We purchased a family ticket for $75, which covered two adults and two children, and as under fours were free, we didn't need to pay for the other two children. The actual event itself was free, but the ticket gave us a ride on the train that was running up the line and back for an hours round trip, free rides on Thomas, up and down the track, and free access to the face painting, colouring in, story time and bouncy castle. An added bonus was the train ride from Papakura, for the price of a gold coin donation each, that went to Starship.
On the whole the day was fantastic, with plenty of Thomas characters to meet, and lots of activities to entertain the little ones. It does seem a little churlish to pick fault with an event run by volunteers, but as it has gained in popularity over the years that it has been running, and will no doubt continue to do so, then the slight niggles that we experienced are only likely to get worse.
As it was so busy, getting on board the trains was a little hit and miss, there was no queue, rather, whoever could crowd on first, got on first, not ideal when dealing with little children. Some kind of queue system, or better still, a set time for your train ride, would have made things much smoother. We missed our first go at getting a ride on the excursion train, due to the mass surge towards the doors, and getting the train back to Papakura was little better. With so many visitors, a few more toilets and rubbish bins would have also been welcome additions.
All in all, it was a great day out, and a must if you have young Thomas fans and are in the area next time that it's held.