Northern Explorer Open-air Carriage

Get closer to nature by stepping outdoors into our Open-air Carriages and breathing in our magnificent New Zealand scenery

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Experience the great outdoors from the Northern Explorer Open-air Carriage

It's legendary in its own right, with many a holiday anecdote including the line: "...we went on a train where you could stand outside!"

But our unique open-air carriage isn't a novelty designed to raise eyebrows and get people talking about our trains. It is a whole new experience where you can feel the brisk winter air freshen your cheeks or the warm summer breeze ruffle your hair. You'll get wet in the rain and kissed by the sun. It is a true outdoor experience. So bring a coat, sunglasses, woolly hat and suncream, because once you've ventured out, you won't want to go back inside! 


The Northern Explorer sweeps through the countryside north of Taihape

Refined design

In June 2019, we redesigned the Northern Explorer Open-air Carriage with upgraded safety barriers providing better protection and improved support. The new chest-high bar is the perfect height for resting on and supporting yourself - which is especially useful when both your hands are busy holding your camera! But even for those just wanting to get a breath of fresh air, you'll find it easy holding steady while the train sweeps through the countryside. 

Picture perfect

The Northern Explorer Open-air Carriage has always been the perfect place for capturing New Zealand's epic scenery on camera and with our redesigned carriages, it is now much easier to get steady, get ready, and shoot. 

Below is a gallery of images taken on the day our redesigned Northern Explorer viewing carriage returned to service in mid-June 2019:


Looking out at Kapiti Island
Sunrise on Kapiti Coast looking north to Raumati
Cruising over the Hapuawhenua Viaduct
Looking at at Ruapehu from Wiaouru
The peak of Ngauruhoe high on the Central Platuea
In the foothills of Ruapehu





Find out more...

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The Northern Explorer Journey

From rolling green farmland to spectacular volcanic mountains, take a breath-taking journey through the heart of the North Island.
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On Board Our Trains

From open air viewing carriages, to guided audio commentary. Find out more about what to expect on board our trains.
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