National Park - Mountain Fun

LOW COST weekend escape for your group! Head up the mountain, grab a guide and hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing or have the freedom to choose.

3 Day/2 Nights from $759 for 2 (off peak rate)
Call Ruapehu i-SITE 0800 647 483 for availability and pricing for your chosen departure.

View all Discover Ruapehu Rail Tours Packages

This low cost package gives you the opportunity to choose what you do to meet your budget. Perfect for groups or those that want a cheaper getaway, travel with us to National Park and stay at the National Park Backpackers. Here you have the freedom to choose what you do. Talk to the amazing staff at the Ruapehu i-SITE to arrange a package that suits you; Skiing, hiking, adventuring – they will be able to tailor your adventure.

Your Itinerary

Day 1 - Friday

📍 Auckland/Hamilton - National Park by Chartered Heritage Train
☕ Morning tea aboard train

A rail adventure begins. Our friendly train-mad staff are ready to greet you onboard at your choice of boarding location. The journey south from Pukekohe takes you through the outer fringes of Auckland and into the Waikato. Our journey to Hamilton will be a mixture of rural farmland and their community centres like Te Kauwhata and Huntly. Be sure to check out the Whangamarino wetlands, the Waikato river and Huntly power station before curving our way through the Taupiri gorge. After our departure from Hamilton, we make quick stops for passengers at Te Awamutu and Otorohanga. Te Kuiti marks the gateway to the real “Main Trunk Line”.

Our train will start to climb the steep grades, keep an eye out for the 132 year old Waiteti viaduct. Entering the Porootarao tunnel signals we have reached our summit. From here, we descend to the Ongarue river valley which guides us to Taumarunui. After a quick stop we then follow the Whanganui and Whakapapa rivers for half the trip to the foot of the world renowned Raurimu Spiral. This engineering masterpiece overcomes a 139 metre height difference by spiralling up the volcanic rock escarpment. Catch several glimpses of the town as we climb the various levels of the spiral while also passing through two tunnels. As we burst out of the second of the two tunnels, we have reached the top of the spiral itself. We continue climbing for a further 10 minutes until we finally reach the summit at National Park. Here you will be greeted by the mountain and your shuttle bus transferring you to the National Park Backpackers.


Auckland (Pukekohe) dep. 9.05am
Hamilton (Frankton)
dep. 11.00am
Te Awamutu
dep. 11.40am
Otorohanga dep.
Taumarunui arr. 1.45pm
National Park
arr. 3.15pm

Day 2 - Saturday

📍 National Park

Today you will embark on your activity of choice, pre-arranged by the team at the Ruapehu i-SITE, head out and hit the slopes, or cross a mountain, or other adventures you have tailored to suit your time away with us. In the evening, check out the local bar and restaurant in National Park and wind down with a meal and a bevvy or two.

Day 3 - Sunday

📍 National Park - Auckland/Hamilton by Chartered Heritage Train
☕ Afternoon tea aboard train

Before heading back home, perhaps look into trying your climbing skills on the climbing wall at the backpackers, play a round of mini golf or hire an e-bike and cruise around National Park village – all at your leisure and expense. A shuttle bus will take you back to the National Park station where your train will not be far away. Go early and sneak in an early lunch or snack at the station café even.

Once again, our friendly staff will be happy to see you again, and to assist you to settle in for the journey home. Take this time to have a little rest or share your stories with other guests onboard.


National Park
dep. 12.10pm
Taumarunui dep. 1.10pm
Otorohanga arr. 3.00pm
Te Awamutu
arr. 3.25pm
Hamilton (Frankton)
arr. 3.55pm
Auckland (Pukekohe)


Situated in the National Park village, the backpackers is close by local bars, restaurants and ski hire shops. The accommodation is high quality yet budget on price. Rooms are warm, clean, comfortable and private. WiFi is available and there is a small shop with basic items for sale, as well as a communal kitchen facility for your cooking needs.

The Heritage Train Journey

The North Island Main Trunk is steeped in local and Maori history. Opened completely between Auckland and Wellington in 1908 after over 30 years of construction, the “Main Trunk” passes through many rural settlements and towns which were connected up to the major cities by the coming of the railway. The section we travel over covers the main centres of Pukekohe and Hamilton, followed by rural towns like Otorohanga, Te Kuiti, Taumarunui and National Park. The railway geography is diverse, from rolling hills to the steepest sustained climbs up the extreme gradients south of Taumarunui. Our journey passes through the UNESCO World Heritage site of Tongariro National Park, as well as conservation land, farms and forests.

Selected Highlights Include:

  • Travel over the North Island Main Trunk line on an exclusive heritage train
  • Traverse the world famous Raurimu Spiral
  • Cross over the spectacular Waiteti Viaduct
  • Track our path along the Ongarue and Whakapapa river valleys
  • Pass through the Porootarao and Raurimu tunnels
  • Stunning Mountain views and spectacular scenery

This heritage train operated by the Glenbrook Vintage Railway will be hauled by restored locomotive DBR1254. Originally built as a DB class locomotive by General Motors Diesel Canada in 1965, this locomotive was rebuilt by Clyde Engineering Australia in 1981. In 2017 the Glenbrook Vintage Railway took ownership of DBR1254 which underwent an intense overhaul before returning to mainline service in 2019.

The carriages date from 1939/1940 and would have made thousands of journeys up and down the main trunk. The carriages retain key features including the iconic flip-over seats, though have been tastefully redecorated for enhanced passenger comfort. The guard’s van that travels with these carriages provides an open viewing area for an uninterrupted view of the amazing countryside.


  • Return train travel from Pukekohe/Hamilton/Te Awamutu/Otorohanga to National Park and return.
  • Two nights’ accommodation at the National Park Backpackers.
  • Transfers from and to National Park Railway Station.
  • Complimentary light refreshments on outbound and homebound rail journeys.

Terms and Conditions

Full standard Terms and Conditions can be found here:

Additional conditions:


In the event that the NZ government imposes COVID-19 restrictions preventing the GVR train tour from operating, a refund of monies paid may be given, net of any outgoings or payments already made by GVR in conjunction with the operation and organisation of these tours on written application within 7 days of the scheduled date of travel.

Visit Ruapehu and Ruapehu District i-SITE Visitor Centre Conditions

These packages are organised through Visit Ruapehu and the Ruapehu District i-SITE Visitor Centres who handle all accommodation, transfers, and activities for these packages. Please contact them on 0800 647 483 or email them at for their terms and conditions which apply to your booking.

All packages are subject to availability, after you place your booking the i-SITE will confirm your arrangements with the individual providers and operators.
If parts of your chosen package are unavailable, the i-SITE will work with you to provide a suitable substitution/customisation or we will refund you fully.

The Glenbrook Vintage Railway Charitable Trust Board will not be held liable for any damages arising from errors or omissions in the information provided for you on this website

Book This Package

Travelling solo, with kids, or as a group? Package not available for your preferred date? The Ruapehu i-SITE is able to customise packages to suit your requirements. Click here for more information.

For Peak Season Departures availability is limited, so you need to book through the Ruapehu i-SITE. Give them a call on 0800 647 483 or email them at

No fuss, one transaction and one simply amazing time will be had on your Discover Ruapehu Rail Tour adventure.