Auckland City Break

Departing from Wellington, our four-day package will take you from the sparkling capital to the magnificent City of Sails where you'll discover the best of Auckland

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Four incredible days in the City of Sails

From $1058* per person

*3 nights, based on share twin, travel November to April 2020, enquire today for other travel dates


From our quaint capital Wellington to the majestic metropolis Auckland, our four-day City Break is a cultural journey through the heart of New Zealand. Beginning aboard our Northern Explorer train, you'll see the agricultural plains of Manawatu and Waikato, the rural farmsteads of Rangitikei and King Country, and the volcanic hinterland of Tongariro.

In Auckland, you will be immersed in the vibrant hum of New Zealand’s biggest city, where the modern skyline rises above the picturesque harbour. Take in Auckland’s best attractions, the iconic Sky Tower and a half-day tour of Waiheke Island.

Lastly, retrace your route through the North Island aboard our Northern Explorer train while relaxing and reminiscing on your Auckland adventure. If four days sounds too hurried, you can extend your enjoyment with additional nights in Auckland or Wellington.


Northern Explorer crossing the Manganui O Te Ao Viaduct
Passing Kapiti Island on board the Northern Explorer
Approaching Mount Ruapehu aboard the Northern Explorer


Day 1: Northern Explorer

Leaving the gentle buzz of the capital behind, your adventure begins aboard Northern Explorer sweeping through the scenic suburbs of Wellington. After sailing around picturesque Porirua Harbour, you’ll then ascend the steep hills of Pukerua Bay with stunning views over Cook Strait and nearby Kapiti Island. Heading inland, you'll then spend much of your morning rolling through the green pastures and farmlands of Manawatu, with the massive Tararua and Ruahine mountain ranges everpresent in the east. 

By late morning, the scenery begins to change dramatically as you ascend the Central Plateau. At Managaweka, the distinctive cliffs of the Rangitikei River carve through the countryside. With the river bending beneath you, the Northern Explorer soars across three towering viaducts, providing some memorable moments for your morning's adventure.

Soon the huge cratered peak of Mount Ruapehu will appear between the hilltops. As you swing into the foothills of this vast volcano, inspiring and impressive views of the mountain will sweep into view. The next hour of this journey is captivating, with three more incredible viaducts coming in quick succession - starting with the distinctive curving concrete pillars of the Hapuawhenua Viaduct. When you finally emerge from the forest, you will find yourself on the vast tussocked plains of Tongariro National Park, where the three volcanoes of Tongariro, Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu will fill your window with unforgettable views.

Approaching Auckland and the Sky Tower aboard the Northern Explorer
CAriving into Auckland Strand Railway Station aboard the Northern Explorer


The Northern Explorer then begins its rapid descent from the Central Plateau by slowly circling around the Raurimu Spiral – one of the world’s most highly regarded masterpieces of early railway engineering. At the bottom, the Northern Explorer picks up the Whanganui River, with its sharp cliffs and surrounding landscapes reminiscent of the morning’s journey through Rangitikei.

After following the increasingly rural and intimate corridor of the Ongarue River, the journey spills out onto the mighty Waikato Plains. After rolling through the agricultural hills of Hamilton, you'll then follow alongside the broad and powerful Waikato River until you reach the outer suburbs of Auckland, where the rural scenery is finally replaced by the containers and warehouses of modern commercialism.

The final stages of the journey sees the sudden return of scenic suburbia as the Northern Explorer voyages across the Orakei Basin, Hobson Bay and Judges Bay, before pulling into Auckland Strand Railway Station beneath the twinkling city and Sky Tower.

Upon arrival, you will be greeted and taken to your accommodation to check-in. The night is then yours to explore Auckland’s restaurants and bars at your leisure - or simply relax in your hotel.


Auckland Sky Tower rising into the morning sky
Looking down from Auckland Sky Tower


Day 2: Morning | Ascending the Sky Tower

After a relaxing buffet breakfast in the hotel’s dining room, it is time to start taking in the world-famous sights of Auckland. And what better or more famous place to begin than ascending the Sky Tower. At 328 metres, the Sky Tower is the Southern Hemisphere’s tallest building. Don’t worry, you’ll only be going up 220m to the Sky Deck where you can gaze down upon 360° views of the city. On a clear day, you’ll also be able to see from the Tasman Sea in the west right across the Hauraki Gulf to the Coromandel Peninsula in the east.

