Destination view


Considered the gateway to the Bay of Islands this small town is known affectionately as 'train town' for the train line running through the centre of the town, the reason being Kawakawa was once a distribution hub for local coal mines.
A rather strange attraction to add to anyone's itinerary are the public toilets. This is the only building in the southern hemisphere designed by the famed Austrian artist Frederick Hundertwasser. About 5 km south are the Kawiti glow-worm caves at Waiomio.

Bay of Islands Vintage Railway

Bay of Islands Vintage Railway

The Bay of Islands Vintage Railway Trust is a heritage Steam railway in Kawakawa, home of the world-famous Hundertwasser toilets, in the Bay of Islands region of Northland, New Zealand. The railway at Kawakawa was the North Island’s first railway to be opened and the first to run a rail passenger service in the North Island. The Bay of Islands Vintage Railway is unique in the world as it is the only working railway in the world where the trains travel down the middle of a State Highway and right through the middle of the town. The star attraction Gabriel, built-in 1927 is a fine example of a working steam engine and is the only one in her class left in the world. Today the railway operates on part of the former Opua track and offers train rides to visitors using both steam and diesel locomotives. See a working vintage steam engine and enjoy a ride through scenic countryside for a unique experience and a great family day out!

New Zealand Touring Styles

A popular style of touring is to take a preplanned self drive road trip.  After a thorough consultation with you we expertly plan and create your self drive tour around New Zealand. These tours allow you the freedom to explore at leisure with the comfort and security of pre-booked activities and accommodations. Route suggestions, APP guidance plus local support mean your New Zealand vacation is in safe hands. See self drive ideas here

If you prefer to let someone else do the work then an escorted small group tour might be for you. Our sister company at New Zealanbd Coach has a range of hand picked small group itineraries are ideal if you prefer to travel in the company of like minded people. Tours are limited to a certain number of participants which means different accommodation options, exclusive activities and of course a knowledgeable guide ensures you get to see the best of New Zealand. See small group tours here. 

A private guided tour offers true flexibility and the security of a knowledgeable local guiding you all the way. Well planned itineraries ensure you see exactly what you want to see but with your own driver-guide you can adapt to suit the day or your preference. 100% tailor-made to suit you a private tour is a great option when travelling as a small group. All our self drive itineraries can be replanned and priced using a private driver and guide, so if it is what you fancy just contact us to discuss.

All North Island touring ideas - See here to explore the diverse North Island - itinerary suggestions.

All South Island touring ideas - Iconic scenery and landscapes await on this made for touring island. See itinerary suggestions

All Nationwide touring ideas - See the best of New Zealand on these all encompassing touring itinerary ideas

Read our blogs on New Zealand travel