It is possible to catch a train from Auckland to Wellington. The Overlander train service is a scenic trip that travels through the centre of the North Island terminating when it reaches Wellington. A return trip from Auckland to Wellington will cost in the region of $130 with concessions and saver fares available. In Wellington there is a connection to the Coastal Connection which is a ferry/train service that connects Wellington to Kaikoura and Christchurch.
One of the best options if you enjoy travelling by train is The Scenic Rail Pass, which is a 14 day travel pass for any route and any number of journeys in the specified 14 day period. It will cost $699. There are also plans for 7 and 21 days as well as the Freedom Pass which covers 3-9 days travel within a 12 month period.
Trains heading north of Auckland are generally only for goods transportation, though once or twice a year there is a special trip where a train ride is arranged between Auckland and Whangarei.
The best and cheapest option for national travel using public transport is The Naked Bus with fares starting at $1, or if you’re in a hurry there are local airports in most large cities around New Zealand, so you can grab a flight with Air New Zealand, an example flight would be Auckland to Whangarei which takes around 35 minutes with fares ranging from $110 each way if you book in advance, up to around $250 each way if booking last minute. If heading to the bottom of the South Island, for example Queenstown or Dunedin, then the best option is to fly.
Auckland rail lines deliver passengers from the West, South and East of the city to the Britomart Station in the CBD. Tickets are checked and stamped by ticket guards in each carriage, and if you don’t yet have a ticket, you can also purchase them from the guard as they move through the carriage. Tickets can also be purchased in advance from ticket booths at the station. Multi-travel passes are popular and highly convenient, these can also be purchased in advance of travel or on the train from the guard. Unlike stations in some other countries, there is no requirement to pass through a ticket barrier before boarding the train. You can board a train without a ticket, but must purchase one from the guard before your journey is completed.
The Western Line begins in Helensville and travels through Waimauku, Huapai, Swanson, Henderson, New Lynn, Mt Albert, Kingsland and Newmarket West to the Britomart Station.
The Eastern Line begins in Pukekohe and travels through Papakura, Manurewa, Papatoetoe, Otahuhu, Westfield, Sylvia Park, Panmure, Glen Innes, Meadowbank and Orakei before ending at the Britomart Station.
The Southern Line follows the same tracks as the Eastern Line from Pukekohe to Westfield, then travels through Penrose, Ellerslie, Greenlane, Remuera and Newmarket South.
If you live and work close to a train station then train travel is very practical and much faster than taking a bus or car. Trains depart frequently — there are several options each hour. However, the majority of Aucklanders choose to drive their own cars.
One-way tickets cost a maximum of $10, with a discount for children and seniors. Discounted tickets can be purchased in groups of 10 and monthly passes are also available. Tickets can be purchased at Britomart and Papakura Stations, on the train and at designated agents throughout Auckland.
Maps, timetables and more can all be found at http://www.maxx.co.nz.