Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Northern Explorer

Do you want to see high bridges?  Spiral tunnels?  Volcanic mountains?  Seaside cliffs?  Sandstone cliffs?  River gorges?  Picturesque farms and ranches?

Of course, you do!

The Northern Explorer is way to go.  It winds it's way from Wellington to Auckland up and over the spine of the northern island.  It uses the same equipment as the TransAlpine.  Nice, new coaches, cafe car and open air sightseer.  Hardly a dull moment along the way.

Ready to depart Wellington

Coach with glass in roof.

Sightseer car

Rolling out of Wellington

Passing morning commuter train inbound

Tasman Sea

Headed north along the sea

Passing one of many freight trains

New Zealand farmland


Seeing sights

Railfan fun

Lots of curves

Former sand dunes now sandstone cliffs

Our neighbor across the aisle

Most of the route from Wellington to Auckland is electrified.  There are a couple of gaps, still, so our train was diesel powered.  On 2300 HP locomotive was more than enough to hold 62 mph track speed.


Red deer ranching
Station on southern edge of Tongariro National Park.

Volcanoes in the park

Station stop within the park

Tongariro National Park

Entering Raurimu Spiral Tunnel

A meet near the bottom of the grade

Electric locomotive waiting for us to pass

Rural late Fall scene

Hills and pastureland

A babbling brook?
Last major town before suburban Auckland

Edge of the the commuter train district - Papakura

Strand Station, Auckland.
This tiny, temporary station is the last stop while the new rail tunnel is being built at Britomart station
This concludes the hour trip.

Next up:  Dan jumps off perfectly good bridge.


  1. Each set of photos is better than the sets before it. Does it ever stop?

  2. I never rode from Auckland to Wellington, but after reading about your trip and seeing the pictures, it is on my list for my next trip to Australia and New Zealand.

    The Aussies and Kiwis take so much better care of their countries than the U.S. I don't remember seeing trash along the highways and railways that is so common in the U.S.

    I just got back from taking the Texas Eagle from Dallas to San Antonio. On some stretches of the route, especially south of Fort Worth, one has the feeling of traveling through a garbage dump.


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