For us, travel is about exploring new opportunities and engaging with each family member’s interests. Our transport loving guy has toured in a fire truck, both on the Gold Coast and in San Francisco, he’s glided along on an old sugar cane track on an electric-assist bike in Fiji with Ecotrax and when in Rotorua he went Rail Cruising in a self-drive rail car with Mamaku Express Rail Cruising Experience. And the smile didn’t leave his face.
RAIL CRUISING ROTORUA
I’d never heard of RailCruising but we were certainly keen to give it a go. It proved a relaxing way to enjoy the countryside and all of us enjoyed the novelty value of riding in a self-drive RailCruiser.
The railway was the heart of a native forestry mecca that thrived in Mamaku for many years from the turn of the century through to the 1970’s. Closed to regular passenger trains back in 2001 the railway waited 10 years before it was reinvigorated in 2011.
The RailCruising journey of 19 kms between Mamaku and Tarukenga Railway Stations holds the title of being a world first.
BJ was delighted with our afternoon activity and was eager to get into the rail car. The silence of our surrounds was only broken by the clickety-clack of the RailCruiser on the tracks and the giggling of the two pictured above. Many a smiling selfie was taken during the ride.
Ever changing scenery and the audio tour kept us entertained as we cruised along at a leisurely 20km per hour.
At Tarukenga our RailCruiser was turned around by staff for us to head back to Mamaku.
We had a drizzly start to our ride, and although this is an all weather activity I’d suggest keeping it for a fine day. It was lovely when the drizzle cleared and we could put up the plastic flaps on the side and enjoy the views and fresh air. Heating is provided in cooler weather.
RAIL CRUISING ACCESSIBILITY
This experience requires participants to be able to transfer from a wheelchair and step into the vehicle. There’s quite a high side to the vehicles so we chose to use the portable stairs available from RailCruising.
Each RailCruiser can carry up to 4 adults, or 2 adults and 2-3 children (depending on size/age of children).
A gentle ramp leads visitors to the rail cars.
Accessible bathrooms are available but it should be noted they are not as spacious as a standard accessible bathroom stall.
BJ had a fantastic day and absolutely loved RailCruising. We did this as a day trip from Taupo and combined RailCruising with a visit to Hell’s Gate’s thermal mud pools and Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland.
You can read more about about RailCruising on their website.
Make sure you go to New Zealand armed with our general accessibility tips and information which you can read about here.