Christmas Grand Circle Rail Cruise

Travel with Steam Incorporated on this special pre-Christmas rail excursion for an easy and relaxing outing.

Sunday 6 December 2020

Perfect for an end of year celebration. We will circumnavigate the Tararuas in a clockwise direction. Plus an option of either visiting the Mauriceville Country Fair or a buffet lunch at the Wingate Lane Restaurant at Opaki (just north of Masterton).

The diesel train will run from Paekakariki picking up at stations to Palmerston North (Paraparaumu, Waikanae, Otaki, Levin) then travel through the spectacular Manawatu Gorge to Woodville before heading down the Wairarapa and passing through the iconic locations of Mangatainoka and Eketahuna.

Before arriving at Masterton stops will be made at Mauriceville and Opaki to allow you to visit either the Mauriceville Country Fair or the an Opaki Restaurant.  Later we travel through the 9 kilometre long Rimutaka Tunnel on the way to Wellington before heading up the west coast back to Paekakariki and dropping off at stations to Palmerston North.

The train will be hauled by one of our restored Da diesel locomotives 1410 or 1431 and comprise our fleet of classic red “steel” cars. There will be an open air viewing platform on the train. Also included is a buffet counter selling sandwiches, snacks and cold drinks and snacks. You are welcome to bring your own food on the train.

The Mauriceville Fair is held at the Clarke Memorial Domain. This is probably Wairarapa's most scenic reserve. This year will see the 21st Fair. Essentially a country fair, attractions include live musical performers, vintage cars and vintage machinery, Clydesdale horse and carriage rides, helicopter rides, children's magician, quick fire raffles and the usual huge variety of stalls selling crafts, food, and other country goodies. A bus will meet the train to transfer you a short distance to the fair. Later you will be bused to rejoin the train at Masterton.

Several other stops will be made during the day for photo opportunities and a leg stretch.

Adult train fare $159, Child $120.

You can board the train at Paekakariki, Paraparaumu, Waikanae, Otaki, Levin or Palmerston North in the morning. You will be returned to your boarding station in the evening.

Opaki Buffet Meal Option Cost $45
(Limited Nos)
The expected buffet menu is two chef served meats and hot sides, cake, and a tea /coffee station.  Later in the afternoon we will serve you a slice of delicious fruit Cheese Cake at your seat.

Early bookings advised!

Mauriceville Country Fair Cost Adult $10

Covers bus transfers from train to fair and from fair back to train. Adult $10. Child no charge. 


Book this adventure now!

Book online (external link) at or call us on 0800 783 264.

Get the full Christmas Grand Circle Rail Cruise timetable, conditions of travel and manual booking form.

Download a booking form [PDF, 482 KB].

Related information


Grand Circle Rail Cruise - See photos of past runs of the Grand Circle Rail Cruise. This excursion train circles the Tararuas in early December.

Frequently Asked Questions - Answers to some common questions from our travellers.