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Lower North Island Rail Tour

Including Hawkes Bay

Our fourth 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 which offer 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 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.
Relax and enjoy the rail journey through the Central Hawkes Bay then continue through 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 where all guest rooms have their own private facilities and all breakfasts are 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.

“It was a most enjoyable, relaxing and entertaining with great views” – Kaye

 “Excellent, best tour by far. Very helpful staff” – Johnson & Diana

Your travel itinerary

Saturday 11 May

Auckland – Palmerston North

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Board the ‘Northern Explorer train 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.

Sunday 12 May

Palmerston North - Napier

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After breakfast our day begins with a city tour including Massey University, the Rose Gardens and a historic home.

Later take our chartered train from Palmerston North to Art Deco Napier for a two-night stay.

Monday 13 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.

Tuesday 14 May

Napier - Wellington

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

Wednesday 15 May


Breakfast iconBreakfast

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

Thursday 16 May

Wellington – National Park

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.

Friday 17 May

National Park – Auckland

Breakfast iconBreakfast

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


  • Northern Explorer train Auckland – Palmerston North
  • 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
  • Luggage handling on tour
  • All gratuities
  • NZ Rail staff and Tour Escorts


Cost Per Person *
Auckland - Auckland
Twin ShareSingle 
   $2,775  $3,233

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


  • 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 08 March 2019.      
  • Bookings made after 08 March 2019 will require full payment.


  • Deposit – non-refundable.
  • After 08 March 2019 – 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


  • A relaxing rail journey the length of the main trunk line
  • The scenery of the Manawatu Gorge and Central Hawkes Bay
  • Art Deco Napier with a lunch at Mission Estate Vineyard
  • Wellington city tour
  • Leisure time in Wellington to explore
  • A night at the iconic Chateau Tongariro hotel


Frequently Asked Questions

Travelling alone?   Don’t hesitate to book if you are on your own. Although we are unable to guarantee twin share accommodation for participants travelling individually, we will do our utmost to match suitable participants in share accommodation to avoid the single room supplement.

For those who prefer, we have rooms for sole use.

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.
  • 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. To ensure the tour is enjoyable for the whole group, a good standard of fitness is required 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