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Discover New Zealand By Rail

Overlander train route mapThe Northern Explorer train is a scenic rail journey through the heartland of the North Island travelling between Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city - home of the Sky Tower, through the central heartland of the North Island to Wellington - New Zealand’s arts and culture capital. 

Along the way, you see fantastic views of New Zealand farmland and the rugged native bush landscape before ascending up the world famous Raurimu Spiral to the volcanic plateau passing the majestic volcanoes of Mt Tongariro, Mt Ngauruhoe and Mt Ruapehu - the home of the North Island Skifields - Whakapapa and Turoa, descending down through stunning river gorges to the farming landscape of the lower North Island and rocky sea scapes to Wellington – all from large panoramic windows or open air viewing carriage allowing you the best of possible views.

Along the way you pass the Central North Island ski towns of National Park for Tongariro National Park and the Tongariro crossing and Ohakune, offering world class skiing and snowboarding on Whakapapa and Turoa skifields. 

The Northern Explorer carriages have advanced air bag suspension system for quieter and smoother travel, un-tinted, non-reflective, panoramic side and roof windows to capture the dramatic coastal and mountain views of the magnificent North Island, GPS triggered journey commentary in five languages at your seat via headphones, plus information displays and overhead HD video and are centrally heated/air conditioned for passenger comfort.

Interior of the Overlander train obsevation lounge carriageEach carriage has onboard washroom/toilet facilities, with '2 Seat-Aisle-2 Seat' seating either as forward facing seats with head rest or 'Table Group' (4 people around a table) seating allowing to experience the amazing views of the magnificent North Island, through panoramic side and roof windows, while enjoying the company of other passengers.

The Northern Explorer train has a café carriage serving a range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, snacks and light meals and open air viewing carriage.

For mobility-impaired passengers, there are spaces for wheel chairs and a disabled public toilet. Wheelchair hoists provide access to the café carriage from track level. For hearing-impaired passengers - a hearing loop covers all of the café carriage saloon and serving area.

There are bus and coach services from Hamilton to Rotorua and Tauranga as well as bus and coach services from Auckland and Wellington to other North Island destinations

Northern Explorer train travelling through the Managaweka RangesThe Northern Explorer train is a reserved seating 'One Class'  non-smoking service.

The Northern Explorer train does not operate on Christmas Day - 25 December.

The Northern Explorer train timetable.

Travelling on the Northern Explorer train is a genuine kiwi rail experience through the North Island's unique scenic beauty.

From Auckland, you can explore the beautiful Bay of Islands and the thermal wonderland of Rotorua, by choosing from a range of suggested independent bus touring travel packages ranging from 2 to 5 days in duration.

There is no overnight passenger train/rail service between Auckland, Hamilton, National Park, Ohakune, Palmerston North and Wellington.