The Grand North Island Steam Tour

Join the GVR and Steam Inc aboard Ja1271 for a grand North Island steam hauled tour! Departing from Auckland and Wellington - why not join us!

Jump on board with the Glenbrook Vintage Railway and Steam Incorporated as we join forces and celebrate 100 years of the Waiuku Branchline – where the GVR is based – and Steam Inc celebrates its 50th anniversary!
Glenbrook Vintage Railway have teamed up with our Wellington based friends at Steam Inc to bring to Glenbrook their resplendent Ja1271, for a number of joint trips in Auckland & the Waikato.
So hop on board as we step back in time – to how rail travel used to be – and experience steam on the main line.

The Grand North Island Steam Tour | Departing Wellington and Auckland

Bring your friends and family along for this relaxing train adventure.

Join the Glenbrook Vintage Railway and Steam Incorporated for this ultimate steam-hauled hosted multi-day tour!
Off the back of our overwhelmingly successful East & West Rail Tour in July 2022, the GVR is proud to present to you "The Grand North Island Steam Tour" 

This will be an epic adventure with more steam hauled rail days than any other multi-day tour on the market within NZ.

Join us from Auckland or Wellington, for a return rail adventure which is sure to appease even the hard-core travelling rail enthusiasts.

See below for our itinerary. Express your interest NOW to secure a space. 

 The Grand North Island Rail Tour - Download Links
GNIST_Tour Brochure_31-8-22.pdf
GNIST22 Booking.pdf

Proposed Itinerary*

Wellington to Auckland - Pre Tour

Pre-Tour Day 1  |  Sun 16th Oct 
While it will take us several days to navigate our way behind our steam engine from Auckland to Wellington, we do the trip in a day today aboard the Northern Explorer. Joining the Northern Explorer on Sunday at Wellington Railway Station, you will get to see an early glimpse into some of what we will experience in the coming days. The Northern Explorer will take you from Wellington to Auckland over the course of the day. Upon your arrival at The Strand in Auckland's CBD, you will be met and transported to your accommodation. 
Overnight: Pullman | Auckland CBD - 3 nights

Pre-Tour Day 2  |  Mon 17th Oct 
Today is provided free at your leisure or join our optional activity. 

Optional Activity: City, Rail & Museum

Today's activity is packed with information! We start with a sightseeing trip of the City Rail Link construction, shortly followed by trip to Auckland Museum. At auckland Museum we will have ample time for lunch before heading off to MOTAT, Auckland's Museum of Transport & Technology. At MOTAT we will have a tour of the magnificent Aviation Display Hall, before heading out the back to the rail sheds for a special look at the rail collection. A trip on the Western Springs Tramway to MOTAT's Great North Road site, and if time permits a look around this site before we return to our bus and into the CBD. 

Pre-Tour Day 3  |  Tue 18th Oct 
Today is provided free at your leisure or join our optional activity.

Optional Activity: Best of the West

Experience the best of south-west Auckland! Today we are whipped out of the Auckland CBD and through to the Glenbrook Vintage Railway. Here we will travel on an exclusive charter on the Waiuku Branch Line the railway operates on. A stop at the workshops also gives us time to take a tour of the workshops before returning to the Glenbrook Station. 

A short coach journey through the township of Waiuku to Kariotahi Beach and the wild west-coast's Castaways Resort for a buffet lunch. 

Departing Waiuku we head to the Auckland Botanic Gardens for time to look around the magnificent gardens before returning to the city and our last night in Auckland. 

Day 1  |  Web 19th Oct 
This morning we have a lazy start to the day before joining our steam train at The Strand Station. See Main Tour | Day 1 as below.  

Auckland to Wellington - Main Tour

Day 1  |  Wed 19th Oct 
Today our train departs Glenbrook, in to the City with passenger pick-ups at Papakura and The Strand Station before heading south to Hamilton. Those passengers who started in Wellington will be transferred to The Strand before commencing our journey south. 
Overnight: Novotel Tainui | Hamilton - 2 nights

Optional Activity: Vine & Dine

After some time at the Hotel, we travel to Vilagrad Winery on the outskirts of Hamilton. At Vilagrad we are treated to a Tour & Tasting of the winery, where you will learn the fascinating history of wine making in the region. 

Following the tour we sit down for a 3 course buffet meal in convivial surrounds. A relaxed evening not to be missed. 

Day 2  |  Thur 20th Oct
Today we travel from Hamilton to Tokoroa and return along the East Coast Main Trunk where are Waharoa we join the Kinleith Branch. There is ample time in Tokoroa to explore the town, or choose an optional Tour and Buffet Lunch at Hobbiton. 

Optional Activity: Hobbiton Lunch and Tour

Experience the full benefit of travelling the line to Tokoroa - albeit with a side trip to Hobbiton for lunch and a guided tour. 

At Matamata we hop off the train and are whisked away the short distance to Hobbiton. You will be fully guided on a walking tour around the 12 acre set; past Hobbit Holes™, the Mill and into the world-famous Green Dragon Inn where you will be presented with a complimentary, exclusive Hobbit Southfarthing beverage before moving up to the Party Marquee, a fully themed venue where you will enjoy a buffet lunch to conclude your Middle-earth™ adventure.

Departing Hobbiton we take the journey south to Tokoroa where we rejoin our steam train and travel back to Hamilton. 

Day 3  |  Fri 21st Oct 
Our journey today starts at Hamilton Station where we depart for Ohakune, stopping en-route for lunch at Taumarunui. From here we start our climb up and on to the central plateau, via the famous Raurimu Spiral. Photostops today are planned which will only make this an even more enjoyable day! 
Overnight: The Powderhorn Chateau | Ohakune - 2 nights. 

