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Cycling the Hauraki Rail Trail can be one of the most exhilarating activities on a travelers’ list. It can also be the most tranquil, and the one where you learn something you always remember because you experienced it first-hand.
Whether you pedal for an hour or a full weekend, you’ll find something amazing on the Rail Trail.
There is perhaps no better way to experience the power of the Karangahake Gorge than by bicycle on the Hauraki Rail Trail. The sound of the rushing water below and the sheer scale of the gorge itself defy description in the best way possible.
The trail takes you beyond the gorge past beautiful river bends, through tranquil forests and across lovely green fields. Cycling puts you up close to nature and lets you cover a huge variety of terrain in a short time.
What was it like for gold miners to see the rushing river from a window in a mine tunnel? How big was the Victoria Battery when it crushed quartz to extract gold at the turn of the last century? On the Rail Trail, you can experience the region’s rich heritage in a visceral way.
The trail takes you by the site of the Victoria Battery, where you can walk among relics of the stampers that ground ore for decades. If you’re up for a detour (or a rest), you can wander around the site or take part in a tour. The trail takes you into the heart of the area’s gold heritage with tunnels through the mountain and a wealth of nearby walks with placards that illuminate the history all around you. (If you’re lucky, you may even see a few glow worms in the tunnel!)
A good cycle trip requires a good bite to eat, and the cafe at Waikino Station is ready to provide one. The cafe serves up wonderful sweets and coffees plus a full menu of hearty meals to power your trip. It’s housed in an old train station where you can hire bicycles or catch the heritage railway from Waikino to Waihi.
The Rail Trail brings out the sheer fun of cycling that is easy to forget in the midst of modern life. The serene surroundings, incredible sights and fascinating history surrounding the trail are made even better by the joy of riding a bike outdoors.
It’s a gentle, safe and well-maintained trail that you can enjoy whether you hop on a mountain bike every weekend or haven’t cycled in years. You can see some remarkable highlights in just a few hours, or can spend several days savouring the full trail.
Learn more, see maps, plan your adventure at www.thecoromandel.com.