Taumarunui - Posh Pioneers

Stay at the Alexander Spa in the heart of Taumarunui township. Embark on a thrilling jetboat adventure to a pioneer settlement followed by a guide on conservation, topped with a bit of lavender.

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Come experience the thrill and excitement of jetboating on the Whanganui River where you visit the unique and remote Posh Pioneer, an off the grid pioneer settlement for a grazing lunch, then jet boat further down the Whanganui to the beautiful Blue Duck Lodge for coffee and talk about the conservation effort here then bus back to Taumarunui for dinner. The next day, enjoy a visit to New Zealand’s largest lavender farm and partake of morning tea before returning to your train for the journey home.

Your Itinerary

Day 1 - Friday

📍 Auckland/Hamilton - Taumarunui 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, passing over the 132 year old Waiteti viaduct and cruising through lush farmlands and skirting pine forests. We climb for nearly 40 minutes before reaching the summit of the hill at Porootarao, this is marked by passing through the 1272 metre Porootarao tunnel. Blasting out the other side of the tunnel, it is here that you will catch your first glimpse of Mt Ruapehu, if the weather is behaving! As we descend down the grade, we pass through the small settlement of Waimiha then glide through some pretty impressive rock cuttings and finally we meet the Ongarue river which guides us all the way to Taumarunui. Transfers will be awaiting you at Taumarunui station to take you to the Alexander Spa motel for your stay. Unpack and unwind for a bit, then venture into town where there are many eateries within short walking distances to dine at tonight. Then return to your motel to settle in for a good night’s sleep.


Auckland (Pukekohe) dep. 9.05am
Hamilton (Frankton)
dep. 11.00am
Te Awamutu
dep. 11.40am
Otorohanga dep. 12.05.pm
Taumarunui arr. 1.45pm

Day 2 - Saturday

📍 Taumarunui
🍽️ Continental breakfast at accommodation
🍽️ Lunch at Posh Pioneers

Make a brew, down a continental breakfast and brace for adventure! Your guide will pick you up from the motel and down to the river where you trade in the wheels for the jet boat! Jetting down the river, take in the hidden beauty of the King Country until you arrive at the Posh Pioneers at Maharanui.

This is a special place, a once in a lifetime experience where the hosts of Posh Pioneers have set out to respect and preserve the Wairua (spirit) of this remote location. Nestled off grid, with no road access, tour this pioneer preserve and admire the sustainable lifestyle of living off the land. Enjoy a grazing table lunch before saying goodbye to this piece of paradise then head back onto the jetboat where we head further downstream to the Blue Duck Lodge on the banks of the Whanganui river, surrounded by the Whanganui National Park in all its wilderness. Here we enjoy a coffee, tour and a chat with local host about the core values of the Blue Duck Lodge, conserving endangered wildlife, increase health of native bush and rivers and preserve the history of the area by educating its visitors.

From here we bus back down the adventure highway to Taumarunui and your motel. Out again for your choice of dinner tonight in Taumarunui to share stories of you highlights from the day.   

Day 3 - Sunday

📍 Taumarunui - Auckland/Hamilton by Chartered Heritage Train
🍽️ Continental breakfast at accommodation
☕ Morning tea at Laurens Lavender Gardens
☕ Afternoon tea aboard train

After breakfast, load your bags into the van and head off to Laurens Lavender Gardens for morning tea. These gardens are the largest lavender gardens in New Zealand. Enjoy the tranquil setting and visit the gift shop to try out or buy locally made lavender products. Then head back to Taumarunui where you can leave your bags in the i-SITE building and pop into a local café for lunch (time permitting) before your train arrives to take you home.

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


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


Alexander Spa Motel is in the heart of Taumarunui, off the main street. Rooms come in Queen, twin or family studios – all with ensuite bathrooms. Just a short walk from local eateries which your hosts will happily point out to you. Continental breakfast is included Saturday and Sunday mornings. 

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 and Taumarunui. The railway geography is diverse, from rolling hills to steep gradients. Our journey passes through conservation land, farms and forests.

Selected Highlights Include:

  • Travel over the North Island Main Trunk line on an exclusive heritage train
  • Cross over the spectacular Waiteti Viaduct
  • Track our path along the Ongarue river valley
  • Pass through the Porootarao tunnel
  • 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 Taumarunui and return.
  • Two nights’ accommodation at Alexander Spa Motel.
  • Transfers from and to Taumarunui Railway Station.
  • Transfers to activities on Saturday and Sunday.
  • Continental breakfast Saturday and Sunday.
  • Morning tea Sunday.
  • Jet boat ride.
  • Admission to Posh Pioneers and Blue Duck Lodge.
  • Admission to Laurens Lavender Gardens.
  • Complimentary light refreshments on outbound and homebound rail journeys.

Terms and Conditions

Full standard Terms and Conditions can be found here: https://www.gvr.org.nz/terms

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 isite@ruapehudc.govt.nz 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.

Taumarunui - Posh Pioneers - 11th June 2021

Taumarunui - Posh Pioneers - 11th June 2021

Taumarunui - Posh Pioneers - 11th June 2021
Return Train Travel, Stay at Alexander Spa Motel, Take a Jetboat Ride to Blue Duck Station, Visit Posh Pioneers for Lunch, and Explore Laurens Lavender Gardens.
$1,629 Per 2 People

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2 People:
@ $1,629.00 each
Boarding at: