Our guide to the Wellington Rail routes
Wellington joins Auckland as the only cities to have commuter trains connecting the city to the surburbs. Metlink operate the trains from central to the greater Wellington region. The capital is also the starting point for the Northern Explorer, a scenic rail journey across the North Island up to Auckland.
Hutt Valley Line
Upper Hutt to Wellington – 45 minute journey time. Stops include Petone. Departs every 30 minutes, after 8.00pm every hour.
Waikanae to Wellington – 60 minute journey time. Stops include Poirua and Kenepuru. Departs every 30 minutes, after 8.00pm hourly.
Masterton to Wellington – 1 hour 35 minute journey time. Stops include Carterton, Featherston, Upper Hutt and Petone. The service runs 5 times a day during the week (first one at 5.45am, last one at 3.40pm) and twice a day at weekends (first one at 7.50am, last one at 4.50pm). A trip from Wellington to Upper Hutt is 30 minutes.
Johnsonville to Wellington – 20 minute journey time. Departs every 30 minutes, after 7.30pm it’s hourly.
Melling to Wellington – 18 minute journey time. Stops include Petone.
Getting Beyond the City
The Capital Connection is a commuter train taking passengers between Wellington and Palmerston North. The 2 hour journey runs once a day, departing Palmerston North at 6.15am, arriving in Wellington at 8.20am. The return journey from Wellington departs at 5.15pm arriving into Palmerston North at 7.20pm. An adult fare one way fare costs $26.00, a child fare is $18.00. Stops include – Shannon, Levin, Otaki, Waikanae and Paraparaumu.
The Northern Explorer
The Northern Explorer train runs between Auckland and Wellington carrying passengers through the beautiful scenery of the Central North Island Island. The 681 kilometre (431 miles) route, travels through farmland, bush landscape and up the Raurimu Spiral to the volcanic plateau, where you will pass the trio of volcanoes of Mt Tongariro, Mt Ngauruhoe and Mt Ruapehu.
The train journey stops include Hamilton, Kuiti (enabling you to hop on the waiting shuttle bus which goes to Waitomo Caves), National Park where you’ve the opportunity to visit Mount Ruapehu and the Tongariro Alpine Crossing (Whakapapa village in the centre of Tongariro National Park is 7km away) and Palmerston North.
The Northern Explorer train departs from Auckland’s Strand station and Wellington’s Railway Station. The 10-hour trip departs from Auckland at 7.45am on Monday, Thursday and Saturday and from Wellington at 7.55am on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday. The train includes café & bar, observation carriage, viewing platform and reclining seats.
Wellington Train Operators