Day 4  |  Sat 22nd Oct 
Today is provided free at your leisure or join our optional activity.  

Optional Activity: 10 Tunnel Tour - Stratford to Okahukura Line. 

We take the short journey from our accommodation down to Taumarunui where we take a Forgotten World Adventures converted golf-cart on the old Stratford - Okahukura Line for their "10 tunnel tour". 

Today starts with a journey to Laurens Lavendar Farm. Board the shuttle again and continue your journey into the Forgotten World.  A lovely ploughman's lunch and our fabulous home baking will be awaiting your arrival at Tokirima, after which you will board your waiting rail cart.  Set off down the line along 40km of the Forgotten World Railway.Travel through 10 tunnels, including the longest tunnel (1.5km), and marvel at the beautiful handbuilt brick tunnels. Enjoy cruising through stunning hill country farms and native bush on your journey back to Okahukura. The shuttle will then return you to Taumarunui where there is time to check out the town before we return to our accommodation. 

Day 5  |  Sun 23rd Oct
At Ohakune, we hop aboard our steam train for the journey south to Feilding. As we descend for the central plateau, we pass through Tangiwai crossing the Whangaehu River, before heading up to Waiouru. From Waiouru we decend to Taihape, through some stunning country and native regenerating forest and rolling pastures. At Taihape we stop for a lunch break, after which we come across the mighty viaducts of the Rangitikei region. Arriving in Feilding we are transferred to our hotel accommodation in Palmerston North 
Overnight: The Distinction Hotel | Palmerston North - 1 night. 

Day 6  |  Mon 24th Oct 
This morning we relocate from our overnight accommodation in Palmerston North and head to feilding where we rejoin our train for the journey north to Whanganui.  Departing Feilding we head along the North Island Main Trunk to Marton where we turn left and join the Marton - New Plymouth line. We pass through the Turakina and Fordell Tunnels before crossing the Whangaehu River for the second time on our journeys thus far. Arriving in to East Town we cross the Whanganui River and hop on the Castlecliff Branch before arriving into Whanganui City. Our bus transfers us to our accommodation and the city centre where you can grab a bite to eat before partaking in this afternoons optional activity. 
Overnight: The Grand Hotel | Whanganui - 2 nights. 

Optional Activity: Rivers and Elevators

Having had time in Whanganui CBD to explore o r grab a bite to eat, we head over to Durie Hill. Here we will get to experience the Durie Hill Elevator and time to look around the top of Durie Hill before we head back down the elevator. 

Now we take the short journey to the Whanganui River Boat Centre where we board an exclusive charter of the P.S Waimarie for a 2 hour river cruise. On board we are served a delicious afternoon tea.  

Day 7  |  Tue 25th Oct

Today is provided free at your leisure or join our optional activity. 

Optional Activity: Tawhiti Museum

Today we hop on a bus and take the road to Hawera, passing through rural communities such as Waverley and Patea. We arrive at Tawhiti Museum, a unique enterprise and widely regarded as the best private museum in NZ. Provided here is also a lunch and admission to Traders and Whalers.

Returning home mid afternoon we stop at Bason Botanic Gardens before arriving back in Whanganui. 

Day 8  |  Wed 26th Oct 
The last day of our steam hauled tours retraces our steps to Feilding where we stop for you to pop in to town for lunch. Departing Feilding we make a short stop in Palmerston North before continuing to Paekakariki.
For those who started in Wellington or are ending the tour here, this is where we part ways and say farewell.
Those travellers continuing on to Auckland, we travel in to Wellington CBD for our accommodation from Paekakariki.  

Wellington to Auckland - Return Tour

Day 8  |  Wed 26th Oct
Having arrived at Paekakariki we board our transport to Wellington CBD and into our accommodation late afternoon. 

Overnight: Ibis Wellington | Wellington CBD - 2 nights. 

Day 9  |  Thur 27th Oct 

Today is provided free at your leisure or join our optional activity. 

Optional Activity: Cable Cars, Te Papa & Trains

We start with a hop, skip and a jump to the Cable Car for a trip to the top of the hill, a guided tour and time to explore the museum. 

Back on the ground, we take a short stroll along the scenic Wellington waterfront to Te Papa, where there is time to look at the museum and have lunch. 

After time at the museum we take a coach ride to the Silver Stream Railway for an exclusive charter on their railway and a look around the facilities which are home to a wonderful range of railway items. 

Day 10  |  Fri 28th Oct
The grand finale! - While it has taken us several days to navigate our way behind our steam engine from Auckland to Wellington, we do the trip in a day today aboard the Northern Explorer.
After a short early-morning walk to Wellington Railway Station we hop on the Northern Explorer and settle in for the days journey. Passenger stops in Hamilton, Papakura and The Strand.

A rare chance to take an easy trip by rail behind a steam engine along the scenic North Island Main Trunk and other line not travelled by other passenger services!

A full brochure, pricing and detailed itinerary will be available shortly.

- Travel aboard GVR & Steam Inc's exclusive steam-hauled tour train.
- Accommodation, pre-booked on a twin-share basis. Sole Occupancy additional. 
- Breakfasts at all hotels/motels.
- Shuttle/bus transfers to/from accommodation as detailed, as required. 

- Optional Activities
- 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.


Express your interest or for full information:

Email: [email protected] 

Phone 020 GVR Book | 020 487 2665

* Proposed Itinerary - is subject to change. The GVR, operators of The Grand North Island Rail Tour, reserve the right to change the content, location and activities of this tour at any time. 

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