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“Not really worth the detour, unless you are a train buff” 3 of 5 bubbles
Review of The Bay of Isands Vintage Railway

The Bay of Isands Vintage Railway
Ranked #2 of 8 things to do in Kawakawa
Attraction details
Northern Rivers NSW, 2480 Australia
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Not really worth the detour, unless you are a train buff”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 7, 2014 via mobile

We visited Kawakawa with the sole purpose of taking the kids (3&6) on the steam train through town. On the day we went it wasnt running, so instead we took our journey on the diesel (they operate on alternate days), which was fine. We had a guide giving us facts and jokes along the way, which became slightly repeatative. Journey down the main road was realitively short before heading into the countryside and to the railway bridge (under renovation) and old station (which contains posters with info about its history). For the cost (around $50 for 3 of us and 3 year old free) I wouldn't recommend making the stop - but if you have a little Thomas the Tank Engine enthusiast it might be worth a look.

Visited May 2014
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2 Thank Bryerh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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47 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
388 reviews
254 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 121 helpful votes
“Worth a ride”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 22, 2014

Steam and diesel trains on alternate days, this railway has three claims to fame. The first railway in the North Island NZ, one of the few trains that still go down the main street of the town, and the longest trestle viaduct in the southern hemisphere. All this and more, the volunteer guard will tell you on your trip. Look out for the Lavatree!

Visited January 2014
Helpful?
3 Thank rogerrobert98
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Paihia, New Zealand
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Fun Time in Kawakawa”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 23, 2014

A great way to spend an hour during your visit to Kawakawa. Step back in time as you enter the railway station Gabriel in standing at the platform whistle blowing her tanks afe full and her firebox is burning, she is waiting for you to board. As she chuffs her way through the main shopping street everyone while everyone is going about their business. Very soon you will be in open countryside. An neat thing to do is to take a picnic and enjoy the half way turnaround station, joining the train again on the next trip.

Visited February 2014
Helpful?
2 Thank RodH46
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Paihia, New Zealand
Level Contributor
19 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Trains - memory lane or new experience”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 21, 2014

I took my grandson on the train, not something kids get to do everyday, that is travel on an old steam train. My grandson loved every moment and for me it was a trip down memory lane. Sitting back enjoying the slow pace of yesteryear.

Visited July 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank Rae S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
86 reviews
27 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
“Unique tourist train experience”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 16, 2014

The Bay of Islands Vintage Railway's railway line starts of by running right done the main street of Kawakawa (pronounced like 'Cow-a Cow-a') which is part of State Highway 1.

During school holidays the railway runs everyday, using a diesel loco earlier in the week and a steam loco later in the week. The current length of run is about 20 minutes and goes to the end of "the long bridge". but will eventually continue through to Opua.

Their steam loco, 'Gabriel', a Peckett 4-4-0 tank engine, was hauling the two car train on the day we visited. The conductor on the train, Dave Driver, gave us a great running commentary and this history of the line, the rolling stock and their future plans for expanding the length of run. The engine 'runs around' (changes ends) the train at the far end of the ride, and their is a good interpretive display of the local history of the locality in the restored station building. There is also an opportunity to walk out onto part of 'the long bridge'.

The trip takes 1 hours and there is a train every 75 minutes during the day (4 trips in total) and the NZ$20 adult ticket covers all day travel, there are also a family-group ticket available.

At the Kawakawa end of the line, where the railway's workshops and facilities are located, I was able to walk freely around the yard taking photos. There is also a café in the Kawakawa station building - the coffee was good, but we did not have time to try the food.

There is a lot of information about the line on the The Bay of Islands Vintage Railway web site.

Highly recommended!

Visited January 2014
Helpful?
4 Thank Billton
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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