National Park - Mountain Time

Weekend mountain fun escape with a difference! Travel by train with your friends to the famous Tongariro Alpine Crossing or the Whakapapa ski fields in the season.

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This low cost, high adventure option is great for trekking the UNESCO Dual World Heritage Park, Tongariro Alpine Crossing, or in the ski season, hit the mountain with friends or family.
Staying at the National Park Backpackers, you get to spend the day on the mountain and the evening with good company.

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

Gear up and head out to the awaiting shuttle bus to take you to one of two options:

Option 1: Tongariro Alpine Crossing - Your shuttle bus will take you to the entry point to the world famous Tongariro Alpine Crossing. The 19.4km experience will blow your mind with breath-taking panoramic views over volcanic craters, lava flows, the Emerald lakes and the stunning Tongariro National Park lands. Trekking across this dual World Heritage site truly is a must-do spectacular experience. Visit for more details on trekking the Tongariro Crossing safely – especially in the winter months.  

Option 2: Whakapapa Ski Field (ski season only) – Hit the slopes at the Whakapapa ski field (ski rental shops nearby if you need ski gear). Spend your day on the slopes before being transported back to your accommodation later that afternoon. Head out to the local bar and restaurant in National Park for a wind down. Or bring your own food and cook up a feast in the communal kitchen. Visit for more information on the Whakapapa Ski Season.

Day 3 - Sunday

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

Before heading back home, you could try your climbing skills on the climbing wall at the backpackers, or hire an e-bike and cruise around National Park village. 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.
  • Transfers to and from Tongariro Alpine Crossing or Whakapapa Ski Field.
  • 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.

National Park - Mountain Time - 11th June 2021

National Park - Mountain Time - 11th June 2021

National Park - Mountain Time - 11th June 2021
Return Train Travel, Stay at National Park Backpackers, Head up the mountain, explore Whakapapa Village, or complete the Tongariro Alpine Crossing
$759 Per 2 People

Book Now

2 People:
@ $759.00 each
Boarding at: