan: B&B and selected meals

Physical Grading: 2/5


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 Tour

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 LOCO Journeys
Crossing one of the many North Island viaducts aboard the Northern Explorer

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.

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

Scenic Helicopter Tour – Get a birds-eye view of Wellington and the surrounding areas on a helicopter tour

Enjoy a ride on New Zealand’s only public Cable Car.

For a detailed itinerary, departure details, and booking conditions for your Northern Rail Highlights Tour, please see below.

Departure Dates from Auckland:

  • 6 October 2023
  • 24 November 2023
  • 8 December 2023
  • 23 February 2024
  • 1 March 2024
  • 22 March 2024
  • 5 April 2024

All Departure Dates Are Guaranteed to Operate

Click here for alternate New Zealand tours.

Tour Inclusions

  • Northern Explorer Train Journey
  • Wellington City Tour
  • Private Coaches to reach regional sightseeing
  • Services of our Experienced Tour Director
  • 5 Breakfasts, 2 Dinners and 2 meals on the train
  • 3.5 – 4 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 35

Tour Itinerary

Day 1 | Auckland
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.