Takin’ the Train
From Wellington I headed north to Tongariro National Park…pics of which you’ve already seen because, well, it’s just more interesting, now isn’t it? 🙂 This was the first time I got to take the train here in NZ and I was charmed: the rail is all narrow-gauge, so the trains are a bit narrower to begin with than in Europe or other places I’ve gone by train. But one must also remember it’s NZ: and this often means many things, among them small, well-done, friendly, generally adorable and wonderful, and without a lot of choice often. There are, by my count, six long-distance passenger trains per day in NZ: one northbound and one southbound between Wellington & Auckland (The Overlander, pictured above in Ohakune Station on the southern edge of Tongariro Nat Park) — this one has four passenger cars, one of which includes the cafe/bar car, as well as an engine and a baggage car. The northbound and southbound crews switch trains at the midpoint, usually at or near National Park (a town that exists for the train, and where I stayed during my lovely Tongariro journey), which allows them to be home for the end of the day. How adorable is that!? Other long-distance trains: between Picton & Christchurch, covering the northern half of east coast of South Island; and between Christchurch & Greymouth, diagonally across some of the mountains on South Island. I assume those, also, go once each day, but I don’t know. I recommend train travel in NZ: it’s friendly and though it covers only a small part of the country, it’s comfy and gives great views. Some of these are below…please pardon the occasional window glare.