Explore Tongariro National Park, Nth Island, Wellington - TPW

Mike and Stephie
May 09, 2021

Enjoy a short break, breath-taking views of New Zealand’s Central Plateau and a slice of 1930s high-life at the Chateau. This exhilarating rail journey will leave you relaxed and recharged.

Departing from Wellington's magnificent 1930s station, your timeless journey starts aboard the Northern Explorer. Voyaging north along the rugged Kapiti Coast and across the vast plains of Manawatu, your destination is Tongariro National Park where the colossal peaks of Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe dominate the skyline. By mid-afternoon, you'll be relaxing in the historic Chateau Tongariro at the heart of National Park, a dual UNESCO World Heritage site, before a remarkable ride up the slopes of Ruapehu on the Sky Waka.


  • Morning tea and lunch on train on way to Tongariro
  • 1 night share twin accommodation at CHATEAU TONGARIRO
  • Buffet breakfast at CHATEAU TONGARIRO
  • Return transfers TRAIN, CHATEAU and MT RUAPEHU
  • Return ride on SKY WAKA GONDOLA
  • Dinner at THE RUAPEHU ROOM
  • Afternoon tea on train on return trip

Single rooms or room upgrades are available at a surcharge (subject to availability).


Dates: Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays weekly - on request. Minimum group size 2. Price $775 per person from June to October. $775 per person from November to May. Single supplement is + $387.


Leaving the sparkling skyscrapers of our modern capital behind, your journey begins northbound following one of New Zealand's oldest railways, the historic 1886 Wellington-Manawatu Railway. Within minutes of departing, intimate views begin to unfold as the railway skirts alongside the inlets and harbours of Porirua, before climbing up onto the cliffs with stunning views of Kapiti Island.

By late morning, you will have traversed the expansive agricultural plains of Manawatu and be starting a steady ascent on to the Central Plateau. At Mangaweka, a notable change in scenery begins with the Rangitikei River carving into the landscape to produce very distinctive steep white cliffs. A series of three viaducts in quick succession begins to raise the excitement as the Northern Explorer soars above the winding river and its tributaries.

With midday approaching, Ruapehu's magnificent peak will begin to peer over the hills in the north, glistening with snow for much of the year. Take lunch while watching the scenery transform from hilly meadows into tussocked wetlands as you skirt the edges of the Rangipo Desert and enter the foothills of Ruapehu.

After lunch, head outdoors to the Open-air Carriage for the climax of this magnificent journey. Winding clockwise around the foothills of Mount Ruapehu, you'll enjoy volcanic views and three more incredible viaducts - including the unmistakable curved Hapuawhenua Viaduct, before pulling into National Park station.

As you step off the train at National Park, where the stunning volcanoes of Tongariro, Ngauruhoe, and Ruapehu dominate the landscape, one of our hosts will meet you and transfer you to the magnificent Chateau Tongariro.

After checking-in to your room at the Chateau Tongariro, you’ll be able to relax and enjoy the stately environment of New Zealand's most historic and iconic hotel. Take a swim in the plunge pool, play snooker in the Ruapehu Lounge, relax by the fire, or take a stroll to the nearby waterfalls.

As dusk approaches, you'll enjoy a breath-taking ride aboard the Sky Waka to the Knoll Ridge Chalet. Nestled high in mountainous terrain, 2,020m above sea-level, you can take in the rugged splendour of the Pinnacles and valley below while enjoying a coffee or drink from the bar, if you choose.

You'll then return to the Chateau for an unforgettable dining experience within the Chateau’s ostentatious 1930s dining room, the Ruapehu Room. There you will relax while enjoying a delectable three-course dinner in the glow of shimmering chandeliers. Choose the chef’s signature chateaubriand, New Zealand beef, lamb or salmon for an authentic slice of New Zealand heritage.

In the morning, you will return to the Ruapehu Room for an indulgent buffet breakfast. Afterwards, you’ll have time to take a long walk or relax in the pool, or simply retire to the Ruapehu lounge for morning tea while gazing out over the stunning volcanic peak of Ngauruhoe.

FREE OPTIONAL ACTIVITY: One of the best activities in National Park is walking. From the Chateau Tongariro, the Taranaki Falls loop is a simple 6km walk that takes a leisurely 1 to 1.5 hours. The track is well maintained, with gravel pathways, wooden walkways and stairs. So bring some casual shoes, a jacket and suncream, and you'll be set to go. If 6km feels a bit far, then you don't need to walk far beyond the car park to be immersed in native bush and stunning views of the volcanic plateau.

By early afternoon, you will be reclining back aboard the Northern Explorer as you return to Wellington. With beautiful rural scenes rolling past your window, you’ll relax with Afternoon Tea, while reflecting on a memorable couple of days.

Your 4 star accommodation at Chateau Tongariro
Surrounded by the sacred peaks of Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe and Tongariro, Chateau Tongariro Hotel exudes a timeless elegance deeply rooted in New Zealand’s heritage. Occupying a prime spot in Tongariro National Park, the hotel honours the gracious gift of tribal land to the people of New Zealand in 1887. Here you can soak up mountain views and classic 1930s atmosphere in their welcoming Ruapehu Lounge, savouring High Tea and classic cocktails around the crackling fire or spend some time relaxing in their inviting plunge pool and sauna. Within the main hotel, the Ruapehu Room serves a lavish breakfast buffet that will set you up for the day.

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