Photo copyright: Waikato River Trails

Waikato River Trails

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.

Be Prepared

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.

Weather Info

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.

Trail Partner

Inspiration, News and Updates

Here's a fabulous list of essentials from our friends at Motu Trails.  These top tips were written for riders heading to the Pakihi Track, but they apply to all remote trails, and some items are worth carrying on every ride.  If you're a keen mountain biker and enjoying adventuring into the more remote back country t...

 

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Remember that best job we told you about?  Well dreams do come true for some it would seem as The Nelson Taman Cycle Trails Trust appointed Josh Aldridge as its new Trail Manager. Josh moved from Wellington just last week to take up the position.  We're thrilled to welcome Josh to The New Zealand Cycle Trail, and ...
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TRAIL SAFETY UPDATE: Waikato River Trails DATE:  14 August 2017 ISSUE: Please note the section from Whakamuru Dam to Lake Whakamuru Reserve is now OPEN.  ...

 

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TRAIL SAFETY UPDATE: Waikato River Trails DATE: 16 May 2017 ISSUE: Trail Damage - Whakamuru Section Please be aware of the following holes in the trail just before MiCamp (by Dunhams Reserve). Please use detour in place along Ongoroto Road. Thank you....

 

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TRAIL SAFETY UPDATE: Waikato River Trails DATE: 9 December 2016 ISSUE: WHAKAMARU SECTION - Atiamuri Bridge start point to Tram Road. Part of the Whakamaru section (from the start point at the Atiamuri Bridge through to Tram Road) will be temporarily closed. This closure will come into effect today (Friday 9th D...

 

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Please note that the trail from the Atiamuri start point through to MiCamp has several trees down along the trail (Whakamaru Section). The Trail Maintenance Team has cleared the fallen trees along this section from MiCamp through to Whakamaru. We will provide further updates once received....

 

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** TRAIL OPEN ** Please note the Whakamaru section of the Waikato River Trails (from the start point at the Atiamuri Bridge through to Tram Road) is now open. Thank you for your patience. ...

 

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Upcoming Trail Closure Part of the Whakamaru section of the Waikato River Trails (from the start point at the Atiamuri Bridge through to Tram Road) will be closed from Friday 27th November and hopefully reopen on Monday 7th December 2015 due to logging operations. This will be an EXTREMELY HAZARDOUS area and we ...

 

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The Taniwha is set to hit the trails on Saturday 7 November 2015. This event celebrates the endeavours undertaken by the Waikato River Trails Trust over the past 13 years, culminating in around 100km of top quality trails, most of it on previously inaccessible land along the mighty Waikato River. This epic, challengin...

 

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Carole Durbin
The Waikato River Trails project is what New Zealand thinks of as heartland values - groups of people working together to create a new community project. CAROLE DURBIN – Former Chair, Mighty River Power