My last full day in New Zealand and the number one thing on my list when I was planning this trip. The train from Auckland to Wellington. 12 hours on the train. Taking the train is one of my favourite things to do so this is a real treat. I have a bag of snacks, money for coffee, my camera and a newly wound ball of yarn and pair of needles. All I need for 1 day watching the world unfold outside my window.
The train departs from the Britomart Station in Auckland. Suitcases are checked into the luggage coach and there is room under the seats to stow hand luggage. All of the seats face the direction of travel so no getting queasy spending 12 hours facing the wrong way.
A last glimpse of the Sky Tower.
It's early when we set off (7.25am) so the sky is still quite dark.
A cluster of bee hives on the hill. There are lots of them along the tracks up here just outside of Auckland.
For a country famous for sheep, there are a lot of cows!
Even as the day goes on the sky doesn't lighten much, the blanket of cloud hiding the tops of hills.
From lush undergrowth - unlike anything alongside a BR track
to the more familiar sight of a junk yard.
The train tracks and road run parallel for stretches.
The track snakes backward and forward as we climb the Raurimu Spiral - a 221m climb in less than 6 kilometers.
North to Auckland.
We stopped here for half an hour at lunch time. The northbound train was running late so we carried on southward and would rendezvous with them later (the crews should have swapped trains here, so everyone finishes their shift in the same city they started!)
South to Wellington.
South of National Park we start to cross the Rangitikei gorge on a series of viaducts.
This is the old crossing point for the railway, a newer viaduct has been built which we are travelling on.
Snow on Mount Ruapehu, an active volcano.
Some sheep at last!
I think there was some kind of rugby tournament here!
This chap comes and waves at the train everyday.
There were some really beautiful old buildings near the tracks, paint weathering gently.
More sheep, running away from the train again.
Getting towards the end of the journey there were more signs of civilisation.
As we got closer to Wellington we ran along the coast for a little while.