NZ Lifestyle Magazine Group



It's difficult to imagine a time when puffs of black smoke signalled the arrival of friends, family or goods. These days, the region's historic railway serves a different purpose, reviving the once-modern carriages that trundled through Weka Pass. In the 1880s, workers hauled limestone and clay by hand, forming a path through dramatic rocks to allow passage from Waipara to Waiau. Passenger services were withdrawn in 1929, but locals rallied to preserve the local railway and in the 1980s, formed a society. Weka Pass' vintage red carriages run on an abridged round-trip route between Waipara and Waikari and combine vintage steam and diesel-electric locomotives. Choose between an openair or heated carriage — both offer panoramic views as the train trundles past olive groves, vineyards, rolling hills and dramatic limestone formations. The family-friendly trip takes just over an hour (one way) and, with free bicycle transport, is suitable for those who wish to cycle the route back. The train operates on Sundays, starting at Glenmark Station in Waipara or from Waikari Station, with departure times depending on the season. 0800 935 272, wekapassrailway.co.nz