About Us

Our Story

Development of RailCruising on the Rotorua Railway started in mid-2009 by Neil and Jane Oppatt. It was then taken over by Aidan Ashmore and Helen Nicholls in April 2024. And now the once forgotten Rotorua Railway has been transformed into a functioning railway.

The Rotorua Railway was closed as a normal passenger railway in October 2001 with the first commercial RailCruising excursion undertaken 10 years later in November 2011. A world first, the RailCruising
excursions operate between Ngongotaha and Mamaku Railway Stations, offering different options of journeys over the 13.3k km of rail track.

The Railway offers gentle curves and steep climbs with beautiful lake views and goes into the heart of a 14 native forest scenery. It carries with it the heritage of past generations who built and lived their lives on
the commerce of the rail: tourist operators; loggers; haulers; millers and foresters of all sorts. The Railway was the heart of a native forestry mecca that thrived in Mamaku for many years from the turn of the
century through into the 1970’s.

Ngongotaha Station

Unfortunately the Rotorua Railway over the years had slowly seen all its stations, workshops and platforms removed. This meant that to be able to cater for large numbers of customers arriving at the railway to undertake RailCruising excursions, station facilities and vehicle storage sheds had to be built.

Ngongotaha Station is our newest station to open and is only a 10 minute drive from Rotorua. Although not the site of the original Ngongotaha Station (due to the main road that is in between), we offer a variety of tour options from shorter and longer return trips to suit your availability.

Mamaku Railway Station

Mamaku Railway Station is a unique log cabin that was once used in a well known TV series.  It was also the original base for RailCrusiing operations.

Mamaku Railway Station is based at Mamaku, a 20 minute drive from Rotorua. This section of track between Mamaku and Tarukenga provides excellent scenic experience and has no road crossings.

RAILCRUSING EXCURSIONS

RailCruising excursions depart from both Mamaku Railway Station and Ngongotaha Station.    Ngongotaha Station is the departure point for the 1 hour RailCruising Excursion west to Tarukenga and back. Longer journeys to Mamaku Railway Station also depart from this point. Mamaku Railway Station is the departure point for the 1.5 hour RailCruising Excursion east to Tarukenga and back. It is also the base for track maintenance operation on the Railway.