Tours and Tickets
Northern Explorer Train Journey from Auckland to Wellington
4

Northern Explorer Train Journey from Auckland to Wellington

By Northern Explorer Train
About
from
$203.75
per adult
Lowest price guaranteeReserve now & pay laterFree cancellation

Ages 0-99, max of 15 per group
Duration: 11h
Start time: Check availability
Mobile ticket
Audio guide: Chinese, English
More


  • One Way Rail Journey
  • GPS triggered audio commentary
  • All taxes, fees and handling charges
What's not included
  • Alcoholic drinks (available to purchase)
  • Food and Drinks (available to purchase)
  • Hotel pickup and drop-off
  • Excess luggage charges (where applicable)


Start:
  • Auckland Strand, Parnell, Auckland 1010, New Zealand
Additional pickup options
During checkout you will be able to select from the list of included pickup points.
  • Auckland Strand, Parnell, Auckland 1010, New Zealand
End:
  • Wellington Station, Bunny Street, Pipitea, Wellington 6011, New Zealand

  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Infants must sit on laps
  • Pushchair accessible
  • Service animals allowed
  • Near public transportation
  • Transportation is wheelchair accessible
If you have questions about accessibility, we’d be happy to help. Just call the number below and reference the product code: 59907P1

  • 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
  • Most travellers can participate
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 15 travellers

  • For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.

How much is Northern Explorer Train Journey from Auckland to Wellington?
Northern Explorer Train Journey from Auckland to Wellington price starts from $202.75. Discover and book Northern Explorer Train Journey from Auckland to Wellington on Tripadvisor
What is the Northern Explorer Train Journey from Auckland to Wellington cancellation policy?
Northern Explorer Train Journey from Auckland to Wellington cancellation policy: For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience. Discover and book Northern Explorer Train Journey from Auckland to Wellington on Tripadvisor
Which company provides Northern Explorer Train Journey from Auckland to Wellington?
Northern Explorer Train Journey from Auckland to Wellington is hosted by Northern Explorer Train. Read reviews, discover additonal experiences or contact Northern Explorer Train on Tripadvisor. Discover and book Northern Explorer Train Journey from Auckland to Wellington on Tripadvisor

If you have questions about this tour or need help making your booking, we’d be happy to help. Just call the number below and reference the product code: 59907P1

