Seven easy ways to improve the Northern Explorer booking experience

Published on 28/04/2022 at 5:10 pm.

An article by one of our supporters.

I'm delighted that Kiwirail has started up some inter-regional trains again. A huge thank you to Save our Trains for their campaign on this.

However, it’s not easy to book a ticket (even ignoring the cost). Here are some simple changes Kiwirail/Great Journeys /Scenic NZ could make.

1.   Add a price list to the website, showing the price from any station to any other station.

2.   Let people know if advance that there is 2% credit card booking fee. Not nice to find that out at the checkout. Fortunately, there was an internet banking option that was easy to use.

3.  Show how many seats are available on the train, and how many have been booked.

4.  Show multiple days availability. Currently you can only see one selected date. You can then press “previous day” or “next day”. If you do, Kiwirail helpfully informs you that there are no trains that day.

5.  Put New Zealand at the top of the list of the passenger “country of residence” choice.

6. Give the promised 10% discount when entering a partner code.

7. Put the price paid per person on the actual ticket issued as well as the total price.

Here is the timetable.

Trains start on  24 September 2022, although it is possible to choose some dates 28 April - 2 May. They are marked as “sold out”. Maybe it’s a test or training run?


As Kiwirail won’t tell you the fares, we will.

Wellington-Auckland or Auckland-Wellington is $219 per adult (age 15 plus) and $153 per child (2-14 years) infants are free.

Wellington – National Park $129 adult, $90 child

Ohakune - Auckland $129 adult, $90 child

Palmerston North – Hamilton $129 adult, $90 child

Based on some sampling of fares in September/October 2022. (sampled 27-28 April 22)

Looking forward to my trip - only 5 months till the trains start rolling!

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