WOW - UP CLOSE Wellington City Break by train

Departing Auckland, our 4-day Wellington Break takes you on a full Northern Explorer journey to explore New Zealand's capital city and the World of WearableArt – Up Close exhibition at Te Papa.

WOW Up Close Te Papa 1000x560

Discover the coolest little Capital

From $877* per person

3 nights, based on share twin at Naumi Hotel, travel 12 December 2020 to 24 December 2020 and 8 January - 14 February 2021


From the majestic skyline of Auckland to the sparkling harbour of our capital, this four-day Wellington City Break is a tale of two cities divided by an incredible 681km of gorgeous New Zealand scenery. Rolling through the heart of the North Island, you'll witness the full spectrum of New Zealand life, featuring rural farmsteads and remote towns, industrial warehouses and dazzling skyscrapers, craggy coastlines and rugged volcanoes.

In Wellington, experience World of WearableArt’s brand new immersive exhibition at Te Papa – World of WearableArt – Up Close

This exhibition presents WOW like you’ve never seen it before. The immersive exhibition invites you to get up close to over 35 award-winning garments created by designers from New Zealand and around the world. World of WearableArt – Up Close showcases some of the most breath-taking creations that we’ve seen in the WOW Awards Competition.

During your break in the capital you’ll have time to relax and explore the vibrant capital wander through narrow lanes echoing with laughter and clinking cutlery. Stroll around the sparkling waterfront, with its glass towers reflecting the glistening harbour waters. Discover the theatre of filmmaking alongside the drama of politics.

You will then climb aboard the Northern Explorer train once more, returning to Auckland feeling relaxed and enlightened. If four days sounds too hurried, you can extend your enjoyment with additional nights in Auckland or Wellington.


Northern Explorer leaving Auckland through Hobson Bay
Looking out on Ruapehu on board the Northern Explorer
Crossing the South Rangatikei Viaduct aboard the Northern Explorer


Day 1: Northern Explorer

With Auckland's magnificent skyline receding into the distance, your journey through New Zealand begins aboard the stunning Northern Explorer train. Settle back and enjoy an immediate scenic treat as you pass along the Auckland coast and through Hobson Bay.

After passing through Auckland's industrial backdoor, you'll escape out onto the vast Waikato plains, following alongside the meandering mighty Waikato River. By late morning, city life will be a distant memory as you weave through the rural river valleys of King Country.

By early afternoon, the slow, steady, squeal of wheels, and steep banks filling the windows on both sides will indicate you are climbing the Central Plateau. A rapid 132m ascent is achieved in just 6.8km by winding around the Raurimu Spiral - a world-renowned masterpiece of early railway engineering.

View from Northern Explorer shortly after leaving National Park station

Once at the top, you are just a few kilometres from Tongariro National Park where the three volcanic peaks of Tongariro, Ngauruhoe, and Ruapehu dominate the skyline. Over the next hour, you will wind your way through mountain forests and across towering viaducts as you circle the foothills of Ruapehu.

A long steady descent will then lead you down to Rangitikei, where the distinctive river cliffs carve into the landscape. Three more magnificent viaducts come in quick succession as you cross the horseshoe bends of the spectacular Rangitikei River.

Your afternoon will then continue lazily roaming through the rolling meadows and paddocks of Manawatu, punctuated in the east by the massive Ruahine and Tararua mountains. One more change in scenery comes in the early evening as the train meets the Kapiti Coast. On a pleasant summer's evening, you'll be watching the sun go down over Kapiti Island and the headlands of the South Island as you approach your destination, Wellington.

On arrival, you'll transfer to your Wellington hotel where you can decamp for the night or get dressed and refreshed for an evening out in the capital! 


Day 2 Morning: World of WareableArt® - Up Close

Te Papa Museum | Cable Street, Wellington

After enjoying breakfast (at your own expense) at one of the many cafes and eateries in the city, it'll be time to head out to Australasia's most visited museum Te Papa to discover WOW’s brand new exhibition, World of WearableArt – Up Close.

WOW Close-up Beneath the sea
WOW Cluse-Up at Te Papa
Te Papa Museum entrance

Enjoy one of two options available to experience the exhibition. The first option includes general admission to the exhibition and offers the opportunity to journey through the exhibition at your own pace, taking time to discover the incredible detail of the garments on display up close.

The second option (additional costs apply) is a private guided tour where your tour host will delve a little deeper into the stories behind some of the award-winning creations on display and share fascinating insights into the exhibition

After indulging in the world of WOW at Te Papa, head out on the streets and wind through the narrow streets of Wellington, you'll see the city's most iconic hotspots. Keep an eye out for some of the key landmarks as you take in the history and learn more of this famous old city.

Some famous well known Wellington sights to look out for include:

  • Beehive and Parliament Building
  • Old St Paul's Cathedral
  • Wellington Museum
  • Wellington Botanic Gardens
  • Wellington Cable Car (at own cost)
  • Mount Victoria viewpoint

Day 2: Afternoon | Explore Wellington

After cruising around the Wellington sights in the morning, the afternoon is yours to explore as you please. We have the following recommended activities. Some require advance reservations, so please let us know at the time of booking if you would like to include these in your itinerary. 


