On Christmas Eve the last train will depart from Britomart for Helensville.
And so on the warm summer solstice afternoon of 2009 we found ourselves taxied to Helensville with 3 1/2 hours to spend before catching one of the last 7.20pm trains back to Waitakere.
Helensville is a lovely, historical township situated approximately 40km north of Auckland City. With a population of 2,500, it is large enough to be self-contained, featuring a supermarket, and Mitre 10, but small enough to only comprise one main street.
As most country towns go, it has an air of friendliness about it, (with the exception of some supermarket staff who had watched a few too many episodes of 24) and locals give you the smiling nod as you pass them on the street.
Click here for the full Helensville photo essay