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Flight to Palmerston North. Robot Dairy Farm. Northern Explorer Train ride. Silica Rapids walk. Gondola to the Pinnacles Cafe. Horopito Motors. Train Ride through the Raurimu Spiral.
Fly to Palmerston North to a Robotic Dairy Farm where the cows have been trained to milk themselves! Ride the Northern Explorer Train through the dramatic white cliffs of the Mangaweka Gorge through Taihape then on to Ohakune. Walk through Silica Rapids, including a swing bridge, native bush, boardwalks, glorious mountain views, volcanic rocks and orange river beds. Gondola ride Whakapapa Ski Resort with lunch at the Pinnacles Cafe. Visit Horopito Motors (est. 1940's). Train ride through the Raurimu Spiral, an engineering masterpiece on our way home.
Fly Auckland to Palmerston North and head straight out to a Robotic Dairy Farm. Hear how these farmers have trained their cows to milk themselves! …with the help of three Lely Astronaut A4 robots. You will have a chance to get up close to the cows, walk through paddocks and Lunch in ‘Poppa’s Shed’. Learn how the farm transitioned to robotics, animal health, grazing systems, feeding regime, plus breeding and calving. This will be great! We overnight at the Copthorne Palmerston North Hotel.
This morning we catch the Northern Explorer Train taking us through the dramatic white cliffs of the Mangaweka Gorge through Taihape then on to Ohakune, where Ron is waiting for us, with the SHIP n SHORE coach. We pay our respects at Tangiwhai before arriving at the Waiouru Army Museum for a Guided Tour of the unique collections of military artifacts, life-sized exhibits and the beautifully moving Tears on Greenstone. ‘Lest we Forget’. We stay two nights at the ‘Grand old Lady’ - Chateau Tongariro Hotel.
After Breakfast, join Ron and Karen on the nearby DOC (Easy Grade) optional, Silica Rapids Walk, including a swing bridge, native bush, boardwalks, glorious mountain views, volcanic rocks and orange river beds (40mins or 90 mins). At midday the Mountain Goat (shuttle) picks us up from our hotel and takes us up the mountain to Whakapapa Ski Resort to the Sky Waka (gondola). This ‘cabin’ can seat 10 people and has floor to ceiling windows, taking us up 1.8km to the Pinnacles Café 2,020m above sea level, making this the highest eatery in NZ. We are treated to jaw-dropping alpine views, with plenty of spring snow still around. The Pinnacles Café has a good selection of food for our lunch (buy individually to suit your taste). Glide, Sky Waka-style, back down the mountain and return to the Chateau mid-afternoon. Perfect timing if you choose to indulge in the Chateau’s famous ‘High Tea’?
Our last appointment in the area is at Horopito Motors - In the 1940s Bill Cole established a motor garage, repair shop and crash towing service. Bill’s philosophy was that when a car came into the yard it would be stripped of parts and whatever was not sold would just stay here. Nothing was scrapped, which explains the vast collection of parts that are here today from the 1920s through to today. You will be amazed! Then there’s time for Lunch at the National Park Railway Station Café before we board the Northern Explorer Train at 1.15pm. The biggest thrill about our homeward train journey is experiencing the Raurimu Spiral, a railway engineering masterpiece. There is a Buffet Car, on board, for Dinner. Completed in 1909 The Main Trunk Line takes us all the way back to Auckland Railway Station, where Ron will be waiting for us, in the SHIP n SHORE coach, at 6.50pm.