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About the operator
Don’t take it from us – here’s what people have to say about this operator:
  • Northern Explorer Train
    686
    Wellington, New Zealand
    Joined in April 2010
  • mdc12963
    0 contributions
    3.0 of 5 bubbles
    northen explorer trip
    its a nice trip no commentry comfortable seats tables you can eat at there is a cafe carrage where you can buy food and drink and a viewing car
    Written 4 May 2024
  • L96KAgregp
    0 contributions
    1.0 of 5 bubbles
    Scalding experience
    Poor behaving and possibly drunk passengers were not managed by staff, ruining the trip for all other travellers. They serve boiling water drinks for passengers to carry through carriages on rickety rails past other customers. This is a recipe for disaster. I was scalded through this practice and the solution?I was handed a cold bottle of milk to put on a scald between my fingers! Hundreds of passengers, boiling water, rickety rails and no first aid kit?. Third world standards! Intercity busses are luxury compared to this.
    Written 21 April 2024
  • cliveh817
    0 contributions
    2.0 of 5 bubbles
    Would Give it a Miss.
    We’d seen a programme and the trip looked great. Sadly the reality was different and with hindsight we would have flown. The scenery is nice for about 5 hours of the trip and the circular loop near the middle is an amazing engineering feat. The last 5 or 6 hours are very dull. The trip was meant to be 11 hours but took 12.5 hours due to a defective train. So we didn’t arrive in Auckland until 2030. We were lucky as we had a table of 4 but some of the air One sears didn't have great views in my opinion. The staff were very good.
    Written 4 April 2024
  • Daydream12488389307
    0 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Relaxed, Scenic, Informative
    Relaxed, Scenic, Informative - This was a wonderful way to get from Wellington to Auckland if you have a day. The day was full of wonderful sights and the trip was augmented with periodic audio narratives about the sights and history. Food on the train was good. Unlike traveling by plane or bus, I spent a lot of time standing in the viewing car which is open air and allowed me to get pictures without window smug and glare. If you are planning to tour on your own in a rental car, read on. We rented a car in Queenstown and toured the South Island. Then we took the ferry from Picton to Wellington. The car rental companies don't want you to ferry their cars between the 2 islands. In Wellington we enjoyed a day touring on electric bikes. Then we took the Northern Explorer train from Wellington to Auckland where we again rented a car to explore the northern half of the north island. This was a wonderful way to get some time off from being the driver.
    Written 28 March 2024
  • 725mamied
    0 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Safe Co2 emission and have more fun!
    A beautifull ride. Feeling so good enjoying trip and saving CO 2 emissions. Good food variety available for very good price. Mozzarella/ beef pie is to recommend! Pity there was no sparkling water. There's an open car, accessible during the ride
    Written 8 March 2024
  • Sophie4beth
    0 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Great Experience 👍
    Great train experience, great area information given through the headphones, beautiful scenery. Extremely friendly staff. Food choice, plentiful and reasonable prices. Great coffee, breakfast, lunch, dinner and to finish nice bottle of red new zealand wine Had great seats, would highly recommend 👌 👍 😀
    Written 6 March 2024
  • CodyDC
    0 contributions
    3.0 of 5 bubbles
    Nice scenery - but be prepared for a very, very long day from start to finish
    I was visiting New Zealand for the first time and I thought I could make the most of the limited time by taking the scenic train from Wellington to Auckland in order to see some of the New Zealand countryside and landscape to the volcano mountains. The train ride turned out to be close to 12 hours as we had wait on the side on some occasions and slow down when passing maintenance areas. For the most part, the weather was nice so the scenery and landscape was stunning. However, when we were in the National Park area, if was foggy and cloudy, so didn't see the volcano peaks. The train was not very crowded so has plenty of space to relax and viewing cart always had plenty of space. The food cart had pre-made meals where the staff would use the microwave to heat. When you are hungry, it will taste ok, sort like airline food. Note: There are some locations on the journey where there is no WiFi (dead-spots), so they will not be able to complete your credit card transaction, until we are back in range. Tip: At the Wellington station, there is a grocery store, I would stock up on sandwiches and snacks beforehand. We arrived in Auckland at sunset, there are plenty of taxis waiting, which can take you to your hotel in Auckland.
    Written 27 February 2024
  • emnm96
    0 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Long, nice and pricey.
    Look, it's gorgeous. It's a great train that's fairly comfortable for a long trip. The staff are incredible, and the experience is wonderful if you're a first-time traveler on this service. The views are stunning and the descriptive audio useful. It's just not all that great as a service to transport commuters, but it's unfortunately our only option for long-distance train travel in this country. So, idk, weigh up what you're looking for, I guess.
    Written 4 February 2024
  • bodhi_sam
    0 contributions
    1.0 of 5 bubbles
    Not worth it - fly instead
    We did this train hoping for a relaxing day of beautiful views. What a mistake. We should have just flown from Auckland to Wellington. First, the ride was supposed to be 10 hours but ended up being 12.5. While we understand delays happen, what is not OK was the fact that we were in a car with NO AIR for the last 7 hours. We were suffocating and so hot it was torture. The sun was beating down on us and the crew was just like “sorry the airs not working in the carriage. We can’t do anything.” Meanwhile we’re all dying. The views were amazing but it was not worth the pain of the trip. I’d recommend flying instead.
    Written 28 January 2024
  • jacquescE8650CW
    0 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Thanks Bruce
    Big thanks and shout out to the Duty Manager Bruce and fellow staff, super nice and friendly, and thanks Bruce for the recommendations
    Written 20 January 2024
  • Travel24450867626
    0 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Great views
    This was a great experience. We took the train from Wellington to Auckland Strand and although the ride was a bit bumpy, the scenery makes up for it. The food in the cafeteria was also affordable, definitely recommend.
    Written 13 January 2024
  • moshekboscoc
    0 contributions
    3.0 of 5 bubbles
    Overseas Vacation
    More information on the scenic or attraction point in advance in between stops, such as itinerary and location map, allows spare time to prepare for taking the pictures through out the journey.
    Written 17 December 2023
  • Jason B
    0 contributions
    3.0 of 5 bubbles
    A very long day
    This could be an outstanding experience, but I think it needs to be modernised. There is no way to pre assign seating, so we sent an email with our request that was accommodated. We missed the “no wheeled bags in the carriage” that is on the ticket, no one could explain why a small, airplane carryon bag that happened to have 2 wheels was a no-no. It had to be checked in so some last minute reorganising was required. The carriage is comfortable enough with enough space between seats that we were comfortable for the 11+ hours (will come back to that). Large windows afford good views. There is a viewing carriage that is open on the sides to allow unobstructed viewing and photography, this worked really well. The coffee on board was ok and pre packaged food acceptable, but nothing to rave about. There is a commentary track that was very informative and can be heard through headphones plugged in to the seat. The plug location between the seats meant that the headsets or jacks get damaged, one of ours was terrible. I don’t know if it is the rolling stock or the track, but 11+ hours for what is a 1 hour flight is really long. We did it in summer so there was plenty of light arriving at 7pm, but in winter the last few hours would be in darkness. Arrival at Auckland was shambolic. All the passengers stood on the narrow platform with bags being unloaded. First you couldn’t get to the bag area, then those who got bags couldn’t get through the crowd trying to get to the bags. All this was out on an open platform, I can’t imagine how it would go if it was raining. We are glad that we did the trip, but it is definitely a one-off experience though. If there were some improvements (how about wifi) it would be just so much better.
    Written 29 November 2023
  • lavenderd2017
    0 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Wow the food was actually as good as the beautiful views.
    Wow what a delightful way to see north island. It was a long train ride, we arrived an hour later than expected (it happens with trains, bring your patience) so a 13 hour day. However, we came prepared, our laptop preloaded with movies, our handheld game systems with full batteries and even a pillow for nap times. They had charge ports though nothing strong enough to run an apple laptop while it's running. More like charge your laptop over a couple hours then it'll be happy. Internet was spotty, but we were all good. The views where outstanding, with 13hrs of it we didn't feel bad playing games and watching movies for half of it. I was so surprised by the food, it was some of the best we had during our 2 week stay in New Zealand. The beef cheek and veg was delicious. The veggie hand pie was soooo good. I wish I hadn't been afraid to try it earlier, I'd have had it twice. I was shocked to enjoy their muffins/scones. Even the pancake breakfast was good though it's best paired with the yogurt parfait. The poor staff though. They are very tired and it was obvious that moral was low. I hope they are paid well. The only thing that was astounding in that it was insultingly gross was that a white man was running the show while the women of color were running the kitchen, so draconian. We found this on both trains we rode. They seriously need to change this.
    Written 14 November 2023
  • BobS09
    0 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    North island scenic route
    A nice ride though arriving late at destination due to barrier issues. Views were great. A nice way to see the north island.
    Written 14 November 2023
See all 686 reviews
These reviews are the subjective opinions of Tripadvisor members and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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4.0
4.0 of 5 bubbles58 reviews
Excellent
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5

