Gisborne Steam Train Offers Memorable Rail Journey

By Bryan Dearsley


LuxuryGisborne takes a fun ride aboard the wonderful WA 165 historic steam train


There’s little doubt that the impeccably restored Gisborne steam train – officially known as Steam Train WA 165 – has won the hearts of both locals and visitors to this beautiful corner of New Zealand’s North Island. Built in 1896 and used for decades in Gisborne, the engine is in fact the only survivor of its type still in use in the country.

Operating as Gisborne City Vintage Railway, this top-rated tourist attraction started carrying passengers again in October 2000 and his since gone on to become one of the most popular things to do in the area. Pulling three carefully restored vintage carriages, WA 165 offers a variety of fun travel experiences, most starting at Gisborne Railway Station on Grey Street.


The Gisborne steam train chugging along the tracks
Built in 1896, WA 165 was used for decades in Gisborne


Running from the end of October through to mid-May each year with a departure time of 1pm, excursions head from the station for a delightful scene trip around Poverty Bay to Muriwai and Young Nick's Head. Costing $30 for adults and $12 for kids (family packages are also available), it’s a beautiful two-hour journey that should definitely be included on your Gisborne travel itinerary.


The Gisborne Steam Train Experience


Trains also operate on occasion from Gisborne wharf, making it extremely popular for those visiting via cruise ship. And for those wanting a truly memorable experience, consider a private charter of this wonderful 120-plus year-old steam train for a special occasion or celebration.


The Gisborne steam train crossing Poverty Bay bridge
The spectacular journey includes a water crossing 


Also available from time-to-time is the popular beach loop option. Starting at Gisborne Railway Station, the journey heads south and crossed Gisborne Airport’s runaway – itself a one-of-a-kind experience – before heading further inland, taking in spectacular views along the way. And bring a picnic, as the train stops long enough for passengers to disembark and enjoy the views over lunch.

For ticket information and other details, visit the Gisborne City Vintage Railway website at Tickets can also be purchased from the Gisborne i-SITE! Visitor Centre at 209 Grey Street, Gisborne New Zealand.

Enjoy your Gisborne steam train adventure!




Bryan Dearsley is Editor-in-chief at Riley Media. You can send him an email at [email protected].