Great North Island Rail Adventure - 4 Day Mini Tour - Ex Palmerston North


4 Day Mini Tour - Departing Palmerston North

| 5 - 8 April 2024



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

Our tour navigates the centre and western parts of the North Island, by exclusive heritage tour train! Travel on freight-only lines, through wooded forests, mountainous terrain and rolling farmland. We start by travelling north along the North Island Main Trunk Line, which takes us up to the central plateau - a journey of ever changing beauty and which can only be experienced by rail. Finally we cross the mighty viaducts between Ohakune and National Park, passing Smash Palace & Horopito, and descending the famous Raurimu Spiral - steeped in history. The mothballed Stratford - Okahukura Line, now Forgotten World Adventures takes us 142km over 2 days. We overnight in the Republic of Whangamomona - a character filled township - before continuing on to New Plymouth. We meet our train and travel around Mt. Taranaki, through towns like Inglewood, Patea, Waverley, Whanganui and Marton.

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

Travel with the Glenbrook Vintage Railway on this Great North Island Rail Adventure - experience the romance of rail travel. 

This 4 day mini-tour forms part of our 10 day Great North Island Rail Adventure:

Don't miss out on on Rotorua, Hobbiton, the beauty of the central plateau, Ohakune & Mt Ruapehu, and the exclusive train journeys from to Tokoroa and south to Taumarunui.

Join our 10 day 'Main Tour' here 


Rail Tour Highlights


GVR Tour Train

Discover the natural beauty of the North Island Main Trunk, Stratford - Okahukura and Marton - New Plymouth railway lines, onboard your very own exclusive heritage train. There is no better way to see some of New Zealand’s best scenery, history and engineering feats, all from the comfort of your seat – without having to lift a finger!


Northern Explorer

New Zealand's longest running passenger service, Northern Explorer travels between Auckland and Wellington, stopping at Palmerston North, Ohakune, National Park and Hamilton. Highlights include the journey through the Tongariro National Park, with its three spectacular volcanic mountains, and the famous Raurimu Spiral.


Forgotten World Adventures

Unplugged yet still on the line as you travel the entire Forgotten World Railway on this two-day Rail Cart adventure from Taumarunui to Stratford. See the remnants of the original settlements along the line. Travel through coal country, farmlands, over bridges, through hand-built tunnels and past once-thriving towns that time seems to have forgotten. Stay over in the Republic of Whangamomona’s iconic hotel. Listen to the stories and relive the memories of New Zealand’s pioneering past.





Travel Itinerary

Palmerston North to Taumarunui

This morning we head north for Taumarunui aboard the Northern Explorer. We start our climb up to the central plateau - a journey that is equally stunning and fascinating. On our ascent we pass over the 'big three' viaducts - South Rangitikei, Kawhatau and North Rangitikei. Crossing these viaducts is a highlight of today's journey - make sure you are on an observation balcony with camera in hand! Our train snakes its way up the valleys, passing through the once busy railway depot at Taihape. Our climb continues through the stunning native forests, through 'Rabbit Hole' Tunnel and around the Turangarere horseshoe curve which is rolling farmland and broken hillsides before we emerge in Waiouru. We pass Tangiwai and the site of New Zealand's worst rail disaster before arriving in to Ohakune.

Climbing out of Ohakune we are almost immediately greeted by the stunning and impressive Hapuawhenua Viaducts. We get two for the price of one here, as we travel on the viaduct of 1980 and to our right will be the viaduct of 1907. From here we travel through the plateau high country, past Horopito and its famous 'Smash Palace' to the highest elevation on the New Zealand rail network, before crossing the 79 metre high Makatote viaduct. Catch a glimpse of Mt Ruapehu as we skirt our way around this beautiful maunga, crossing many creeks and streams before arriving at National Park.

From National Park, we descend down onto the engineering masterpiece that is the Raurimu Spiral. We Descend over 130 metres, in 7 kilometres, 2 tunnels and lots of curves, into the township of Raurimu. From here we continue our descent towards the Whakapapa river and from Kakahi, the Whanganui river will guide us all the way to Taumarunui.