nevillesc
Brisbane, Australia80 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Solo
About time Luxon & his drop kicks ,roused up government owned (or subsidised) tourist travel. Many complaints from northern explorer customers,(most Australian). Not good enough, it seems they cancel when numbers are low, use what ever excuse they think of, rumour is they do it often. Mine was "malfunction catering car" staff at Hamilton said the service was cancelled the previous day, which says the trains could be in Wellington, making it impossible to run Auckland>Wellington. My trip was Feb 1,I am a kiwi, Australian permanent resident, never done the main trunk. The train was cancelled,& a bus replacement took us to Palmerston north. The bus had to follow the train stops, although not many got on or off, Taumaranui had no passengers on or off, but law says they must meet obligations .I have done the road trip, just wanted to do the viaducts & bridges. Had kiwi rail advised me ,I might have flown or driven. As a country in need of every tourist $$ this is not good enough, there were only a few passengers to Palmerston north, bus was 1/3rd full. one may think they cut services on low numbers, but how do they increase customers, when they have terrible service. Excuses mean little, operate to a timetable, or shut it down. sell it off to Pahiatua railcar society, who can restore the silver fern railcars for a historical trip. Kiwi rail are stuck with a costly obsolete train. service ,not excuses. The catering car excuse was laughed at. The inter island ferries are a joke as well,& the new mob cuts funds for new ships. Air N.Z. have engineering issues ,tell no one until the day of travel, cancel at will. If N.Z wants tourists it has to lift it's game. Trans Tasman travel is terrible ,huge hassle for a short trip. Get your act together N.Z. I travelled north island Jan 19>Feb 20,2024
Written 21 February 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

