The Northern Explorer
What is the experience?
The Northern Explorer train cuts through the heart of New Zealand's North Island; travelling between NZ's largest city, Auckland and 'the coolest little capital in the world', Wellington. This remarkable 12-hour trip takes you through the North Island's lush farmland, forests and desolate volcanic plateau.
Through full panoramic windows and open-air viewing decks, you'll see Tongariro National Park – home to Mordor, the fictional stronghold of Sauron in Lord of the Rings movies.
Tongariro National Park's three active volcanoes (Mount Ruapehu, Mount Tongariro, and Mount Ngauruhoe) can be spotted along with ancient lava flows, native beech forest and deep river gorges. You'll also go through the famous Raurimu Spiral – an astounding feat of engineering.
Passengers can choose to sit at tables, or in recliners. The carriage windows are non-tinted, non-reflective glass, perfect for taking pictures as you travel. Overhead HD screens keep track of your journey while an automated commentary is available via headphones at your seat.
Where is it located?
The Northern Explorer is located in the North Island and leaves from the Auckland Strand Station when travelling south, or the Wellington Train Station for northbound journeys.
Who would enjoy this?
Anyone wishing to make the journey from Auckland to Wellington (or vice versa) in relaxed comfort. If you want to see the best of the North Island's scenery without the long drive, choose the Northern Explorer train journey.
The 681 kilometres (423 miles) 'Main Trunk Line' the train travels on was completed in 1908, with the journey originally taking 20 hours rather than today's 11 hours.