Embrace unique adventures, friendly locals and gold mining history along the Hauraki Rail Trail, one of the easiest cycle tracks in New Zealand.
Pick up a rental bike in Thames, the main centre of The Coromandel, and enjoy a relaxed start to the day with a cafe breakfast before starting your journey on the trail. As you pass the historic Shortland Street Wharf, the trail takes you across the fertile plains, following the Waihou River and the forest-clad Coromandel ranges, cloaked in lush green forest. Before arriving in Paeroa, the trail winds through Matatoki – don’t miss the opportunity to experience artisan cheese makers at work at the Cheese Barn.
This leg of the Hauraki Rail Trail traverses the spectacular Karangahake Gorge, which boasts beautiful scenery and impressive mining relics. Riders of all ages will enjoy the 1km long rail tunnel (make sure you take a torch), and across the river there are plenty of places to lock up your bike and explore the old mining tunnels, including the must-see Windows Walk. Further on, the staircase Owharoa Falls is the perfect place to relax with a picnic. Or you might like to stop at Ohinemuri Winery, or the Bistro at The Falls Retreat for a relaxing lunch break. Reaching Waihi in the afternoon, be sure to visit the Waihi Gold Discovery Centre to hear the tales of yesteryear, and descend deep into the bowels of the Martha Mine for an insight into modern mining techniques.
Choose to either begin the day with a ride on the vintage Goldfields Railway (cutting 10km off the trail), or setting out from Waihi town. If you choose to cycle from Waihi town, today’s distance is 45km.
Soak up the lush green country scenery on this last leg of the journey, overlooked by 952m-high Mount Te Aroha – the highest point in the Kaimai Ranges. The historic spa town of Te Aroha signals the end of the trail. The town is home to Mokena Geyser, the world’s only natural soda water geyser. The Te Aroha Mineral Spa makes for the perfect end to the day – indulge in a massage or soak weary cycling bodies in the heated mineral pools.
Accommodation: Te Aroha