Photo copyright: Waikato River Trails

Waikato River Trails

RIDING THE TRAIL

The Waikato River Trails consist of five quite different sections.

Karapiro (Arapuni to Pokaiwhenua Bridge), (Grades 2-3, Easy to Intermediate) 11.5km

This is one of the easiest sections on this trail. It is Grade 2 with a few short Grade 3 hills.

Most people park in Arapuni and ride up the trail to Little Waipa Reserve and back. The Huihuitaha Wetland, with boardwalk, is a highlight of this section. The Rhubarb Café in Arapuni is a very popular place to head for after the ride.

Arapuni (Arapuni to Waipapa Dam), (Grades 4-5, Advanced) 36km

This section includes some road riding from Jones Landing to the end of Waotu South Rd.

Jim Barnetts Reserve is full of birdlife and there is a 1000-year-old totara that is worth a visit. The Mangarewa suspension bridge 42m above the stream is a thrill.

Waipapa (Waipapa Dam to Mangakino Lakefront), (Grade 3 Intermediate) 19km

Navigation along this section is quite simple. Just ride across the dam and then follow the blue marker posts. This section is Grade 3 and has several steep little hills.

Highlights of this section include the Waipapa Dam and the native bush and exotic forest.

Maraetai (Mangakino Lakefront to Whakamaru Dam), (Grade 2 Easy) 12km

This is an easy stage along the trail. It is Grade 2 (Easy) and only 12km long.

Perfect for a family day out, this section has a village at each end (Mangakino at the start, Whakamaru at the end) and includes a 70m-long suspension bridge that’s around 12m high.

Whakamaru Dam to Atiamuri, (Grade 3 Intermediate) 23.5km

This section has some of the best scenery of the trail and has been upgraded to Grade 3 (Intermediate). The trail ends (or starts) at a small parking area beside Ongaroto Rd (only 100m from SH 1).

The highlights of this section include views of the picturesque Lake Whakamaru and the Whakamaru Dam, the wetland and boardwalk at Dunhams Creek Reserve and the Ongaroto Steps.

Getting There

If you're driving, State Highway 1 provides key access points to both ends of the trail.

To the north, access is off SH1 on to Horahora Road. Drive for 5km before reaching the Pokaiwhenua Bridge car park, which is the starting point of the Karapiro Trail section.

To the south, access is off SH1 on to Ongaroto Road (SH30). The start of the Atiamuri Trail section is 50m from the turnoff.

Visitor Information

Trail Partner

Inspiration, News and Updates

We asked Jim Robinson from Motu Trails to talk to us about all things biking and Opotiki.  Modest as ever, Jim said it pushed his comfort zone a little, feeling happier behind the page not on it.  We’re thrilled to have gleaned a few snippets and look forward to the next chapter as this exciting Trail goes from str...

 

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A huge congratulations is in order for the Old Ghost Road which has become one of nine trails in the World to be taken into the International Mountain Bicycling Association's (IMBA) stable of 'EPIC Rides'. Nine new trails and rides have been added to the list of demanding, mostly singletrack experiences in remote, b...
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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