Northern Explorer Train Journey

The Northern Explorer train journey travels the length of North Island from Auckland, home of the Sky Tower and New Zealand’s largest city, to the harbour capital Wellington, the country’s centre for the culture and arts.

It’s a scenic rail journey through lush New Zealand farmland, rugged, bush-clad terrain that you leave behind as you climb the engineering marvel of Raurimu Spiral to the volcanic plateau, passing Tongariro National Park and the magnificent volcanoes of Mt. Ngauruhoe, Mt. Tongariro and Mt. Ruapehu, collectively home to the North Island skifields. Then descend through spectacular river gorges and make your way to the lower North Island, passing bucolic farming landscapes and rugged sea scapes.

Enjoy the scenery from inside the centrally heated and air conditioned carriages looking out through un-tinted, non-reflective wide-view side and roof windows, or in the open-air viewing carriage of the Northern Explorer train, which features cutting-edge air bag suspension system, making train travel much quieter and smoother.

Listen to GPS-prompted commentary in five languages via headphones at your seat as you journey through the dramatic coastal and mountain scenery of the North Island. Information displays are likewise available as well as overhead HD video.

Each carriage features spacious ‘2 Seat-Aisle-2 Seat’ seating arranged either as a ‘Table Group’ (for 4 people around a table) allowing you to interact with other travellers, or reclining forward-facing seats made more comfortable by head and foot rests. Washroom facilities are available onboard, including toilet facilities for passengers with disability.

The café carriage is well-stocked with a selection of refreshments ranging from alcoholic drinks, non-alcoholic beverages, snacks and light meals that you can enjoy in a viewing carriage as you soak up the contrasting landscapes of the North Island.

There are spaces for wheel chairs and designated public toilet for mobility-impaired passengers who can also access the café carriage from the track level using wheelchair hoists.

A hearing loop is installed in the serving area and café carriage saloon for passengers with hearing impairment.

The Northern Explorer train offers a ‘One Class’ reserved seating, non-smoking service.

The Northern Explorer train services Auckland - Wellington on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays, and runs the opposite direction Wellington - Auckland on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays.

It makes stops in Hamilton, Papakura, Ohakune, National Park, Palmerston North, Otorohanga (Waitomo) and Paraparaumu.

Get off at Hamilton and travel onward to Rotorua and Tauranga via connecting scenic bus and coach services. To get to and from other North Island destinations, hop off the Northern Explorer at Palmerston North and Wellington, and connect with scenic bus and coach services.

At Wellington, you can connect to Picton via various ferry crossings across Cook Strait. Travel on the Coastal Pacific train to Kaikoura for whale watching, and continue on to South Island’s largest city, Christchurch, for destinations farther south. The Coastal Pacific train runs daily between the end of September to early May.

Traveling with the Northern Explorer train, sit back and enjoy the diverse landscapes of North Island, and experience a genuine Kiwi rail journey.

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