OverviewTrail Status: Open
Karapiro — Atiamuri (1-4 days, 103km)
The Waikato River Trails experience brings your senses to life as you connect with nature at its best. This cycle trail follows New Zealand’s longest river, the mighty Waikato. It offers a multi-purpose walking and cycling experience, where around every corner there is a new vista.
Riders will experience the magic and beauty of native and exotic forest, wetlands, historic landmarks, intriguing volcanic rock formations and expansive lake and river views. Highlights include towering dams, suspension bridges and long meandering boardwalks.
Stories of the region’s rich history are signposted as your journey winds along the river. Riding the trail also offers the opportunity to enjoy the wonderful hospitality of New Zealand’s farming and forestry heartland – previously inaccessible land far from the hustle and bustle of the city.
A trail highlight is the variety of bridges – although the 152m-long Arapuni Swing Bridge and the Mangawera and Mangakino suspension bridges may be challenging if you have a fear of heights!
The Waikato River Trails was created through a partnership between the Waikato River Trails Trust, Mighty River Power, South Waikato District Council, Waikato Regional Council, Taupo District Council and the New Zealand Cycle Trail project.
Regular events for cycling, walking, running and multi-sports are held on the Waikato River Trails and provide a great way to challenge yourself and meet other trail users from all around the country. The next event is The Taniwha on 5 November 2015. This challenging yet achievable event sees individuals and teams of all levels of fitness running/walking or mountain biking the trails in a major participation event. There are various other events, the longest an 83km mountain bike course.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION: Sometimes trail sections are closed due to logging operations. Check waikatorivertrails.com before starting out and respect closures and signage. Dogs are prohibited on many sections of the trail.
Dogs are prohibited on many sections of the trail.
MOBILE PHONE COVERAGE: Outside the small towns of Arapuni, Mangakino and Whakamaru, there is little to no mobile phone coverage.
The Waikato region enjoys a mild temperate climate. Summers can be hot and humid with generally mild winters.
Maximum daily temperatures range from 21 to 26°C in summer and 10 to 14°C in winter. Fogs often occur in winter, but usually lift to reveal a clear sunny day.
Winter can be wet and riding wet trails can damage the surface, so the best time to ride the Waikato River Trails is September through to May.