Auckland to Palmerston North by Train

Big cities & bright lights to natural wonders of the North Island

The Northern Explorer is a great way to travel New Zealand’s North Island, by travelling the length of the country from Auckland to Palmerston North. On the way, you’ll pass through New Zealand’s heartland - through the grandeur of the volcanic Central Plateau, past the snowy peaks of Mt Ruapehu in the midst of the majestic National Park – to see the country in all its glory.

If you want to do more than simply pass through and explore the many wonders that New Zealand has to offer, the sights and experiences you’ll find from Auckland to Palmerston North or Palmerston North to Auckland on the Northern Explorer is the easy, relaxed way to do it.

Beginning in Auckland City

Your journey begins in Auckland Strand station in Auckland city - a short stroll from the waterfront, close to the central city shopping, restaurants & bars, and a host of other activities and entertainment. If you have just a day explore the Auckland Museum, meet the wildlife at Kelly Tarlton’s, or explore the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park. If you have a few days in the City of Sails, you can travel further afield to the vineyards of Waiheke Island, or head north to the stunning Bay of Islands with its majestic Kauri forests and the sweeping sands of Ninety Mile Beach. Auckland is your gateway to the upper North Island, and there is no shortage of places to explore.

Arriving in the Manawatu

When you arrive in Palmerston North, you will be in the heart of the Manawatu region, where the skifields of Whakapapa, and the Ruahine and Tararua Forest Parks provide unlimited opportunities to explore some of the best of our great outdoors. The city itself boasts the New Zealand Rugby Museum, and with seventy educational institutions in a city ideally situated at the crossroads of the lower North Island, it’s invariably buzzing with conferences, conventions and symposia.

Stop off along the way

On the way, stop over to take advantage of all that New Zealand has to offer. Hamilton is great for exploring the regions network of caves; the renowned Waitomo Glowworm caves are a must do experience. Next is a trip to the famous Hobbiton film set from Peter Jacksons Lord of the Rings Trilogy, set in the rolling farmlands of the Waikato near Matamata. Whatever your itinerary, and whichever of the wonders of the North Island you’re eager to explore, the train, Auckland to Palmerston North or Palmerston North 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 new, 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 viewing 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.