C M
Auckland Central, New Zealand811 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
I live in Auckland but had long wanted to do the Northern Explorer train to Wellington. Even though i know Auckland and Wellington well, there were definitely spots across the island I hadn't seen. This was the perfect way to do so.

I chose to do the Auckland to Wellington trip so the journey started at the Strand Train station. Do be aware that this is really a set of tracks between Auckland City and Parnell (not far from the Spark arena), with a container where the staff will check you in. The staff were lovely and helped everyone make sure large luggage is checked in and passengers knew where their seats were and what to expect.

The train had 3 passenger carriages, A, B and D, with carriage C the cafe. The scenic carriage is right behind the locomotive before carriage A.i ended up in D at the back which was fine and handy to the cafe with nice hot and cold options and drinks from coffee to wine. There were 16 rows in the carriage with two seats on each side of the aisle, with some seats around tables.

Our carriage was about half full and staff had made sure that most people had a window seat, apart from some couples sitting next to each other as they weren't enough tables to spread couples and families out. As I traveled solo, I had a window sear with the seat next to it empty. A bit like plane seats but lots more leg room and certainly comfortable with nice big windows for everyone.

There are headphone so you can listen to the commentary that is given on some sights. Certainly interesting.

Note there is no wifi. Mobile reception will also be patchy in some location.

There is a toilet at the start of each carriage and an accessible toilet near the cafe.

Cafe takes cards but note that because of the reception being patchy there will be times you won't be able to use your card to pay. Staff may let you open a tab. Or make sure you have some cash.

The views were spectacular and so varied as you travel across the island. So glad I did that.

It is a long day though and there are definitely some flat spots around Palmerston North especially. But it is definitely worth it!
Written 14 September 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Blueymac
4 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Couples
Travelled from Auckland to Wellington.
When booking as a couple ask for two seat configuration much better than sharing four seat configuration.
Commentary was good. Long trip but enjoyable.
Beware large taxi driver with white hair and long white beard at Wellington Train Station, make sure meter is on.
Written 19 March 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Sarah S
New Zealand4 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Travelled today with my son for his 18th birthday as he's wanted to do this trip for years. Really enjoyed it. We both listened to lots of the commentry over the headsets which was interesting and informative. Just nice to see the country from a different perspective and see some of the small towns you don't pass through in a car, Un fortunately weather wasn't great so we didn't get the best views. Something to bear in mind if you're traveling at this time of year. Also it was dark by the time we got down Paraparaumu. Would also be good to do this earlier in the year. Prices for on board food were reasonable and it was quite tasty for pre prepared food. The young man who served us was very friendly and welcoming. He was perfect in a customer service role
Written 10 May 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Kia Ora Sarah, Thank you for taking the time to leave your wonderful review! We are so pleased you had a great journey with us celebrating such an important birthday! It is such a great way to sit back and relax whilst enjoying views of New Zealand you can't always see when driving. So pleased to hear you were also well looked after by our friendly and professional staff. We hope to welcome you back perhaps during another season sometime! Best Wishes, Karen | The Great Journeys of New Zealand
Written 14 May 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Shane C
4 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2023
Everything about the trip was great, the views were outstanding (doing it in late July, mid winter, as I did, helps as the snow on the mountains was spectacular). The ride was really smooth, the seats comfortable with outstanding commentary about the history of the service, the region through which you were passing and even specific landforms and buildings. The commentary is through headphones supplied for the trip so you don’t have to listen if you don’t want to. The food was excellent, and to my surprise not exorbitantly priced. The staff were also efficient pleasant and helpful.
Written 26 July 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Sarah H
Adelaide, Australia37 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2022
A very comfortable trip and a great way to see New Zealand's countryside. The train passes through rugged farmlands, around the lower slopes of Mount Ruapehu and over some spectacular gorges. Tip - take some cash for the onboard cafe as they are out of range and EFTPOS is unavailable for much of the time.
Written 12 November 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

