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Trip to New Zealand


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Alan Wood 426/08/2019 11:52:40
135 forum posts
5 photos

We are booked to visit NZ (North and South) later in the year and would appreciate comments / recommendations from any readers in country. Particularly interested in locations with an engineering bias, model rail etc

Rather than clog the forum please contact via PM.



John Olsen27/08/2019 04:11:41
1012 forum posts
86 photos
1 articles

Since other people might also be interested here are a few suggestions:

Most cities have a model railway club with a track.

Auckland has the Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT) which has a beam pumping engine and plenty of other stuff to see from trams to aircraft.

Glenbrook Vintage Railway is not far out of Auckland, they have their own dedicated branch line and run steam locos. Would pay to check when they run first.

Whanganui has a working river paddle steamer, the Waimarie. Again it would pay to check when they run.

There is a good steam museum at Tokomaru near Palmerston North, however it has only just been bought by new owners and I am not sure what the situation is with visiting yet.

Near Christchurch there are two places, Ferrymead heritage park and Mcleans island "Steam Scene." I haven't been to either for a long time but I believe they are both worth a look.

At Ashburton there is the Plains railway, they have a beautiful Rogers 2-4-2 of 1877 vintage among other things.

There is a gas works museum in Dunedin.

On Lake Wanaka is the twin screw steamer Earnslaw, well worth a trip both for the scenery and the ship. The Earnslaw runs daily.

I don't know how you plan to travel within NZ, but many tourist find that a self contained campervan is a good way to go. Being a relatively sparsely populated country, public transport is not all that prolific although there are plenty of flights between the main centres. I think sometimes people book two separate campervans, one in each island, since it saves the cost of crossing the strait with one. We drive on the left here, same as the UK. Apart from near the cities, there is very little motorway and most main roads are only one lane each way. You generally don't need to plan to drive very far in any one day.



Nimble27/08/2019 05:22:32
33 forum posts

Alan ,

Another couple of possibilities are the Driving Creek railway in Coromandel. This is a small gauge electric loco that was originally used for carting mined clay for a potters collective. But has been lengthened to include several causeways bridges and a tunnel which takes you up to the "Eyeful Tower" a magnificent look out over the forest and surrounds of Coromandel **LINK** To get there you would need to go through Thames An old mining town and up until recently a lot of Heavy engineering.

Also a possibility is The Northern Explorer a sightseeing train from Auckland to Wellington(or V/V) that passes through the volcanic plateau and which passes over the "Raurimu Spiral"where the railway passes through a series of tunnels, viaducts and bridges to enable a great height change yet maintain gradiemts suitable for railway A great feat of engineering design and build. **LINK** If travelling by road there is a roadside model that can be viewed.


Grotto27/08/2019 09:00:07
124 forum posts
71 photos

If you’re in Auckland, the model engineering society have a rail track they run weekends. Visitors are welcome at their meetings. I'm not a member but have been along a couple of times, nice guys, & interesting speakers at their meetings.


Ian S C27/08/2019 12:10:15
7468 forum posts
230 photos

Christchurch: Steam Scene, and Ferrymede and the Airforce museum, the later do the full restoration hanger tour, And have a go on the Mosquito flight simulator, it was tuned by ex mosquito pilots to be as near to the real thing as possible without actually flying. Ferrymede are actualy rebuilding a Mossie for static display along with a Hudson bomber ans a F27 Friendship. Both the museums at Ashburton are worth a visit. While you are in Wellington, go see Weta Workshops. I,m not sure of the status of the two WW1 exhibits, but if either is open go to it.

While your in Canterbury, think about taking a day trip on the Trans Alpine rail trip, it's not cheap(you may think you just bought the train, Ideal trip is road one way, and rail the other, 9am the train goes west about 100M from my place, and about 6pm it comes back, it carries on another 40K to Christchurch.Considered one of the top train trips in the world.

Ian S C

Alan Wood 427/08/2019 13:52:55
135 forum posts
5 photos

Thanks to everyone who has posted and sent PMs all of which are very much appreciated and the sort of info that we were looking for (the royal 'we' there but perhaps slightly dissimilar aims and interests for the trip).


Niloch28/08/2019 13:41:03
371 forum posts

Are you a tree person Alan? The royal 'we' will travel miles or even kilometers to see a huge or old tree. I have been fortunate to see Sequoias and Bristle Cone Pines and, of course, Wellingtonia Avenue is not very distant from us both but they are quite young and not the Gigantea variety. However in NZ, seek out a Kauri tree, e.g. Kauri Museum

They are awesome as our American friends would say. I shall be very disappointed if you come back to ADMES not having given one a hug. You might have to be banished to Llangernyw.

Enjoy your trip. He of the Starrett hat.

Roderick Jenkins28/08/2019 16:11:43
1823 forum posts
463 photos

We really enjoyed the Kauri museum. There is quite a bit of engineering interest

log hauler 3.jpg


Niloch28/08/2019 16:42:29
371 forum posts


That looks like a horizontally boilered version of the vertically boilered American Dolbeer to me, even down to the skids upon which it is mounted.

Jed Martens28/08/2019 20:23:12
65 forum posts
42 photos

I'm from NZ originally, but having lived in Scotland for ~20 years any advice I can give is out of date. I also had no interest in engineering/machining when I left, so there could well be a lot of stuff I never noticed. I don't think I ever used a train until I moved to the UK. Cars rule in NZ.

I'm from the Far North, so if you head up that way, one thing that springs to mind is the Bay of Islands Vintage Railway, opened in 1868 according to Wikipedia...


The line runs straight down the middle of the main street of Kawakawa, which is about all the town is known for. The nearby towns of Paihia and Kerikeri are pleasant and have plenty of tourist facilities.

I second Niloch's advice, Kauri trees are fantastic. The largest of them all is not far from the Bay of Islands...


The Far North remains one of NZ's poorest regions, but if you want to get off the beaten track it has plenty to offer. PM me if you'd like specific recommendations.


Ian S C30/08/2019 12:44:03
7468 forum posts
230 photos

In the far north I remember Clapam's Clocks(C or K?) when on holiday up there early 1960s.

Ian S C

Ian S C19/09/2019 10:35:24
7468 forum posts
230 photos

There is a new bit of red tape being advertised for people coming into the country it's called NZETA, New zealand Electronic Travel Authority, your travel agent will know what is required, if you get it wronge they might not let you go home. Welcome to NZ. Ian S C

Edited By Ian S C on 19/09/2019 10:41:15

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