Experience the extremes of New Zealand’s scenery, from the fertile farmlands of Waikato to the volcanic peaks of the Central Plateau and the sparkling Kapiti coast.
New Zealand's longest running passenger service, the Northern Explorer is a long distance scenic train service running between Auckland and Wellington, stopping at Palmerston North, Ohakune, National Park and Hamilton.
The journey through Tongariro National Park, with its three spectacular volcanic mountains – Tongariro, Ngāuruhoe and Ruapehu – is a highlight, a place of extremes and surprises, where snow-blanketed fields, ancient lava flows and dense beech forests can be seen side by side.
Chateau Tongariro Experience
Explore Timeless Tongariro
The Northern Explorer Journey
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On Board Our Trains
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I reserve a seat?
We automatically reserve your seat(s) when you complete your booking. Your seat number(s) will be on your Boarding Pass, which we print the day before travel ready for your arrival.
See our Seat selection page to find out more about the allocation process.
Which seats are better?
All our seats are the same. They are large, they are comfy, they are reclined - and they all have amazing views!
To cater for everyone's needs, we have two arrangements:
- Paired seating: this is rotated prior to travel so that all seats face the direction of travel. The paired seating provides a huge amount of legroom and a large flip-down tray-table for your personal use.
- Table seating: this allows you to enjoy travelling as a group, playing games and sharing food & drink together. However, two people will be sitting against the direction of travel and the legroom is shared.
All seats have New Zealand 3-pin power sockets and a headphone socket for listening to the onboard commentary (headphones are supplied).
Please see the Onboard our trains section to explore our carriages, facilities and seating arrangements.
Is there long term parking at the Station?
To find out information about you departure and arrival station, including long and short term parking, please see our Stations pages.
Can I take my luggage on board?
We have plenty of room in our secure luggage carriage for all your wheelie bags, backpacks, suitcases, golf clubs, bikes and sport equipment.
However, we only have room for small day bags and handbags on-board. This is because the overhead shelves are made from glass to allow the views to flow into the carriage - so its nice not to obscure them with large bags.
For more information about checking in you larger bags and your luggage allowance, please see our page on Luggage.
Should I bring food and drink?
We have a fully licensed café on board that sells nibbles and snacks, hot and cold food, teas and coffees, soft and alcoholic drinks. You can view our menu online and even pre-order whilst booking.
You will find that our sandwiches and snacks are similarly priced to New Zealand supermarkets - and it saves you the bother of nipping into the shops on your way to the station!
However, bringing your own snacks and non-alcoholic drinks is allowed, although we do ask that you respect other passengers by not bringing anything with a strong odour.
You are not allowed to bring alcoholic drinks on board, due to our license.