Nikki Scott and her husband took on the full Hauraki Rail Trail in June 2021 riding over 4 days. They travelled to the area with other family members so they could make it a fun holiday for everyone.
This also gave them the added bonus of having babysitters while they rode, as well as a car drop-off service at their destination each day.
The weather they encountered was a mix of fog, icy mornings, glorious sun and torrential rain, with some wind thrown in for good measure. Nothing however deterred them from fulfilling their journey.
Photo credit: Nikki Scott - Section A Kaiaua to Thames
Photo credit: Nikki Scott - Kopu Bridge
Photo credit: Nikki Scott - Paeroa
Photo credit: Nikki Scott - Section D Paeroa to Te Aroha
Photo credit: Nikki Scott - Waihi Station
Photo credit: Nikki Scott - Section E - Te Aroha to Matamata
Nikki tells us she's more of a hiker than a biker, so she was super proud of herself for completing the Hauraki Rail Trail, and on a standard bike.
We asked Nikki to tell us about her best decision, her biggest lesson, and a few sightseeing tips too.
The best decision we made was to get on the Trail nice and early each day. Although it took some time for the hands and feet to thaw out, it meant we had more time each day to enjoy what the region had to offer.
My biggest lesson would be to invest in a comfortable bike seat if you're biking the entire trail on consecutive days!
1. Have lunch or a snack stop at the Waikino Station Cafe.
The Waikino Station Cafe is known for delicious and affordable home-style food made on the premises, and the team can also serve large groups on a tight schedule. Pop in for lunch or refreshments before taking a ride on the train.
Photo: Waikino Station
2. Add on a hiking day in Te Aroha.
The walking tracks up and around Mt Te Aroha offer stunning views of the Waikato region. The Summit Track starts at the Mokena Geyser in Te Aroha Domain and quickly ascends to the Whakapipi Lookout. The lookout provides panoramic views over the Hauraki Plains. The hike to the lookout takes about 45 minutes, then the track continues up for another two hours to reach the top. Multi-day hikes are also available in the area on the Kaimai Ranges, as well as plenty of shorter walks on and around Mt Te Aroha.
3. Allow yourself plenty of time in the Karangahake Gorge to explore the Victoria Battery and walk a trail or two.
Concrete cyanide tank stands reminiscent of ancient ruins are among the remains of the Victoria Battery at Waikino. The Battery was constructed by the Waihi Goldmining Company from 1897 to crush ore from the Martha Mine. If you have time, the Karangahake Historic Walkway loop walk starts and finishes at the Waikino Railway Station and takes about 1 hour.
Photo credit: Caleb Bird - Victoria Battery, Karangahake Gorge
4. Don't miss the Wairere Falls which are a 10 minute drive from Matamata.
The Wairere Falls can be found nearby the trail just before reaching Matamata. The Falls are the highest waterfall in the North Island and has a popular walking track. The return walk to the viewing platform at the base of the Falls takes about an hour and a half. It is an attractive walk along a well-maintained track. The sight from the viewing platform is spectacular as water plunges 153 metres over the falls, before forming streamlets that flow through moss covered rocks and ferns. Please note the track isn't suitable for bikes.
Photo credit: Margaret Corbin - Wairere Falls
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