Auckland to Wellington Train, Northern Explorer • Rail Journey
0333 234 3209 We're open today until 6:30PM
Home Wish List Enquire Phone
Northern Explorer, National Park
Northern Explorer
Northern Explorer, Mount Ruapehu
Northern Explorer Carriage External
Northern Explorer Hapuawhenua Viaduct Distance

Northern Explorer – Auckland to Wellington

Rail Journey – from £149

Auckland | Hamilton | National Park | Palmerston North | Wellington

Travel by train through rolling farmland, dramatic gorges and the rugged, volcanic Central Plateau from the North Island’s gateway city to its capital.

  • ‘Scenic Class’ carriages with comfortable seating and panoramic windows
  • Access to open-air carriages perfect for scenic photography
  • Locally sourced food and beverages available in onboard café
  • Learn the stories behind the scenery with an informative audio commentary
  • Travel through New Zealand’s North Island, past volcanic plateau and coast

Your Rail Journey

Enjoy a journey through the heart of the North Island, travelling between Auckland and Wellington, New Zealand’s commercial and political capitals.

Along the way you’ll pass the ski towns of National Park and Ohakune, popular with winter holidaymakers. There are fantastic views of New Zealand countryside, the volcanic central plateau, Mount Ruapehu, the world famous Raurimu Spiral, and stunning river gorges – all from the comfort of your air conditioned carriage.

Scenic Class

In Scenic Class on the Northern Explorer you’ll enjoy:

  • Comfortable and spacious, reclining seating
  • Panoramic windows and skylights on all carriages
  • Air-conditioning on all carriages
  • Licensed ‘Scenic Café’ serving meals, snacks and refreshments
  • Open-air viewing carriages for unobstructed scenic views
  • Location triggered audio commentary available in all seats

Scenic Plus

Upgrade to Scenic Plus on the Northern Explorer for:

  • Comfortable and spacious, reclining seating
  • Panoramic windows and skylights on all carriages
  • Air-conditioning on all carriages
  • Immersive dining experience with regionally inspired cuisine paired with wine, beer and soft drinks from the comfort of your seat.
  • Access to an exclusive open-air viewing carriages for unobstructed scenic views
  • A dedicated host will bring the experience to life with local stories and insights

Northern Explorer – Timetable

The Northern Explorer rail service departs from Auckland on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays throughout the year. The return journey from Wellington departs on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.

Auckland to Wellington Train

The Northern Explorer Auckland to Wellington train departs southbound on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays, throughout the year.

  • Auckland: 07:45
  • Papakura: 08:35
  • Hamilton: 10:15
  • Otorohanga: 10:50
  • Taumarunui: 12:25
  • National Park: 13:15
  • Ohakune: 13:45
  • Palmerston North: 16:20
  • Paraparaumu: 17:30
  • Wellington: 18:25

Timetable correct as of April 2024.

Wellington to Auckland Train

The Northern Explorer Wellington to Auckland train departs northbound on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays throughout the year.

  • Wellington: 07:55
  • Paraparaumu: 08:45
  • Palmerston North: 10:00
  • Ohakune: 12:45
  • National Park: 13:15
  • Taumarunui: 14:10
  • Otorhanga: 15:45
  • Hamilton: 16:25
  • Papakura: 18:05
  • Auckland: 19:00

Timetable correct as of April 2024.

Route Map

Northern Explorer – Auckland to Wellington route map

Train Tickets, Flights & More

With FREEDOM, you can book everything you need for your New Zealand rail holiday in one place; TranzAlpine, Coastal Pacific and Northern Explorer train tickets for 2024 or 2025, flights, hotels, tours and more.

Northern Explorer – Auckland to Wellington

Rail Journey – from £149

Include this Rail Journey in a New Zealand holiday designed for you

Please note, train departure and arrival times may change. Seasonal variations may apply. Please call Freedom Destinations to confirm departure dates and availability.