We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Full-Day Wellington to Auckland Scenic Train Ride

Select Date and Travellers
2 travellers
New Zealand's longest running passenger service, the Northern Explorer is a long distance scenic train service running between Wellington and Auckland.  Experience the extremes of New Zealand's scenery, from the fertile farmlands of Waikato to the volcanic peaks of the Central Plateau and the sparkling Kapiti Coast.
  • Ride one segment or take the whole spectacular journey
  • Indoor and outdoor spaces are great for sightseeing
  • GPS-triggered audio helps you explore the landscape
  • Disembark at Tongariro National Park or Auckland
What to Expect
Make your way to the Wellington Railway Station or the train station in Tongariro National Park, where you’ll board a train heading north. The journey passes through a mix of farmland, rural towns, and coastline, but the three volcanoes of Tongariro National Park are a scenic highlight; rail enthusiasts will be love the Raurimu Spiral that helps the train climb the dramatic slope. You’ll see lava flows, snow fields, and forests of beech trees while the GPS-triggered audio commentary fills you in on the passing landmarks. The trains are equipped with dining carriages that have drinks, snacks, and light meals available for purchase, and by the time you arrive at Tongariro National Park or the Auckland Railway Station, you’ll have covered some of the North Island’s most remarkable scenery.
Show More
Important Information
Departure Point
Wellington Railway Station, Bunny St, Pipitea, Wellington 6011, New Zealand
5h 15m
Return Details
Auckland Strand Station, Auckland 1010, New Zealand
  • One Way Rail Journey
  • GPS triggered audio commentary
  • All taxes, fees and handling charges
  • Alcoholic drinks (available to purchase)
  • Food and drinks (available to purchase)
  • Hotel pickup and drop-off
  • Excess luggage charges (where applicable)
Show More
Additional Info
  • Confirmation will be received within 48 hours of booking, subject to availability
  • Infants must sit on laps
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Wheelchair accessible, please advise at time of booking if travelling with a wheelchair.
  • Children must be accompanied by an adult
  • Please arrive at least 20 minutes prior to scheduled departure and check in at the station to receive your boarding pass. Please have your Viator Voucher ready for inspection.
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 15 travelers
Cancellation Policy
For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.
Reviews (285)
Filter reviews
280 results
Traveller rating
Traveller type
Time of year
More languages
Traveller rating
Show reviews that mention
All reviews northern explorer viewing car national park dining car palmerston north comfortable seats open carriage audio commentary open air new zealand long trip observation carriage hour journey huge windows mt ruapehu cafe carriage enjoyable journey
Selected filters
Updating list...
1 - 5 of 280 reviews
Reviewed 1 week ago

I could have flown back from the Wairarapa, but I got a fairly well priced, short notice ticket on the train to Auckland from Palmerston North. The old railway station hasn't changed since the 1960s when I was there last. But train travel is such...More

Date of experience: August 2019
Thank Pauline B
Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile

The Northern Explorer is a great way to see parts of the North Island that you would normally not get to see. The carriages are new with comfortable seating, either at a table in groups of four, or side-by-side pairs with a fold down tray...More

1  Thank MatthewH146
Reviewed 3 August 2019

We live in NZ and did the train trip on 2/8/2019. The service was good, the staff were friendly and seating was fine for us. We requested forward facing seats and that's what we got and there was plenty of leg room. The windows were...More

Date of experience: August 2019
1  Thank 19Lucy14
Reviewed 29 July 2019

This turned out to be my highlight in New Zealand, which is saying something as New Zealand is a beautiful country full of wonderful things to do. The views are amazing and varied. The train itself is quite well maintained and comfortable. The staff and...More

Date of experience: July 2019
Thank jonathancoveney
Reviewed 24 July 2019

Absolutely fantastic trip down to Wellington on the train. Great service great staff. Rich and Bruce were friendly guys couldn't fault them. If anyone has anything to complain bout this trip then they need their head read cause it was faultless. Recommend this trip to...More

Date of experience: July 2019
Thank Lorraine M
View more reviews
Questions & Answers
Ask a question
Anita T
19 April 2018|
AnswerShow all 3 answers
Response from David L | Reviewed this property |
Yes you would need to catch a flight from Auckland to Wellington. There isva fairly rough map on NZ Rail web site but not a lot of detail
Key Details
Why Book on TripAdvisor?
  • Low Price Guarantee
  • Free Cancellation up to 24 hours in advance
  • Secure Payments
  • 24/7 SupportCall: +852 30184991