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Experience of the Week: The Northern Explorer

What is the experience?

The Northern Explorer train cuts through the heart of New Zealand's North Island, travelling between, NZ's largest city, Auckland and, 'the coolest little capital in the world', Wellington. This remarkable 12-hour trip takes you through the north's lush farmland, forests and desolate volcanic plateau.

The Northern Explorer, New Zealand

Through full panoramic windows and open air viewing decks, you'll see Tongariro National Park – home to Mordor, the fictional stronghold of Sauron in Lord of the Rings.
It's three active volcanoes (Mount Ruapehu, Mount Tongariro, and Mount Ngauruhoe) can be spotted along with ancient lava flows, native beech forest and deep river gorges. You'll also go through the famous Raurimu Spiral – an astounding feat of engineering.

Passengers can choose to sit around tables, or in recliners that can be rotated to face whichever direction the train is travelling. The carriage windows are non-tinted, non-reflective glass, perfect for taking pictures as you travel. Overhead HD screens keep track of your journey while an automated commentary is available via headphones at your seat.

Where is it located?

The Northern Explorer is located in the North Island and leaves from either the Auckland Strand Station when travelling south or the Wellington Train Station for northbound journeys.

Who would enjoy this?

Anyone wishing to make the journey from Auckland to Wellington (or vice versa) in relaxed comfort. If you want to see the best of the North Island's scenery without the inconvenience of a long drive, choose the Northern Explorer train journey.

Fun fact?

The 681 kilometers (423 miles) 'Main Trunk Line' the train travels on was completed in 1908, with the journey originally taking 20 hours rather than today's 11 hours.