The Northern Explorer from Auckland to Wellington


I mentioned in one of my last posts that I’d bought a campervan…well, did I mention it was in Wellington? A mere 8-hour+ drive away from Auckland…well, this Saturday I made my way down to Wellington on The Northern Explorer. This was my first train journey in New Zealand and although it was going to take the whole day (not dissimilar to my old commute…I’m looking at you, South West Trains), I was so excited! The trains have been designed to show off the beautiful landscapes:

“All carriages feature wide panoramic side & roof windows, with un-tinted & non-reflective glass allowing for great photo opportunities. Open air viewing decks also ensure nothing gets in the way of you and your camera.”

Oh yes! So, with a charged camera, GoPro, MacBook and overnight bag, I made my way to Auckland Train Station for my 7.45am departure.


There is an on board audio description service with headphones provided, it doesn’t go on the whole time but when there is stuff to hear,  there is a small bell sound which indicates that you should put the headphones on if they aren’t already. This was so interesting and covered information about Maori culture and history, farming and agriculture and volcanoes!


Plenty of legroom, air conditioning, clean toilets, cafe, views and an outdoor viewing platform at the front of the train made this one of the best journeys I’ve had by rail. Unlike the incredible bullet train in Japan, which is my other favourite, this was a slower journey so you had the chance to take in the views.



Going all the way from Auckland to Wellington takes a really long time but the views definitely help distract you and the fact that you’re travelling in comfort helps a great deal. There were a few issues on the way, a minor delay and then a load of rubber-smelling smoke came flooding though my carriage…no biggie, they sorted it fairly quickly! 

We arrived at about 6.30pm and fortunately, my hostel was only a two minute walk from Wellington station. Unfortunately, the hostel itself was a bit disappointing…it made me realise that I’m a bit over the hostel thing now…

The next day, I picked up the campervan and drove it halfway (ish) back to Auckland. I decided to stop in Taranaki and found a gorgeous airbnb room in Urenui with a sea view on one side and stunning views of Mount Taranaki on the other side. I highly recommend staying there if you are in Taranaki, Judy and Noel make you feel so, so welcome!



I hadn’t realised but Mount Taranaki is the sister Mountain of Mount Fuji as they’re so similar in shape and size! After a much better night sleep than the night before, I made my way back up to Auckland.

The camper is a bit of a fixer-upper but it drives really well and I’m really looking forward to the project. Will do a post further down the line and show you what I’ve done! Wish me luck!



4 responses to “The Northern Explorer from Auckland to Wellington

  1. Pingback: A trip on the TranzAlpine |·

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