• Escorted Tour
  • Lady Share

Lower North Island Rail Tour

including Hawkes Bay

Our fifth Lower North Island Rail Tour continues to be a popular addition to our New Zealand Rail programme.

Experience the scenic Lower North Island in style aboard our exclusive charter train with each carriage equipped with full on-board facilities and panoramic windows, offering uninterrupted views not seen when travelling by road. Beginning in Auckland with selected pick-ups en-route, the ‘Northern Explorer’ takes us through the lush Waikato and King Country farmland and up the iconic Raurimu Spiral to the Central Plateau, hopefully with stunning views of Tongariro and Ruapehu.

After a night in Palmerston North, travel through the scenic Manawatu Gorge to Napier where highlights include lunch at the Mission Estate and an afternoon free to explore the Art Deco capital of New Zealand.  Continue our rail journey through the Central Hawkes Bay and Masterton to the Rimutaka Ranges before emerging at Upper Hutt and Wellington Harbour. A morning city tour highlights New Zealand’s capital and the leisure afternoon allows time to explore Te Papa and the picturesque waterfront.

The main trunk line to National Park is another relaxing journey before arriving at the iconic Chateau Tongariro for a one night stay with time to explore the national park. Each night we stay in comfortable hotels with private facilities with all breakfasts included. Morning, afternoon teas and lunches on the train are included most days as well as many dinners. Our tour escort and hosts ensure your seven day tour is relaxing, fun and memorable.

 This is a special tour; seats are limited and will sell quickly. We look forward to welcoming you on our Lower North Island Rail Tour.

Your travel itinerary

Thursday 14 May

Auckland – Palmerston North

Lunch iconLunch Dinner iconDinner

Board the ‘Northern Explorer railcar at The Strand in downtown Auckland or at any other regular station on the main trunk line for the daylight adventure through lush rolling hills to Hamilton, Otorohanga and Te Kuiti. Among today’s highlights are the circular climb up the famous engineering feat – the Raurimu Spiral to the Central Plateau and Tongariro National Park with spectacular views of Mt Ruapehu. Continue on to Ohakune, Waiouru and alongside the Rangitikei River to Palmerston North. Enjoy a welcome dinner at our centrally located hotel.

Friday 15 May

Palmerston North - Napier

Breakfast iconBreakfast Lunch iconLunch Dinner iconDinner

After breakfast, we begin with a city tour which includes Wharerata Historic home in the grounds of Massey University. Later take our chartered train from Palmerston North to Art Deco Napier for a two-night stay.

Saturday 16 May


Breakfast iconBreakfast Lunch iconLunch

A leisurely start before a mid-morning, guided Art Deco sights tour and onto the Mission Estate Vineyard for an included lunch.  Return to the hotel mid-afternoon and the evening free to relax and enjoy a meal at your leisure.

Sunday 17 May

Napier - Wellington

Breakfast iconBreakfast Lunch iconLunch Dinner iconDinner

This morning we leave Napier by train through the Hawkes Bay countryside to Mangatainoka for lunch at Tui Brewery. Continue our train journey to Wellington and transfer to our central city hotel. Dinner is included.

Monday 18 May


Breakfast iconBreakfast

This morning enjoy a city tour including Mt Victoria and the spectacular Wellington Rose Gardens. In the afternoon and evening, enjoy free time in the Capital City.

Tuesday 19 May

Wellington – National Park – Chateau Tongariro

Breakfast iconBreakfast Lunch iconLunch Dinner iconDinner

After breakfast we re-join our chartered train and travel north crossing spectacular viaducts to our destination the Chateau Tongariro at National Park. Afternoon free to relax and enjoy this hidden gem of the central north island before our farewell dinner.

Wednesday 20 May

National Park – Auckland

Breakfast iconBreakfast Lunch iconLunch

After a leisurely start, transfer to the National Park Station for our ‘Northern Explorer’ rail journey north. Experience the famous Raurimu Spiral for a second time before arriving in Auckland early evening.


  • Northern Explorer train Auckland – Palmerston North // National Park - Auckland
  • Travel on an exclusive chartered train
  • Six nights hotel accommodation (see details)
  • Cooked breakfasts daily
  • Six lunches and four dinners
  • Morning or afternoon tea on board the train
  • All sightseeing and entrance fees as specified
  • Commentaries provided by your experienced drivers and local guides
  • Comfortable air-conditioned coaches with panoramic windows
  • All gratuities
  • Rail staff and Tour Escort subject to minimum numbers


Cost Per Person *
Auckland - Auckland
Twin ShareSingle 
   $2,822  $3,299

*This is a cash or cheque price. Credit cards will incur a 2% fee
*Itinerary and costs subject to change


  • Travel insurance
  • Items of a personal nature

Booking Conditions

  • A non-refundable deposit of $400 per person will secure a place on the tour
  • FULL PAYMENT is due no later than 20 March 2020      
  • Bookings made after 20 March 2020 will require full payment


  • Deposit – non-refundable.
  • After 20 March 2020 – no refund.
  • All cancellation charges are on a per-person basis.

Travel Insurance

We strongly advise all participants to take out suitable travel insurance to cover cancellation costs. Please ask us for a quote.

General Information

Advantages of joining our chartered rail tours

  • A unique tour tailored to suit mature holidaymakers who want to see New Zealand in a well-paced, hassle-free manner
  • Experience a modern, comfortable charter train not running to a scheduled timetable
  • Experience stopovers in places not generally available to tourists, to take in local sights and taste regional foods
  • Appreciate being able to walk about, the comfortable seats, on-board bar service, enjoy complimentary morning and afternoon teas and the readily accessible toilet facilities

Health and Fitness

At times, entering and exiting the train can be very demanding for those with limited mobility. A good standard of fitness is required and clients should be independently mobile with the ability to walk 400m unaided. Mobility frames are not practical or permitted.

Note: Pukekohe Travel reserves the right to correct errors and omissions on our website without recourse.
* Itinerary subject to change