homegrown123
Hawke's Bay Region, New Zealand237 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2021
We booked well ahead and unfortunately we hit the weekend where a weather bomb hit the north island. It rained quite heavily the whole way so we didn't see very much until the last couple of hours. However, we still enjoyed it very much. The service was excellent (do wish though that Scenic Plus was open). The staff were friendly and were visible and there to help throughout the trip. We played cards, relaxed, had a couple of gins and enjoyed the food for lunch. The commentary is clear and very interesting. We are glad we went even though we didn't see much scenery.
Written 26 June 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Kia Ora, Thanks for taking the time to provide your feedback. We are so pleased to hear you still thoroughly enjoyed your journey with us. Unfortunate to hear about the weather bomb! But glad you managed to relax and enjoy some games, food and drinks. Thank you for travelling with us and we do hope to welcome you onboard again soon. Best Wishes, Karen | The Great Journeys of New Zealand
Written 5 July 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Brian Wheeler
Littleton, CO4 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Train Broke Down in Hamilton because of brake down because of brake issues. We sat at the Hamilton train station for 5 hours while the company decided what to do. We ended up getting a bus to Wellington and missed most of the scenery.

Fully understand that safety is always first and these things happen. Also it should be acknowledged that the staff on the train did an excellent job dealing with the situation they were dealt. However 5 hours is an unreasonable amount of time to evaluate the train to make a decision as to whether the brakes could be fixed. Communication from the operations folks to the folks on the train was poor.

The company offered a 50% refund for the trouble which is a nice gesture but doesn’t make up for the 5 hours of sitting, lack of communication and arriving at Wellington late at night.
Written 22 September 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Robert M
24 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2023 • Couples
We took this very full train during the Women's World Cup, so it was filled with visiting soccer fans from mostly the US. Beyond the control of the train, obviously, was the weather which didn't cooperate for us. It was foggy and rainy pretty much until the final few hours of the trip, so the views weren't all that great. What we were able to see, however, was quite beautiful. Lush fields, rolling hills, occasional waterfalls, inspiring viaducts over rivers and gorges, and so, so, so many sheep! If the weather had been more cooperative (which I expect it is during other parts of the year), it would have been so much more enjoyable. Additionally, taking the train during the winter necessarily means that it is dark for the last hour or so, leaving you unable to see the waters as you approach Wellington. Go during the summer months and around then. Also, consider that this is an all-day event. It is a great way to see the countryside (if the weather cooperates), but it does take an entire day from your trip. I do recommend doing it once, though. Just hope for better weather!
Written 9 August 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jade Amber
Brisbane, Australia110 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Loved this train ride and my 13 year old daughter was amazed. She lived every bit of the trip. Coming out of Auckland is not much to see but once you get to Hamilton and onwards is really beautiful.
You can take your own food onboard which is great. We ordered from the cafe which was very close to us. Although expensive it was convenient and we didn't mind paying as it was part of the experience. I wish they did have more selection but considering it just started up again and is not very big it's prob better to bring your own snacks onboard.
We sat in a 4 seater with a table which was great only concern being the 2 of us we didn't know who was sitting across from us. That could either make or break your trip but I was happy with who was surrounded by us during our 10 hour trip to Wellington.
Train itself is clean and spacious. Toilets were also clean and was easy to use.
Views were amazing and there is a viewing deck you can stand outside and get some fresh air.
The viaducts were amazing many opportunity's to get photos as there were many of them and this was so amazing to see.
Would absolutely recommend the northern explorer train.. can't wait to go again with my husband..
Written 21 November 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Northern Explorer Train Journey from Auckland to Wellington provided by Northern Explorer Train

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