Welcome to the Bay of Islands Vintage Railway

The Bay of Islands Vintage Railway Trust is a heritage railway in Kawakawa, in the Bay of Islands region of the Far North, New Zealand, and also the home to the world famous Hundertwasser toilets.


The Bay of Islands Vintage Railway is unique as it is the only working railway in New Zealand where the trains travel down a State Highway and right through the middle of a busy town.



Trains are scheduled to run on Friday, Saturdays and Sundays every weekend, all through the year. These all depart for return trips from Kawakawa Railway Station at 10am, 12 noon, 2pm for a 1½ hour return trip. Trains stop at Taumarere Railway Station, before going over Long Bridge to Lone Cow Station in the Te Akeake area located at the halfway point between Kawakawa to Opua. There is no need to book, but please arrive about 15 minutes before the train departs to allow time to purchase tickets. Thank you.


The railway section between Taumarere – Lone Cow/Te Akeake provides a temporary link to join the Pou Herenga Tai Twin Coast Cycleway. It takes about 1½ hours to return to Kawakawa – see “What’s Happening” for the latest daily information, and timetable and fares for more detailed information. Outside the timetabled trains we can arrange a Special Excursion – please contact us about this. Cyclists are advised to check cycleway trail information for the latest announcements about the condition of tracks due to recent weather and flooding.


The Bay of Islands Vintage Railway is a volunteer-run, not-for-profit charity, and the most northerly railway in New Zealand. It is of significant historical and cultural importance. The railway at Kawakawa was the North Island’s first railway to be opened and the first steam loco in North Island also ran the first rail passenger train in New Zealand. It is now celebrating over 150 years of Rail on the North Island.

The station in Kawakawa was built in 1911 to replace the first that had been destroyed by fire and is recognised by the Rail Heritage Trust and Far North District Council as being of heritage significance.

Today the railway operates on a section of the former Opua track and offers vintage train rides to visitors using diesel locomotives as far as the Long Bridge – the longest curved wooden bridge in the Southern Hemisphere.

Enjoy a ride through scenic countryside for a unique experience and a great family day out whatever the weather!

Please note: our star attraction Gabriel, built in 1927, is a fine example of a working steam engine and the only one of her class left in the world is, unfortunately, unable to run until her new boiler is fitted, so vintage diesel engines haul all our trains. Gabriel’s boiler has now arrived, and BOIVR is grateful for the PGF grant which has enabled us to buy this replacement. She is undergoing tests in order to haul passenger trains again – check “What’s Happening” for the latest news!

See our “What’s Happening” page for the latest updates.





Part of the Twin Coast Cycle Trail runs next to the live track between Kawakawa and Taumarere. Up to and including 12th February 2023, trains are linking the gap in the Cycleway between Taumarere and Lone Cow / Te Akeake Station (the halfway point between Kawakawa and Opua). The Cycleway continues temporarily on top of our line for the remainder of the distance to Opua. More info . . .