Winter Thriller aboard the Northern Explorer
From Auckland to Wellington, discover the sparkle of winter as it takes hold of rural New Zealand and the volcanic plateau
An epic adventure
across the volcanic plateau
From epic highs upon the Central Plateau to expansive lows across the plains of Waikato and Manawatu, the Northern Explorer ventures through the full spectrum of New Zealand's famous scenery. Dotted with rural townships and isolated farmsteads, frozen by the chill of winter, this is the thrilling story of rural New Zealand.
Rolling through the Shire
Landscapes filled with wispy mists and sparkling frosts, ice-cold fields and skeletal trees, smoke drifting from the chimneys of solitary homes. The opening chapters of the Northern Explorer's thrilling winter story could be straight out of Lord of the Rings - and this train journey did inspire Peter Jackson's vision of Middle Earth.
But this is no fantasy tale of dragons and wizards. These rolling shires are the beating heart of the North Island's agricultural industry. The isolated farms and communities you pass aboard the Northern Explorer represent the backbone of New Zealand's hardy rural workforce. The landscapes might be quaint and beautiful, but it is a formidable environment - especially during winter.
Ascent to Mount Doom
With its soft slopes blanketed in brilliant snow, the sleeping giant Ruapehu provides a gentle winter playground for skiers. The distinctive cone of Ngauruhoe is recognisable as the ominous Mount Doom, but its pristine white winter coat makes it a picture of innocence.
Beneath the mountains, the vast wintry hinterland of National Park stretches. Frosted tussock and frozen gorse tell the story of bleakness - even in summer, this is a harsh environment, where even only the toughest plants survive.
Sunrise to sunset
With the shorter days of winter bookending the journey in twilight, catching the Northern Explorer Wellington to Auckland train has a clear advantage. With the orange glow of the winter sun rising over the Kapiti Coast, the lonely island of Kapiti is an evocative view from the Paekakariki escarpment.
Equally, the brilliant Auckland skyline twinkling above the Northern Explorer while its stands at Auckland Strand station is an exhilarating sight when boarding the glowing Auckland to Wellington train in the early morning.
Take a break
Winter months are the perfect time for city breaks, with cosy bars and restaurants creating a warm and alluring atmosphere, and museums and galleries providing indoors activities.
You can also stop midway on your Northern Explorer journey. National Park and Ohakune come alive during winter when the ski slopes are in full swing, and a night or two at the opulent Chateau Tongariro is a New Zealand must-do activity.
*Book a special winter fare
Northern Explorer special winter fares start from $89 for single journeys between Auckland and Wellington. All fares are subject to availability and are changeable/refundable according to our standard terms and conditions, so if your plans change then so can your ticket.
The winter season finale is on Saturday 16 October 2021. So book your seat now to see this sensational story unfold at these spectacular prices.
Book a Package
Let us do the organising while you sit back and relax. Our Northern Explorer packages are all-inclusive and customisable, so you can build your own easy break: