East & West 2024 - 5 Day Mini Tour - Dep. Palmerston North


5 Day Mini Rail Tour - Departing Palmerston North | 9 - 13 November 2024



Join the Glenbrook Vintage Railway as we experience some of the best of the North Island's scenic railways!

Embark on an extraordinary adventure with Glenbrook Vintage Railway aboard their private Diesel-hauled heritage train, journeying through the North Island's less-traveled railway routes, offering stunning scenery and showcasing some of New Zealand's famous locations. Experience iconic landmarks like the Raurimu Spiral and Mt Taranaki, alongside charming destinations such as Napier's Art Deco cityscape. Enjoy overnight stays in captivating spots like Ohakune, New Plymouth, and Napier, with handpicked activities and exclusive tours to enrich your exploration. Our tour in November 2024 will also coincide with the award winning Taranaki Garden Festival and discover the Gannet Colony & Cape Sanctuary in the Hawkes Bay. Our tour is fully escorted, ensuring every moment is filled with discovery and enhancing the allure of rail travel for enthusiasts of history, nature, and adventure alike.

We arrive back in Hamilton/Auckland having seen some of the jewels in the crown of the North Island - often understated for its beauty.

Travel with the Glenbrook Vintage Railway as we travel East & West and experience the romance of rail travel. 


Rail Tour Highlights


Art Deco Napier

Napier is renowned for its art deco architecture, a charming relic of its post-earthquake rebuilding in the 1930s. This coastal city boasts a vibrant cultural scene, with galleries, boutique shops, and cafes lining its streets, offering visitors a taste of its eclectic charm.


Cape Sanctuary

Embark on a journey through the Ocean Beach Wilderness Area, New Zealand's largest privately owned wildlife sanctuary, where guides lead you through a rich narrative spanning pre-historic eras to present-day conservation efforts. Encounter takahe and kakariki up close, witness stunning coastal vistas, and learn about Cape Sanctuary's conservation initiatives.


Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre

Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre(opens in new window) is a captive-breeding sanctuary for some the country's most threatened birds. Located in a pocket of ancient forest 30 kilometres north of Masterton, Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre is a highly educational experience and it's also great fun.


Wonderful Wairarapa

We travel to the Wairarapa, where we discover the delightful and bustling village atmospheres of Greytown and Martinborough as well as a visit to an exclusive private estate - reserved only for select groups, featuring sculptures, a railway and extensive exotic & native fauna.


Travel Itinerary

Palmerston North - Manawatu Gorge - Napier

This morning we relocate to the railway station from our hotel and we depart north-east towards Napier on the Palmerston North – Gisborne line. Passing through the breath-taking Manawatu Gorge, now only accessible by rail, we pass through Woodville where are able to stop briefly before we continue north.

Rolling through the meandering countryside, north of Dannevirke we cross the six famous viaducts of Mangatera, Piripiri, Mangatewainui, Makotuku, Ormondville and Kopua. We make a stop in Waipukurau for lunch in a local eatery and time to stretch the legs.

The Pekapeka Wetlands signal our entry into the horticultural heart of the Hawkes Bay, often quoted as ‘The fruit bowl of New Zealand’ where we soon greet the coastline south of Napier, shortly before arriving into the heart of town.

We are relocated to our accommodation in Napier’s scenic centre.

Tour Inclusions
B | MT | L | AT
  • GVR Tour Train from Palmerston North to Napier.
  • Morning & Afternoon Tea and Lunch on board GVR Tour Train.
  • Sumptuous Lunch pack on board the train.

Cape Kidnappers Gannet Colony & Cape Sanctuary

Today we leave the Art Deco streetscape of central Napier and head south towards Cape Kidnappers and our day with Gannet Safaris.

We start by traveling over a working farm and NZ’s largest privately owned wildlife sanctuary, stop several times at lookout points along the way. Learn about the local history and culture from our highly knowledgeable guides while taking in the sensational 360-degree views over Hawkes Bay. While at the plateau, one is within a few metres of the remarkable birds with their stunning golden crowns. No walking required.

We then venture across the formidable landscape of the Ocean Beach Wilderness Area, the heart of New Zealand’s largest privately owned and operated wildlife sanctuary. Experience the impact of Cape Sanctuary’s conservation efforts in real-time through up-close encounters with takahe and kakariki. Travel high above the Ocean Beach Cliffs, and greet the all-encompassing view of our coastline as you enter our pest-free slice of paradise, the ‘sea bird site’. Learn about Cape Sanctuary’s nationally significant sand-dune restoration, coastal revegetation, species translocations and leading sea-bird restoration projects

Tour Inclusions
B | MT | L | AT
  • Exclusive charter of Gannet Safari's and Cape Sanctuary.
  • Morning tea & Lunch
  • Visit to local winery.

