There’s no better place to get the Guys together for a weekend of outdoor fun than the stunning Karangahake Gorge. Wine tasting, biking, trout fishing, excellent hiking and stunning scenery is all on your doorstep at The Falls Retreat.
Located along the Hauraki Rail Trail, it's the perfect setting for a relaxing weekend of getting back to nature, and enjoying good food and drinks with friends. The venue offers award winning dining and boutique accommodation options, with a handful of cool packages to make it easy.
The Guys Outdoor Experience is based on 4 people and includes one night accommodation in Rose Cottage and the Waterfall Cabin (all separate beds). You’ll find 2 x 900ml Squealers of Good George Craft Beer on arrival, and a delicious cooked breakfast delivered to your cottage in the morning.
There’s one day bike hire for 4 people lined up on arrival, so come early and make the most of your day. With the Rail Trail at the bottom of the driveway, there’s the option to ride towards either Waihi or Paeroa. End your day in the magical forest setting with its barn style dining room and open fire, or the delightful outdoor area under the shady boughs of the Fig Tree.
To add to the fun, there’s Fly fishing equipment (2 x rods, tackle box and maps) available for you to enjoy, however a license is required. If a spot of fishing is on the agenda you can find more information and can purchase a license here.
The total cost for the package is $700.00 ($175.00 each), with the option to add an extra night with 4 cooked breakfasts for an additional $450.00.
Karangahake Gorge - Waihi (24km return)
This popular and leisurely ride starts at your accommodation in the historic Karangahake Gorge. A whole day can be spent in the Gorge, so take your foot off the pedal as there’s plenty to explore.
Staying close to the river, the trail passes through the Victoria Battery, a museum and underground kilns offering insight into the gold-mining days of the 1900’s. Pack your togs as you may want to take a dip at one of the swimming spots along the way.
There’s a historic hotel, and old railway station at Waikino where you can shorten your ride and catch the vintage train to Waihi. This beautiful township is worth exploring, as is the Waihi Gold Discovery Centre - a fun interactive museum, where you can also take a tour of the operational Martha Mine.
If lunch was a little indulgent, you can choose to shuttle back or take the train. Back at your accommodation, the day wouldn’t be complete without visiting Owharoa Falls to cool off in one of its pools.
If you’re looking to blow out the cob webs there are other trails in the region with a little more grit and grunt, includingThe Hotoritori Mountain Bike Trail located in the Kauaeranga Valley. This is an intermediate grade ride on 4 x 4 gravel tracks, native forest and pine forest tracks and streams.
The Scarface Mountain Bile Tracks main loop track is Grade 3, and although short at 1.8km, it has Grade 4 and 5 bypasses (generally over 100m in length but one 500m Downhill section) and can be ridden in circuits. The first half of the track has long flowing straights; the second half is a variety of berms and is more technical.
Nearby Fourforty Mountain Bike Park is a premium destination and trails cater for beginner to expert riders, with a dedicated uphill trail to access the lower half of the park as well as an uplift service. Riders can opt for full access to the whole park with their own private shuttle. Coaching sessions are available and fully customised to your needs, with the course tailored to areas you want to focus on.
Adventure Te Aroha's river Kayak Tours provide a perfect half day excursion from the Hauraki Rail Trail. From its source at the Blue Springs to where it enters the Hauraki Gulf, Te Waihou winds its way gently northwards. A variety of different tours are offered and Custom Tours can be tailored to suit needs on request, but must be booked in advance.
Canyonz Adventure Company located near Thames in the dramatic Kauaeranga Valley offer guided canyoning trips through some of the most beautiful landscapes in New Zealand. The Sleeping God canyon tour is a vertical descent of over three hundred metres down a steep set of waterfalls involving abseils/rappels, exhilarating water slides and jumps into deep dark pools guaranteed to thrill the most intrepid explorer.
All the gear is provided including transport, equipment, expert canyoning guides, safety instructions, lunch, post trip burger and great photos. The full day adventure is 9 -10 hours or the Half is 5 hours and costs $390 / $270 per person.
The Waikino Hotel Bar & Kitchen in the Gorge offers thirst quenching beverages and homestyle soul food. Shoot some pool with the locals and enjoy a lazy Sunday brew - You gotta love a sport without cardio (their words, not ours). Entry is free, but you’ll need to register by 3.00pm and there’s even bar tab prizes up for grabs.
The Waikino Hotel publican, Wayne Chowles was a gold-medal winner for his Eliza’s Claim Gold Gin at the 2021 New Zealand Spirits Awards. Lucky pub visitors have been the first to experience the earthy, spicy Gin with rosemary and honey, and by all accounts it’s a hit. He even puts a dusting of edible gold in the Gin!
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