The Hauraki Rail Trail is a buzz with excitement as construction nears completion on the new 37km extension from Te Aroha to Matamata. This new and gentle section passes through fertile plains, horse studs, goat farms, and has lots on offer both on and off the Trail.
The much anticipated section takes riders through some of New Zealand’s richest farmland. Just 6km out of town you’ll find The Old Forge Kitchen, where delicious fare will set you up for the day. Taking its name from the history of the site, it was once an old Forge making stage coach wheels and horseshoes. Its new incarnation sees a cafe with a great selection of food coffee.
Heading south, riders pass the freshly mown grass of goat farms worthy of golf-course status. Crossing over the train-line that cuts under the Kaimai Ranges, a train can be expected every 20 minutes, carrying goods to New Zealand’s largest export port, the Port of Tauranga.
Not to be be missed are the impressive Wairere Falls, which can be found along a short detour. The Firth Tower is also worth a visit with its peaceful grounds and antique displays in the many buildings. Built in 1882 the Tower commands an extensive view of the surrounding countryside.
Reaching the township of Matamata brings the opportunity to celebrate the end of your journey with a visit to the Hobbiton Movie Set. Book in advance if you want an extra magical evening experience. The gardens are beautiful in this fairytale world, and nothing beats a tipple at the Green Dragon Inn.
Matamata is a rural town nestled at the base of the scenic Kaimai Ranges, well known for its thoroughbred industry and dairy farming heritage. Matamata offers a range of walking options, golf courses, and an extensive selection of Cafés and Accommodation, making it a great place to unwind after riding the Trail.
Trail Status Note: This new section of Trail is rideable, however cyclists must use caution at bridge approaches. Landscaping, rest areas and toilet installation remain on-going (6 January 2020).
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