Whilst there, you might wish to dine in New Zealand’s only revolving restaurant, the Orbit 360° Dining experience that rotates once each hour to give you an ever-changing view of Auckland while you dine. For a more exclusive dining experience, you might alternatively wish to try The Sugar Club, Peter Gordon’s premium dining experience.

If you have a passion for heights and would like to get your heart racing, then the Sky Tower is also home to SkyWalk and SkyJump activities. We recommended you do these before eating lunch.

Day 2: Afternoon | Explore Auckland

After an exhilarating morning climbing the Sky Tower, the afternoon is yours to explore as you please. We have the following recommended activities. Some require booking in advance, so please let us know at the time of booking if you would like to include these in your itinerary. 


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Auckland Art Gallery

FREE: Immerse yourself in culture, with over 15,000 pieces of art from International and local artists.
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Cornwall Park

FREE: Escape the city streets and visit One Tree Hill, then walk among cows and sheep in Auckland's iconic park
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Auckland Botanic Gardens

FREE: Discover an incredible world of plants, from ancient native ferns to modern propagated roses.
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Sea Life, Kelly Tarlton's

Adult $25 - $151: Experience a unique underwater world, from subtropical Pacific to Antarctica
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Auckland Museum Cultural Show

Adult $24: Experience the story of Aotearoa and Tāmaki Makaurau expressed through traditional Maori dance
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Day 3: Waiheke Island Wine Tour

Start your day with a buffet breakfast in the hotel restaurant before enjoying some free time to explore Auckland. The morning is yours, making it an ideal opportunity to visit any recommended activities you were unable to enjoy on Day 2.


Cable Bay Vineyard on Waiheke Island
Lunch and wine at Cable Bay Vineyard on Waiheke Island
Lounging on the grass at Cable Bay Vinyard on Waiheke Island


Come afternoon, you'll be sailing over to Waiheke Island for a half-day Wine Tour. This magnificent tour combines world-class wine with the beautiful surroundings of Waiheke Island.

On arrival to the island, you’ll be greeted by your tour driver, who will transport you to the picturesque Mudbrick Vineyard where you will enjoy premium wine tastings. Cable Bay Vineyard, the next vineyard en-route, offers some of Waiheke’s best views. Here you’ll enjoy tastings of their beautiful wines and indulge in a platter of some mouth-watering snacks. Last stop, with further wine tastings, is Te Motu Vineyard, where you will get to know the rich, complex Bordeaux-style wines a little better.

You can then explore the rest of the island with a complimentary All-Day Bus Pass and even stay for dinner, if you choose. 

Day 4: Return to Wellington

Enjoy your final buffet breakfast at the hotel, then head to The Strand Railway Station for your return Northern Explorer journey.

With the seats facing the other direction, the journey will be filled with views you missed on the way to Auckland. You'll also get to enjoy the morning sun rising as you pass along Auckland's eastern coastline and through Hobson Bay. On a bright summer's evening, you will also see stunning views of the sun setting over Kapiti Island and the South Island shortly before arriving back into Wellington. So be prepared for another spectacular journey! 


Choose your Auckland hotel

Choose from one these great Auckland hotels as part of your Auckland City Break


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Auckland Harbour Suites

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Auckland Rydges Hotel

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M Social Auckland

4.5 Star | Overlooking Auckland harbour, the contemporary chic M Social hotel is the ultimate place to start or finish your Scenic break
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Room upgrades are available at a surcharge (subject to availability). During times of high demand, if the advertised package room is not available, a substitution of a similar or better room may be made to complete the package and a surcharge may apply.

Package Overview

What's included:

  • Northern Explorer Wellington to Auckland
  • Northern Explorer Morning tea, Lunch and Afternoon Tea
  • three nights' accommodation with Buffet Breakfast
  • Return transfers between Station and Accommodation
  • Sky Tower Viewing platform Experience
  • Waiheke Island Half-Day Wine Tour
  • Northern Explorer Auckland to Wellington
  • Northern Explorer Morning tea, Lunch and Afternoon Tea



All enquiries

0800 872 467

Overseas:  +64 4495 0775

Option 4 •  Mon-Fri •  08:30 - 17:30

Add a hotel in Wellington

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