Tour Inclusions
  • Northern Explorer seats Palmerston North - Ohakune
  • Transfers to accommodation

Forgotten World Adventures: Taumarunui - Whangamomona 

Check in at the Forgotten World Motel and take a shuttle bus to the start of the line at Okahukura. Here you’ll board your Rail Cart and set off on your journey through the Forgotten World. Immerse yourself in the changing views of rolling hills, remote farmland and native bush, and experience wildlife close to the tracks. Stop along the way to hear stories from your guide of the land, its people and history. Travel over bridges and through hand-built brick tunnels, including the line's longest tunnel at 1.5km, and journey through the Tangarakau Gorge.

Enjoy morning and afternoon tea stops at historic settlements of Matiere and Tangarakau, and a rail-side picnic lunch at Tokirima. Arrive in the Republic of Whangamomona, explore the area and its charismatic pub. Get booked into your accommodation and enjoy dinner bed and breakfast in this iconic New Zealand town.

Tour Inclusions
B | MT | L | AT | D
  • Exclusive charter of Forgotten World Adventures
  • Morning Tea, Lunch and Afternoon Tea with FWA. 

Whangamomona - Stratford - New Plymouth

Depart Whangamomona and continue your journey to Stratford. Discover ever-changing vistas as you learn about the history of the area and the stories of the settlers. See redwood plantations, pine forest and deer farms and get up close and personal with local wildlife in sheep and beef country. Stop for morning tea and home baking at Te Wera Station siding, and visit an organic farm with the opportunity to sample and buy locally made produce. Enjoy lunch at Douglas Station, then continue your journey and marvel at the spectacular Mt Taranaki dominating the skyline. Travel on the largest bridge over the Patea River, and discover Taranaki dairy farmland. Arrive at Victoria Road in Stratford about 3pm

We leave Stratford by road and arrive at our accommodation later afternoon with the evening free for your leisure. 

Tour Inclusions
B | MT | L | AT
  • Exclusive charter of Forgotten World Adventures
  • Morning tea, Lunch and Afternoon Tea
  • Coach travel Stratford - New Plymouth

GVR Tour Train: New Plymouth to Palmerston North

Our midday departure out of New Plymouth sees us rejoin our GVR Tour Train on the New Plymouth Waterfront. The rolling countryside and mountain views entertain you as we travel through the towns of Inglewood, Stratford, Eltham and on to Hawera. Passing Stratford, we get a glimpse of the southern connection to the mothballed Stratford – Okahukura Line. South of Hawera we travel past one of the country’s busiest milk factories at Whareroa. Passing through Patea we skirt the Waipipi Wind Farm, home to some of the country’s largest wind turbines. Descending the formidable Westmere Bank, we arrive into the outskirts of historic Whanganui, the other end of the river we met at Taumarunui. South of Whanganui we pass through the Fordell and Turakina tunnels. At Marton we rejoin the North Island Main Trunk Line and descend down in to Feilding and, through the Bunnythorpe dips and arrive into Palmerston North.

Arriving back at Palmerston North Railway Station we bid farewell to our Manawatu tour passengers.

Tour Inclusions
B | MT | L | AT
  • GVR Tour Train from New Plymouth to Palmerston North.
  • Afternoon Tea & Lunch on GVR Train.






Tour Map








Our Accommodation

Taumarunui | 5 - 6 April

Forgotten World Motel/Alexander Motel

1 Night

Located just a 5-minute walk from Taumarunui's town centre, Forgotten World Motel offers accommodation with free WiFi. All accommodation includes cable TV. Each room and apartment includes electric blankets, a toaster, and tea/coffee making facilities. Your private bathroom offers a toilet and shower. Ironing facilities are available upon request.

Whangamomona | 6 - 7 April

Whangamomona Hotel

1 Night

The Whangamomona Hotel embodies the rich and one-of-a-kind history of the Whangamomona community. The current hotel, built in 1912, stands on the site of the first hotel, which was destroyed by fire in 1911 with only the kitchen coal range surviving.

New Plymouth | 7 - 8 April

Quest New Plymouth

1 Night

Quest Serviced Apartments offers self-contained accommodation in New Plymouth, right in the heart of the CBD. The property is located across the road from the Centre City Shopping Centre, and a 2-minute walk from the award-winning Coastal Walkway. Free WiFi and parking is available.










Per Person, Twin Share



Single Supplement



- 3 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.
- 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches and 1 dinner.
- 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 adventure as we return to travelling the globe, exploring the world of railways. 

A full brochure, pricing and detailed itinerary is 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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