RIDING THE TRAIL
The Hauraki Rail Trail is mostly Grade 1 (Easiest), which makes it suitable for riders of all ages, abilities and fitness levels. The trail is wide and smooth with mostly gentle gradients.
Thames to Paeroa – (Grade 1 Easiest) 34 km
Highlights: Matatoki Cheese Barn, Coach House Puriri Hotel, Convenient Cow Cafe, Paeroa’s Historical Maritime Park, antique shops, cafes and the world famous L&P bottle.
Starting from the Thames Wharf, where there is a café, takeaway shop and car park, this leg of the Trail chugs through farmland and quaint rural settlements to Paeroa. World famous in New Zealand for its Lemon and Paeroa soft drink, the town is also known for its antique shops. A short 1km link track (signposted) connects the main Trail to the Paeroa Historical Maritime Park, which is not only a treasure trove of the area’s river transport history, but also a great riverside picnic spot.
Paeroa to Waihi Station – (Grade 1 Easiest) 22km
Highlights: Karangahake Gorge, Bullswool Farm Park, Waikino Station Cafe, the Bistro at Falls Retreat, Ohinemuri Estate, Talisman Cafe, the Victoria Battery, Waihi Gold Discovery Centre, boutique shopping, cafes and current and historic mining.
This leg of the Trail follows the Ohinemuri River through Karangahake Gorge and on to Waihi. There are plenty of reasons to get off your bike along this section, so allow yourself plenty of time for the trip. If you run out of steam you can always catch the vintage Goldfields train for the last 8km of the journey from Waikino Station to Waihi. The train runs daily during summer and in the holidays and will transport bikes too. Check the timetable before you head off http://www.waihirail.co.nz/. Once you’ve made it to Waihi, it’s just a quick pedal to the top of town where you’ll find the Waihi Gold Discovery Centre and dump-truck loads of fascinating and interactive information about current and historic gold mining in Waihi.
Paeroa to Te Aroha Station – (Grade 1 Easiest) 21 km
Highlights: The Depot (Devonshire Tea and gardens), Te Aroha’s thermal and mineral springs, Te Aroha Mountain Bike Track and cafes.
Following the historic railway formation all the way to the old Te Aroha Station, this section of the trail winds through rural farmland. Like the rest of the Hauraki Rail Trail it’s mostly flat but the town sports a 10km purpose-built Mountain Bike Track, lacing the foothills of Mt Te Aroha, for the more adventurous.
Kopu (near Thames) to Kaiaua – (Grade 1 Easiest) 43km (Under Construction)
Highlights: Miranda Hot Springs, Pukorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre, Kaiaua fish and chip shop, Rangipo Museum and Pa site.
Currently under construction, the majority of this section of the Trail follows the scenic Firth of Thames coastline from Kopu, near Thames, to Kaiaua. The final few kilometres of the route at the Kaiaua end will initially be on road reserve.