Wellington to Auckland by Train

Journey through the heart of the North Island

One of the best ways to travel between Wellington and Auckland and truly experience the best of the North Island is by train. The Northern Explorer Wellington & Auckland train timetable operates six days a week, departing Wellington on Tuesday, Friday & Sunday and Auckland on Monday, Thursday & Saturday.

Our world class carriages feature an on board licensed cafe offering a range of food and beverages, huge panoramic windows to capture the stunning landscapes, and GPS triggered audio commentary to keep you informed along the way. The Northern Explorer is a truly unique and relaxing way to travel.

Experience the North Island’s extraordinary range of scenery in one amazing journey as you travel between Wellington & Auckland; travel through rolling green farmland and virgin bush, past quaint country towns and along rocky coasts. 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.

Stops include Palmerston North, Ohakune, National Park and Hamilton. Stopovers can be included for an additional $10 per person, per stopover (maximum two per journey) and with generous luggage allowances, there’s no need to pack light.

Book your unforgettable Northern Explorer rail journey between Wellington and Auckland today.

Wellington City

Before departing Wellington, you’ll board 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. Before you leave Wellington for Auckland, take 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.

Auckland City

When you alight your Wellington to Auckland train in the City of Sails, you’ll be in the heart of New Zealand’s biggest city, a short walk from the waterfront and the buzz of the capital city. 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.

Explore Places in between

On the way, stop off to visit the skifields 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. 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.

Whatever your itinerary, and whichever of the wonders of the North Island you’re eager to explore, the train, Wellington to Auckland or Auckland to Wellington, 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.