Auckland to Wellington by Train

A journey through the heart of the North Island by train

The Northern Explorer is the perfect way to travel the length of New Zealand’s North Island, from our super city of Auckland to New Zealand’s cultural capital city, Wellington. While travelling Auckland to Wellington, you’ll pass through New Zealand’s heartland - through the grandeur of the volcanic Central Plateau, through majestic forests and rolling farmland, along rocky coasts and sandy beaches – to see the country in all its glorious variety.

The Northern Explorer Auckland & Wellington train timetable operates a six-day timetable, departing Auckland on Monday, Thursday & Saturday and Wellington on Wednesday, Friday & Sunday. Stopovers can be included for free or at an additional $10 per person, per stopover depending on your fare type

And if you want to do more than simply pass through, if you choose to explore more deeply the many wonders, sights and experiences you’ll find along the way on the train from Auckland to Wellington, the Northern Explorer is the easy, relaxed way to do it.

Auckland City

If your journey begins in the City of Sails, you’ll get on the Auckland to Wellington train at our Auckland Strand Station, a short walk or taxi ride from the city centre. While you’re in Auckland, take a leap from the Sky Tower, spend a day at the vineyards of Waiheke Island, explore the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park, see sub-Antarctic penguins at Kelly Tarlton’s, or visit the Auckland Museum to learn more about the city and its history.  Auckland is also your gateway to the natural beauties of the Bay of Islands and Northland, famed for its ancient Kauri forests and the sweeping sands of Ninety Mile Beach, leading all the way to New Zealand’s northern-most point, Cape Reinga.

Wellington City

When you arrive in Wellington, you’ll alight your train carriage only paces from New Zealand’s historic parliament buildings and the Beehive, a short walk from the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa on the bustling waterfront. The iconic cable car, the Botanic Gardens, the Film Archive and the Museum of Wellington City to Sea are all central, too, right in the midst of the cafes and restaurants which locals say make the best coffee in the country. But don’t think about the return journey from Wellington to Auckland train without taking advantage of all that the capital has right on its doorstep: the wineries of Martinborough, the beaches of the Kapiti coast, and the stunning scenery of the coasts and inlets of the Marlborough Sounds, just a ferry ride away on the Interislander.

Explore places in between

On the way, stop over to take advantage of all that New Zealand has to offer. From Hamilton, explore the Waikato’s network of subterranean caves, including the renowned Waitomo Glowworm caves. Or, if you prefer your settings a little less natural, visit the Shire, the Hobbiton movie set for Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movies near Matamata. Stop off to visit the ski fields of Mt Ruapehu or immerse yourself in the native flora and fauna of National Park, or learn more about our sporting history at the New Zealand Rugby Museum in Palmerston North.

Whatever your itinerary, and whichever of the wonders of the North Island you’re eager to explore, the train, Auckland to Wellington or Wellington to Auckland, is the best way to enjoy your trip. Ignore the traffic, fold away your road-maps, sit back, relax and enjoy the view, so you arrive at your destination refreshed and ready for adventure, with KiwiRail’s Northern Explorer.

Travelling on the Northern Explorer Train

The Northern Explorer train features world class carriages designed to provide passengers with the best scenic experience. Huge panoramic side and sky view windows give stunning at-seat views, while the open air carriage means there is nothing between you and that perfect photo opportunity.

The train has an on-board licensed café with a selection of snacks, meals, and beverages which you can enjoy while listening to the GPS triggered at-seat audio commentary.