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Driving Creek Railway and Potteries
To avoid disappointment, book at least a day in advance to reserve your seat.
Unique mountain railway, snaking through stunning, and replanted kauri forest with incredible views of the Hauraki Gulf. Wildlife sanctuary, pottery and craft shop also onsite.
A true labour of love for potter, conservationist, engineer and fervent railway enthusiast, Barry Brickell, this 3km long track winds its way around 22 hectares of hilly, Coromandel landscape. Like much of the area, the earth is a rich source of clay, though the original forest that existed here was cleared by British colonists to enable farming, with catastrophic consequences for the environment.
On acquiring the land, in the 1970s (then a mass of unkempt scrubland), Barry's original plan to run a pottery collective, quickly became an even bigger dream - to build a railway around his kingdom, not only to make retrieval of the valuable clay and wood easier, but to restore the forest to its former glory and make it one big renewable, environmentally-sustainable park.
It is still a working plantation, with the trains used not only to take visitors on New Zealand's most scenic railway journey, but also to carry clay and wood back to the workshops. And for every old pine tree felled, hundreds of new native tree are planted. In time, this forest will be restored to its original, indigenous glory.
The first track was laid in 1975 and over the years tunnels, viaducts and viewing platforms have been added, at considerable personal cost, and requiring superhuman feats of civil engineering, to produce the unique and popular tourist attraction of today. At its highest point, the railway is 165m above sea level and, at the terminus visitors can experience some of the most spectacular views of the Hauraki Gulf, and beyond.
Along the 1 hour journey, you'll pass by clay pits, lakes, see the new kauri plantings, pass through tunnels, over high viaducts and spirals tracks that allow you a full 360-view of this inspiring scenery.
Back at the Potteries, you can see Barry's brickworks and workshops, where he spends many hours throwing the most amazing sculptures, vases and jugs from clay sourced in the hills behind him. The craft shop has dozens of unique sculptures and crafts, offering one-of-a-kind mementoes of your visit here. Carrying over 60,000 visitors a year, it's advisable to book your ticket in advance to ensure a seat.
Monday - 8am–7pm
Tuesday - 8am–7pm
Wednesday - 8am–7pm
Thursday - 8am–7pm
Friday - 8am–7pm
Saturday - 8am–7pm
Sunday - 8am–7pm
Best For Whom
- Mature Travellers
- Families With Children
Best For What
- The Local Experience
- Cultural Experience