We spent Friday and Saturday travelling by train on KiwiRail Scenic Journeys. It was a fantastic little getaway and I recommend travelling by train to anyone who wants to see New Zealand. The crew took very good care of the passengers, even making sure that taxis were waiting for those who needed them when they disembarked. You can take your own food or buy it on the way. The windows are quite large so you can take in the scenery. In addition, there is an open car for those who are brave and/or want to take photos.
In addition to the fabulous scenery, there is audio commentary with some interesting history and facts about the railway and some of the areas through which the train passes if you want to hear it. I learned that Alexander Graham Bell came to New Zealand and married a Maori lady. You can google it to learn more.
Friday's travels took us from Palmerston North up to Hamilton where we spent the night and then headed back on Saturday.
It took about 6 hours to leisurely travel the 390 or so driving kilometers and that was the perfect amount of time for us before we were ready to get off the train.
Of course, no driving made it stress-free and we saw scenery that we would have not seen by driving. You can click here if you are interested in the railway system.
Being the middle of winter, there was a lot of water rushing everywhere and the hillsides were fabulously green (with lots of brown mud from the rain).
The original railway made lots of little towns pop up along the way--some for workers, some for suppliers. Most are, sadly now, gone and only a few buildings remain. Other towns rebranded themselves and continue to thrive today.
I will be posting photos on my photoblog soon. You can click here to see them.