Day 3: Weta Workshops Tour

Enjoy breakfast (at your own expense) at one of the many cafes and eateries in the city before enjoying a guided tour to Weta Workshop.

Wellington's Weta Cave exterior
Weta Tour
Weta Tour through the props department

Weta Workshop is a world-leading Design and Effects facility that specialises in bringing the vivid imaginations of filmmakers into life with astonishing realism. Most famously, they worked with fellow Wellingtonian, Peter Jackson, on Tolkien's epic fantasy, The Lord of the Rings.

Collecting two BAFTA and two Academy awards for their work on The Fellowship of the Ring, Weta Workshop continues to grow into one of the world's most renowned and successful Design and Effect companies. Alongside the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies, Weta has worked on Avatar, King Kong, District 9, Indiana Jones, Godzilla, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Mad Max, Blade Runner, and BFG.

Your guided tour of Weta will take you deep behind the scenes of the film industry, revealing how the impossible is made possible. Perhaps most fascinating, is Weta's ability to create realistic prosthetics and props, keeping the traditional methods alive alongside increasingly sophisticated computer-generated imagery (CGI).

After the tour, you will have plenty of time to wander around Wellington and enjoy some more recommended activities, relax in the waterfront cafes and bars, or head to Lambton Quay for some retail therapy.

Day 4: Return to Auckland

Enjoy breakfast (at your own expense) at one of the many cafe and eateries, before heading to Wellington Railway Station for your return journey on the Northern Explorer scenic train back to Auckland.

As you relax in the comfort of our world-class carriages with their panoramic windows you’ll enjoy morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea as you take in the scenery and wind your way through the countryside back to Auckland. 

Choose your Wellington hotel

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


InterContinental Wellington Grand Entrance 730x504

InterContinental Wellington

5-Star | Conveniently located opposite the TSB Arena, the InterContinental Wellington is one of Wellington's most luxurious hotels
Find out more
Wellington Rydges 730x504

Rydges Wellington

4.5-Star | Relax in style at Wellington's biggest hotel with its stunning Portlander Bar & Grill
Find out more
Oaks Wellington Hotel Lobby Entrance 730x504

Oaks Wellington Hotel

4-Star | Providing modern accommodation in the heart of Wellington’s entertainment precinct.
Find out more
c hotel wellington front 730x504

Naumi Hotel Wellington

3-Star | Stay in the buzzing heart of Wellington at the amazingly restored C Hotel on Cuba Street
Find out more

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 Auckland to Wellington
  • Northern Explorer Morning tea, Lunch and Afternoon Tea
  • return transfers between the train station and your chosen hotel (except RYDGES WHICH IS LOCATED OPPOSITE THE TRAIN STATION)
  • three nights' accommodation
  • Guided WETA Workshop Tour
  • Northern Explorer Wellington to Auckland
  • Northern Explorer Morning tea, Lunch and Afternoon Tea



All enquiries

0800 872 467

Overseas:  +64 4495 0775

Option 4 •  Mon-Fri •  08:00 - 17:00

Scenic Trains T&C •  Packages T&C

Add a hotel in Auckland

Extend your holiday by adding one these great Auckland hotels before or after your Wellington City Break.


Hilton Auckland Exterior 730x504

Hilton Auckland Hotel

5 Star | Hilton Auckland offers stylish rooms and suites in Set in an idyllic location at the end of Princes Wharf
Find out more
SkyCity Rebrand AKL 9 0003945 504x730

SkyCity Hotel Auckland

4-Star | Stay within walking distance of Nelsons shopping and entertainment precinct with The Hotel Nelson
Find out more
Ramada VICTORIA HERO 730x504

Ramada Suites Auckland

4.5-Star | Auckland Ramada hotel is perfectly positioned for easy travel to local attractions
Find out more

Discover more...

Contact us 730x504

Bookings & Enquiries

Book now over the phone, ask a question, or use our online form to request availability and pricing
Find out more
Any Questions Christine Nuthall 730x504

Any questions?

Need to know more? Try reading our extensive FAQ's or downloading our full Terms and Conditions
Find out more
Chateau Tongariro Exterior 730x504

Package | Chateau Tongariro Experience (departs Auckland)

Departing Auckland, venture south into the heart of the North Island, staying in the historic Chateau Tongariro beneath New Zealand's famous volcanoes
Find out more
kaikoura whale tail 730x504

Package | Whale Watch Kaikoura

Choose our Whale Watch Kaikoura package from Christchurch to experience one of New Zealand's most phenomenal adventures and the world's largest seabirds.
Find out more
Lochmara aerial view 730x504

Package | Lochmara Marlborough

Departing Wellington aboard Interislander, you'll travel through the magical Marlborough Sounds to Picton, before heading on to Lochmara Lodge for 3 days of blissful relaxation
Find out more
Destinations West Coast Punukaiki 730x504

Package | Discover West Coast

Departing Christchurch, let us take you on a journey to New Zealand's wild West Coast, where you'll discover an untamed world
Find out more