Northern Explorer Train Tickets & Packages • Freedom Destinations
Northern Explorer, New Zealand Train tickets, plus flights, hotels and car hire – all in one place

Northern Explorer Train

A 648 km journey of epic proportions, the Northern Explorer takes you through the heart of the North Island, swapping bustling city for rolling plains, before climbing into the volcanic landscapes of Tongariro National Park. At FREEDOM we offer:

  • Northern Explorer Tickets – travel between Auckland and Wellington
  • New Zealand Holidays – including the Northern Explorer
  • Other NZ Rail Journeys – experience the Coastal Pacific or TranzAlpine

Our NZ Specialists are on hand to help you plan your trip. By booking your flights, rail journeys, hotels and activities in one place, you’ll benefit from ATOL protection on your whole holiday.

Plan your holiday

Reserve Your Seat

Northern Explorer, National Park

Northern Explorer

Auckland | Hamilton | National Park | Palmerston North | Wellington

Rail Journey from £149

Holidays including the Northern Explorer

These itineraries can be booked as they are, or tailored to suit your plans. Just let us know what you would like to do.

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New Zealand by Road & Rail

Auckland | Rotorua | Wellington | Queenstown | Christchurch

Self Drive Holiday 17 days from £2199
Tranzalpine Train
Bay of Islands

NZ Encounter

Auckland | Bay of Islands | Nelson | Franz Josef | Christchurch

Holiday Idea 14 days from £1415
Northern Explorer
Coastal Pacific

Traverse by Train

Perth | Adelaide | Auckland | Wellington | Kaikoura | Queenstown | Milford Sound | Christchurch

Holiday Idea 22 days from £4425
Australia & NZ by Rail

More New Zealand Rail Journeys

Ride the Northern Explorer from Auckland to Wellington, or traverse the Southern Alps on the TranzAlpine.

TranzAlpine Train, South Island, New Zealand


Christchurch | Rolleston | Darfield | Springfield | Arthur’s Pass | Moana | Greymouth

Rail Journey from £135
Coastal Pacific Kahutara River

Coastal Pacific

Picton | Blenheim | Kaikoura | Rangiora | Christchurch

Rail Journey from £105
Interislander Ferry, Cook Strait

Coastal Pacific & Interislander

Wellington | Picton | Christchurch

Ferry & Rail Combination from £149

NZ & Beyond

View more New Zealand self drives and tours, or great rail journeys in Australia and Canada.

Free Planning Service

Tell us where you want to go and what you would like to do and we will create your perfect holiday – at a price you can afford.

call us on 0333 234 3209 or

Northern Explorer, New Zealand

A journey of epic proportions, the Northern Explorer traversers New Zealand’s North Island, gliding out of the ‘City of Sails’ to cross the rolling farmlands of Waikato, before climbing volcanic mountainsides to reach the breathtaking Tongariro National Park.

How long does the Northern Explorer take?

The 648 km rail journey from Auckland to Wellington takes 10 hours 40 minutes, leaving at 07:45 and arriving at 18:25. In reverse, the Wellington to Auckland train is timetabled to take 25 minutes longer, departing at 07:55 and arriving at 19:00.*

Where does the Northern Explorer stop?

The Auckland to Wellington train stops at Papakura; Hamilton; Otorohanga; Taumarunui; National Park; Ohakune; Palmerston North and Paraparaumu.

The largest city in New Zealand’s Waikato region, Hamilton is famous for its beautiful public gardens, which include themed collections from around the world. National Park Station is the near the start of the Tongariro Crossing, a one-day hiking trail across the volcanic landscapes created by Mount Ngauruhoe and Mount Tongariro.

How much is the Northern Explorer?

The Auckland to Wellington train fare starts at £149. Advanced booking is highly recommended as the train is seating-only. Scenic Class carriages are air-conditioned and have large windows and generous legroom.

Booking Northern Explorer Tickets

With FREEDOM, you can book Northern Explorer tickets on their own or as part of a complete, flight-inclusive New Zealand rail holiday.

You’ll have a single point of contact from your first enquiry to finalising your booking, and benefit from full ATOL protection on your whole holiday.

Plan your rail holiday

* Departure times correct as of March 2023

Holidays Designed For You

Our NZ Specialists are on hand to help – ask for their recommendations.

Ask an Expert to create a holiday for you

Call us on 0333 234 3209 or Enquire online