The Northern Explorer is New Zealand’s longest running passenger service, making a roughly 420-mile-long journey in approximately 11 hours. Along the way, the train passes through Tongariro National Park, offering riders an endless array of scenic views.
But, the real highlight may be the Hapuawhenua Viaduct, a massive concrete structure situated north of Ōhakune and south of National Park. It replaced an earlier viaduct that opened in 1908 or 1909.
While the train has the standard coach cars with reserved seating, the best view is from the open-air viewing car.
Todd DeFeo loves to travel anywhere, anytime, taking pictures and notes. An award-winning reporter, Todd revels in the experience and the fact that every place has a story to tell. He is the owner of The DeFeo Groupe and also edits Express Telegraph and Railfanning.org.
For many, the tiny South Island town of Picton is nothing more than the endpoint of the ferry, but be sure to take a moment to enjoy the town’s offerings before simply passing through on any Kiwi escapade.