Press Release – KiwiRail
KiwiRail is reinstating the Otorohanga stop on its Northern Explorer train service between Auckland and Wellington for the tourism destination of Waitomo Caves. The Otorohanga (Waitomo) stop is being reintroduced on a “booked stop” basis for …
KiwiRail Adds Northern Explorer Stop for Waitomo
KiwiRail is reinstating the Otorohanga stop on its Northern Explorer train service between Auckland and Wellington for the tourism destination of Waitomo Caves. The Otorohanga (Waitomo) stop is being reintroduced on a “booked stop” basis for one or more passengers from Monday 10 December.
“KiwiRail is working closely with Destination Waitomo and Hamilton and Waikato Tourism to develop tourism packages so that passengers can book to get off at Otorohanga and explore the tourism attractions on offer in the Waitomo and Waikato region,” says KiwiRail’s General Manager of Passenger Services, Deborah Hume.
The Waitomo Scenic Escapes packages will include train fares, accommodation and attractions in one online transaction, and will be introduced in the New Year.
“Waitomo alone has in excess of 350,000 annual visitors, with around 5,000 a day in peak season; and the region also supports a number of high end tourist activities,” Ms Hume says.
When the Overlander was in service, the passenger demand for Otorohanga had been in decline for some years, with two people a day on average getting on or off the train at this stop. The new Northern Explorer schedule does not offer a return train departing Otorohanga on the same day, so there were some constraints that needed to be worked through before reinstating a stop at Otorohanga, says Ms Hume.
“That’s why we’ve reintroduced it on a booked stop basis. The stop will be made to pick up and drop off booked passengers. If there are no bookings, the train won’t stop.
“The new Northern Explorer service, which was launched in June this year, is geared towards both international and domestic tourists. We have always maintained that we are open to opportunities to increase tourism to various districts along the Northern Explorer train route.
“We certainly see Waitomo and the Waikato region as a great tourist destination and we are keen to work with Hamilton and Waikato Tourism, as well as other tourist organisations in the North Island, to help grow tourist numbers in the smaller regions. We are looking forward to launching our Scenic Escapes packages for the Otorohanga (Waitomo) stop and tapping into the potential for increasing tourism to the Waikato region,” Ms Hume says.