North Island New Zealand
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The Northern Explorer
If you have time to see more of New Zealand than from the car passenger window, then this train trip from Auckland's Britomart station to Wellington (or in reverse) is for you. It runs on alternate days from both centres and is one of KiwiRail's quintessential tourist trips. The journey is over 680kms long - taking 11 hours - and once out of the cities, you pass through rolling hills, cultivated farmland, small rural towns and the engineering masterpiece that is the Raurimu Spiral, where you can look back and see where you've been. A few years ago the carriages got a major revamp, and the train now has even bigger windows to appreciate the scenery from, famous 'railway pies' available on board to purchase and eat, and even extra comfortable chairs with legroom and power sockets. Make the most of the half-way stop at National Park - smack bang in the middle of the North Island - and go for a quick stroll down to the end of the road to see sheep grazing in front of Mt Ngāuruhoe.
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