Up early to catch comuter train into Britomart station in Auckland where we transfer onto the Overlander bound for Paraparaumu.
"The Overlander is a journey through the heart of the North Island, travelling between Auckland - New Zealand's largest city and home of the Sky Tower, to Wellington - New Zealand's arts and culture capital. Along the way you pass the Central North Island ski towns of National Park and Ohakune, popular with young and old alike. You also see fantastic views of New Zealand farmland, the volcanic plateau, Mount Ruapehu, the world famous Raurimu Spiral, and stunning river gorges - all from our panoramic windows or open air viewing decks allowing you the best possible views. All carriages feature large panoramic windows giving sweeping views of the magnificent North Island. The Observation carriage includes a mix of seating including lounge style seating. The lounge style seating is arranged at the very rear of this glass backed carriage enabling you to enjoy a totally unique Overlander experience. "
Short walk from the station to Elliot's Motorlodge where we have booked in for the night. Our suite - complete with kitchenette - is so lovely I threaten to move in. The staff went well beyond the call of duty to make our stay comfortable.