GVR Tour Train: Napier - Woodville - Pahiatua - Masterton

Today’s travel retraces our steps, back down to Woodville. Leaving Napier we once again roll through the lush orchards and growing areas of central Hawkes Bay. You hear the locomotive work hard as we head up the Opapa Bank, the steepest on this part of the line between Napier and Woodville.

Between Waipukurau and Dannevirke we pass through several old towns of New Zealand, now reminiscing at their glory days at the height of the New Zealand Railways.

At Woodville we get the chance to see the Woodville Balloon Loop, an iconic piece of rail infrastructure as we head on our journey further south, down the Wairarapa Line. This line is not used by any scheduled freight or passenger services. Having crossed the Manawatu River, and passing the famous Tui Brewery at Mangatainoka we stop at Pahiatua for lunch and time to look at the Pahiatua Railcar Society’s magnificent collection.

Here we relocate to a bus for our last leg of the journey, our departure from Pahiatua sees us climb through stunning native bush up to Mount Bruce and in to the Wairarapa.

Tour Inclusions
B | MT | L | AT
  • GVR Tour Train from Napier to Pahiatua.
  • Morning & Afternoon Tea and Lunch on board GVR Tour Train.
  • Sumptuous Lunch pack on board the train.

Greytown, Martinborough and private estate.

Departing Masterton, we make our way through the town of Carterton, arriving in Greytown where there is time to explore this beautiful town and it’s boutique shops.

Leaving Greytown for the short journey to our next exclusive destination property where we spend a few hours surrounded by enchanted plantings, sculptures and a railway – this opportunity doesn’t come often and should not be missed. Lunch is included in this wonderful location.

After our time at the property, we take a scenic journey through the countryside to Martinborough and a local winery, before we return to Masterton late afternoon.

Tour Inclusions
B | MT | L 
  • Coach travel around the southern Wairarapa
  • Time in Greytown and Martinborough
  • Exclusive entry to private estate and Lunch.

Mt Bruce, Pukaha National Wildlife Centre, Palmerston North

Today we relocate our entire group by coach to Palmerston North, ready for the following days rail journey home to the Waikato and Auckland.

We leave Masterton behind and very soon arrive at Mt Bruce’s popular Pukaha National Wildlife Centre. Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre is NZ's most established captive breeding facility located in a pocket of ancient forest 30 kilometres north of Masterton. Set in 942 hectares of ancient Podocarp forest, Pukaha is home to many endangered species including takahē, kōkako, kākāriki, hīhī (stitchbird), kāka and several kiwi including Manukura, the only white kiwi in captivity.

Following lunch in the café, we head north following the Tararua ranges to Woodville, crossing the Saddle road and stopping at Te Apiti Wind Farm look out. We arrive in to Palmerston North mid afternoon.

Tour Inclusions
B | L | D
  • Coach relocation from Masterton to Palmerston North.
  • Admission and Lunch at Pukaha National Wildlife Centre.
  • Farewell Dinner.



Tour Map




Our Accommodation

Napier | 9 - 11 November 2024

Scenic Hotel Te Pania - or similar

2 Nights

A fresh, contemporary style hotel, Scenic Hotel Te Pania is just a short stroll from Napier’s main art deco style street and is located in close proximity to many of Napier’s attractions. Scenic Hotel Te Pania presents the best of the Bay with genuine Kiwi hospitality in contemporary and superior surroundings amidst a spectacular city setting.

Masterton | 11 - 13 November 2024

Copthorne Solway

2 Nights

Stay near beautiful landscapes in one of the best luxury accommodation in Wairarapa Located on the outskirts of Masterton, Wairarapa’s largest town, Copthorne Hotel & Resort Solway Park Wairarapa is a refreshing retreat.







Per Person, Twin Share



Single Supplement



- 4 Nights' Accommodation in premium, unique stays - pre-booked on a twin share basis. - Activities, coach transfers and relocations as stated in the inclusions and/or as detailed on this website or in the brochure.
- Shuttle/bus transfers to/from accommodation as detailed, as required.
- 4 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches.
- Morning/Afternoon Tea on GVR Tour Train

- Airfares, connecting travel or other expenses prior to joining or after leaving the rail tour.
- All meals and refreshments other than those detailed in the brochure.
- All personal expenditures, refreshments, taxis, other travel and transfers, accommodation or related charges not specifically referred to in the itineraries as being included.
- Travel Insurance, which is recommended for all passengers. 


Join us on this epic rail adventure as we explore the stunning North Island. 

A full brochure, pricing and detailed itinerary are available on request.



To register your interest:

Fill in the Online Booking Request (Click Here).

Email: [email protected] 

Phone 020 GVR Book | 020 487 2665


^ Itinerary - is subject to change. The GVR, operators of the 'Great North Island Railway Adventure 2024', reserve the right to change the content, location and activities of this tour at any time. 




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