Discover Ruapehu Rail Tours - The Journey

Enjoy the relaxing experience of travelling by exclusive heritage train...

To see more details about Discover Ruapehu Rail Tours, click here

Discover the natural beauty of the North Island Main Trunk railway line onboard your very own exclusive heritage train with our Discover Ruapehu Rail Tours. Your weekend away starts when our friendly staff welcome you onboard our lovingly restored carriages which have travelled these lines for over 80 years. Travelling behind our very own heritage diesel locomotive, your journey will take you over undoubtedly one of New Zealand's most spectacular railway lines. From towering viaducts like the mighty Makatote, to the world famous Raurimu spiral, your journey takes you over some impressive engineering and through some amazing scenery.

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, National Park and Ohakune. 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, Makatote and Hapuawhenua Viaducts
  • 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.

Your heritage train will be taking you to one of our spectacular destinations; Taumarunui, National Park or Ohakune. Here, you will embark on your selected tour option, and enjoy two nights away in one of these amazing locations.

Discover Ruapehu in style on one of our unique heritage rail tours.

Timetable (subject to variation required by KiwiRail prior to departure)

Standard Timetable from September 2022
Outward - Fri

Auckland (Glenbrook) dep. 8.55am
Hamilton (Frankton)
dep. 10.55am
Taumarunui arr. 1.40pm
National Park
arr. 2.50pm
Ohakune arr. 3.40pm
Inward - Sun

Ohakune dep. 11.25am
National Park
dep. 12.10pm
Taumarunui dep. 1.10pm
Hamilton (Frankton)
arr. 3.40pm
Auckland (Glenbrook) dep. 5.40pm

Departure Locations


Pukekohe Station - CLOSED FROM SEPTEMBER 2022
Access is via Custom Street (off Manukau Road).
Free parking is available at the Pukekohe Station Park and Ride.
You can connect via AT Metro train services. Please see for timetable information.
Pukekohe Station is closing after our August Discover Ruapehu Rail Tour due to major redevelopment works by KiwiRail and Auckland Transport. From September, our Auckland terminus will be Glenbrook Station - an additional 5 minutes from the motorway at Drury.

Glenbrook Station
Access is via Glenbrook Station Road.
Free parking is available on site.


Frankton Station
Access is off Fraser Street (off Queens Ave). Free parking is available.

COVID-19 Information

My Vaccine Pass
GVR no longer requires that My Vaccine Passes are presented.
As this is a pre-booked allocated-seating tour, face coverings are strongly encouraged except when eating or drinking.
Contact Tracing
NZ COVID Tracer QR codes are on display in each carriage for you to scan. As all passengers are pre-booked on this tour we have your name, contact details, and seating location for use in Contact Tracing.
Cancellation Policy
This tour has been planned to be able to operate under all COVID-19 Traffic Light Settings - subject to regional travel being permitted.
In the event that the NZ Government or its agencies prevent the operation of this tour taking place due to COVID-19, refunds of fares paid (net of outgoings made from those fares) may be made by GVR upon written application being received from booked passengers.

Onboard Information

A good variety of hot and cold drinks, as well as snack and hot meals are available for purchase onboard.
Toilets are available in each carriage.
A viewing balcony is included on these trains.
Due to the heritage nature of our carriages, access for people with limited mobility is restricted - please email us at [email protected] to discuss your requirements.

See Terms and Conditions here