On leaving Paeroa we headed south via Te Aroha and the outskirts of Matamata before turning onto SH 5 which took us to Ngongataha. We were heading for the newest NZMCA Park which was opened the previous day. Would there be room for our 3 vehicles? No problem, we chose 3 spots overlooking Lake Rotorua. Derek wandered off and took this photo of a model engine at the Rotorua Ngongotaha Miniature Railway.
We had booked tickets earlier in the week for the self-drive rail cars at Mamaku. Similar to the trip we did a couple of years ago while travelling through the Forgotten Highway. We went from Whangamomona railway station to taking the moth balled line towards Taumarunui.
With a distance of 19kms return we departed Mamaku Station before turning around at Tarukenga Station for the return journey. Travelling through the beautiful Dansey Scenic Reserve on the steep 1:35 gradient railway.
Out from the cutting we see stunning lake views and rolling farmland. The Rail Cruiser is the world’s first fully automated petrol-electric four seater self drive hybrid rail vehicle. We travelled along in 5 rail cruisers 250 metres apart. On reaching Tarukenga station they are turned and ready for the return journey.
Cruising along at 20kms/h listening to an audio (which unfortunately was breaking up in our car and we missed a lot of the commentary) was very peaceful.
The Rotorua Railway was originally planned in 1877 to take tourists to the Pink and White Terraces. Known then as the 8th wonder of the world. The line was uncompleted in 1886 when the eruption of Mt Tarawera destroyed the terraces. It was nearly 20 years before the line was then completed. It has been unused for the last 13 years before the Railcruising Experience has once again carried tourists since November 2011.