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Hauraki Rail Trail - A Ride Planning Guide

Who is the Hauraki Rail Trail for?

Biking across New Zealand’s countryside provides an unrivalled travel experience.  Mostly off-road, the Hauraki Rail Trail traverses a remarkable range of landscapes.  From pristine coastlines and green pastures, to misty rainforests.

The laid-back Trail is a Great Ride for all ages. With its gentle terrain and abundance of accommodation, cafes and restaurants, it’s one of the easiest and most satisfying trails in the North Island.

The Trail is ideal for families looking for a manageable adventure, retired people, school groups, social clubs, to celebrate special occasions, and overseas visitors looking to experience the best of New Zealand.

If you’re looking to ride the Trail, the best place to start your research and planning is the Hauraki Rail Trail website.  Here’s a basic guide to get you started.


Where do I start my ride?

The Trail officially starts in Kaiaua in the North, and traces the Shorebird Coast along the Firth of Thames.  Riders enjoy contrasting landscapes from the verdant Hauraki Plains, to the intriguing Karangahake Gorge.  Finally, there’s a gentle ride South through lush farmlands to Matamata the hometown of the Hobbiton Movie Set.


Photo: Kaiaua - Shorebird Coast


With multiple access points from Kaiaua, Thames, Paeroa, Waihi, Te Aroha, Waikino, Karangahake Gorge and Matamata, all options are within a two hour drive from Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga.  The Coromandel’s temperate climate also means the Trail can be ridden all year round.


How long is the Trail?

The Trail is 160km and showcases some of the region's best scenery.  Although the Trail can be enjoyed as manageable day sections, the versatile trail lends itself to multi-day adventures


What level of fitness do I need?

The Grade One (Easiest) Trail, is suitable for all ages, fitness levels and cycling abilities.  The Trail is predominantly wide, flat and smooth, with a gentle gradient, making it suitable for everything from children’s bikes and uprights, to touring bikes, mountain bikes and e-bikes.

Introducing kids to an established and easy ride like the Hauraki Rail Trail comes with multiple benefits. The quality surfaces, steady gradients, off road and away from traffic, and with support available for bike hire, accommodation and transport.



How far do you want to ride each day?

The Trail comprises of five sections, each varying in length from 23km to 55km.  For a leisurely tour, riders can comfortably traverse one Section each day.  Remember holidays are meant to be fun.  Even short rides with a handful of stops can quickly fill up a day.

Some of New Zealand’s Must Do’s are found in the Coromandel. Stay and play longer in this magical region, and explore the many attractions and activities along or near the Trail. All showcase the uniqueness of this idyllic destination. Take a break, escape, adventure.


If you are travelling independently

With good preparation, research, and planning, a self-guided ride offers freedom and independence.  You can ride at your own pace, stop to take extra photos, and laze for longer over lunch if you desire.


Photo: Motorhome Camping at Ray's Rest - Kaiaua


Choose your accommodation

You can book one of the many accommodation options on or near the Hauraki Rail Trail, through our Official Partners, the local information centre, or contact the business directly.  Whatever your budget there’s plenty of options to get a good rest, from motels, holiday parks, lodges, historic houses to luxury quaint cottages. 


Photo: Corbett House - Hikutaia


Motorhome Camping

Motorhome camping is a great option for those with a love of road trips, together with the comfort of having your own self-contained space. With this rise in popularity in mind, we've put together everything you need to know to kickstart a Motorhome Camping holiday in New Zealand, which includes an adventure on the Hauraki Rail Trail.


Photo: Firth Tower Museum Motorhome Site


Secure parking

Secure parking is currently available at Secure Storage in Te Aroha, Paeroa RV Centre in Paeroa, and Andy's Storage in Kopu.  Miranda Holiday Park no longer offer this service.  If for any reason you consider parking at an alternative venue, please seek permission prior to leaving your vehicle.  


Book your ride through Tour Services

Supported tours have the advantage of providing planning, support, transport, and local knowledge of the Trail and region.  Their expert guidance will enrich your experience, so you can relax and make the most of your adventure.

Seeking local knowledge is a great way to help work out which route you will take and the amount of time you can reasonably expect it to take.  A fully supported tour with luggage transfers allows you to travel from A to B without the kitchen sink.

Bike hire, shuttles, luggage transfers, self guided tours, fully supported tours and accommodation are available from operators based on and around the trail, with Kaiaua, Thames, Waihi, Paeroa and Te Aroha the major hubs.


Photo credit: Riverside Adventures


Consider trying an E-Bike

E-bikes not exceeding 300watts are permitted and suitable for all sections of the Trail.  The beauty of the Hauraki Rail Trail is the ability to tailor a ride to almost any length.  There are plenty of options for return rides, or one-way trips if you organise a pick-up. Here’s a few popular day rides suited to leisurely and gentle E-Bike adventuring.


Enjoy the Trail on foot

With so much on offer when you ride the Hauraki Rail Trail, book in a few extra days either side of your ride and linger longer.  If you’re keen for more adventures, swap biking for hiking and stretch your legs with one of the many excellent walks both on and around the Trail. 


Photo credit: Pokeno Tramping Group


Follow us on Facebook and Instagram

Keep up to date with news, competitions, cool stories, photos, and so much more. We'd be thrilled if you would join and support us, so get clicking and Like, Comment and Share.  Tag us in your photos to share your adventures.  

You can also keep informed with Trail Information and upcoming Events by signing up to our Quarterly E-Newsletter on the Home page of the website.


Take the Survey

We need your feedback to help us to make the trail world class and secure future funding to take the Trail from Good to Great. Please take a few minutes to complete the Survey, and be in the draw to win Prizes.


The Hauraki Rail Trail showcases the best of New Zealand’s landscape, environment, culture and heritage.  No matter how fast or far you want to ride, if you’re ready for an adventure there’s a great option for every rider.


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