This traffic free cycle path is the easiest riding Trail in New Zealand,and showcases some of the best scenery of the area , from the Pohutukawa trees on the Thames Coast, through lush green Waikato farm lands, to areas rich in pioneering history.
A major highlight includes riding through the stunning Karangahake Gorge, one of the “14 wonders of New Zealand”. The trail follows the path of two historic railway lines, running from Thames to Paeroa and Waikino to Te Aroha and can be undetaken as a three day ride or as a one day / half a day section.
We think the best part is the Waikino to the Cheese Barn Section ( 36 km ) through the 1km Karangahake Rail tunnel (the tunnel is lit but a little dark and walkers can be hard to see so torches are recommended).
The Waikino Historic Railway Station and Café is a great place to start – we always find it difficult to get going , the cakes are fantastic! You can leave your car here and pick up your hire bikes – they’re in pretty good nick and easy to ride hybrid bikes.
From the station, the curving Trail hugs the true left bank of the Ohinemuri River, on a “Rake Line” once used to transport ore from Waihi to the Victoria Battery. An abundance of rail relics, from carriageways to railroad “sleepers” can be seen along the track.
After the highlight of the tunnel,most of this ride takes you through open countryside , by passing fields of cows and sheep with the odd farm building en route . You can stop in Paeroa , home of the famous Lemon and Paeroa Kiwi drink ( unfortuately now owned by Coca Cola and bottled elsewhere ) before continuing your slow pedal through to the Cheese Barn , a natural end point – where there are refreshments and naturally some of the best Coromandel cheeses.
A pre booked Sherpa Shuttle bus will pick you and your bikes up to return you to Waikino Station for your onward journey.
Please ring us for further options on this trail ride or any of cycle rides on New Zealand’s Nga Haerenga National Cycle Network.
What our travellers enjoyed about the Hauraki Rail Trail cycle ride…
- Scrummy cakes in the Waikino tea rooms
- Pedalling into the vast dark of the Karangahake tunnel
- Chatting to other pedallers along the way
- Buying cheeses at the Cheese Barn for the rest of the holiday !