Easiest - Easy
This cruisy Great Ride blends birdlife, beautiful countryside, a bush-clad gorge and quaint townships brimming with gold-rush history and local hospitality.
Following a historic railway corridor, cycle trails and stopbanks for most of the way, this Great Ride rolls through Thames, Paeroa, Waihi and Te Aroha, and onward to Matamata which is home to the must-see Hobbiton™ Movie Set. It offers contrasting scenery – from the Firth of Thames, Shorebird Coast and verdant Hauraki Plains, to the forested Karangahake Gorge with its amazing 1,100 metre long tunnel, waterfalls and intriguing gold mining relics. One of the easiest of the 23 Ngā Haerenga Great Rides of New Zealand(opens in new window), it’s a wonderful way to soak up the sights of this lovely, rural region.
The Hauraki Rail Trail(opens in new window) has five sections between six quaint townships and rural settlements. Ride it across a lesiurely 3–5 days or enjoy it as shorter adventures.
The trail starts in coastal Kaiaua, tracing the Firth of Thames Shorebird Coast with its notable wetlands and rare birdlife. It’s a super-scenic journey through to Thames, a laid-back old gold town and gateway to the beachy Coromandel Peninsula.
The Thames to Paeroa leg offers expansive views across the Hauraki Plains and forested Kaimai Ranges, with the option of a riverboat trip, from the Historical Maritime Park(opens in new window) along the Ohinemuri River(opens in new window) into Paeroa township. The Cheese Barn(opens in new window) at Matatoki and Convenient Cow Cafe(opens in new window) are tasty highlights of this section.
Delve into a distinctly different landscape on the Paeroa to Waihi leg, which follows the Ohinemuri River to Karangahake Gorge’s gold mining relics, unforgettable railway tunnel, and cascading Owharoa Falls(opens in new window).
From Paeroa, a relaxing cruise reaches Te Aroha, famed for its mineral hot pools. The southernmost section then heads to Matamata, and features Wairere Falls and Hobbiton™ Movie Set and its fabulous tours – a must-visit for garden-lovers as well as Lord of the Rings fans.
A detailed description of this Great Ride, including maps and more information, can be found here.
Whether you’re looking for a short ride or the full, multi-day adventure, there are plenty of companies offering everything from bike hire and shuttles to fully supported guided tours with everything included. Bike hire depots are handily located along the trail in Kaiaua, Thames, Paeroa, Te Aroha, and Waihi.
This Great Ride's official partners can be found on the Hauraki Rail Trail(opens in new window) and Great Rides of New Zealand(opens in new window) websites.
A wide range of accommodation can be found in all six main trail settlements and dotted through the surrounding countryside. Accommodation providers partnered with the trail are also listed on Great Rides of New Zealand(opens in new window) and Hauraki Rail Trail(opens in new window) websites.
Ngā Haerenga New Zealand Cycle Trails(opens in new window)
Hauraki Rail Trail(opens in new window)
The Coromandel(opens in new window)