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 will be running as follows this weekend: Friday 25th November 10.45am and 12.30pm only (2.30pm not running); Saturday and Sunday (26th/27th) 10.45am, 12.30pm and 2.30pm – see “What’s Happening” for the latest daily information, and timetable and fares for more information. Outside the timetabled trains we can arrange a Special Excursion – please contact us about this.


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.

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, then temporarily on top of our line for the remainder of the distance to Opua. More info . . .