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Our Top 10 Things To Do When Riding The Hauraki Rail Trail

The Hauraki Rail Trail provides a perfect opportunity for an easy cycling break.  With the Trail passing through lush farmland, wetlands, abandoned railways, and quiet country routes, riders can enjoy a variety of stunning backdrops.

The 160km Trail showcases some of the region's best scenery, and as a Grade One trail is suitable for all fitness levels and cycling abilities.  Although the Trail can be enjoyed in manageable day sections, this versatile trail lends itself to multi-day adventures.

With multiple access points from Kaiaua, Thames, Paeroa, Waihi, Te Aroha, Waikino, the 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.

With the trail easily accessible and with support options available, you’re guaranteed a relaxed cycling holiday.  There are plenty of cool detours to be had off the bike too, with walking, arts, culture, local hospitality and a wealth of attractions to add to the fun.


Here's Our Top 10 list of things to do both on and off the Trail.


Te Aroha Hot Pools 

Nestled in the beautiful domain at the foot of Mount Te Aroha is the Te Aroha Mineral Spas.  Renowned for their healing properties since the 1800’s, it’s the perfect way to soothe tired muscles and unwind after a days riding.


Miranda Shorebird Centre 

The Pūkorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre is a great escape from the city to encounter some of New Zealand’s amazing birdlife.  Visitors can find information, birding tips, environmental education, accommodation and the most comprehensive natural history bookshop in New Zealand.


Photo credit: Pūkorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre - a visit to the centre and bird hides


The Cheese Barn at Matatoki 

Love cheese and ice-cream? Matatoki is a must.  This cheese factory also has a BYO Cafe, cheese tastings, and a fabulous animal farm.  The family of alpacas, rabbits, guinea pigs, chickens, budgies, quails, canaries and Cookie the spotty sheep offer great entertainment for the whole family.


Photo: The Cheese Barn at Matatoki


Historical Maritime Park & Museum

The stunning and picturesque Maritime Park grounds are adjacent to the Waihou River, where cruises, events and weddings are hosted. Visitors to the Park can explore the Museum and take a scenic and tranquil cruise on the Waihou and Ohinemuri Rivers. It’s a fantastic outing for families, senior citizens, schools and tour groups. Detour for a picnic and explore the beautiful grounds. The Park is open daily from 10.00am until 3.00pm. 


Photo: Historial Maritime Park


L&P Bottle Paeroa 

The giant 7 metre high 1.3 metre diameter structure stands pride of place in Paeroa.  The Lemon & Paeroa drink is found only in New Zealand and in specialty New Zealand stores overseas.  Stop for a fun photo and join the commemorations of enduring love for this iconic Kiwi drink.


Victoria Battery Museum and Karangahake Gorge Tunnel

The dramatic Karangahake Gorge, its historic gold mining relics and the 1km long railway tunnel are not to be missed.  The fascinating sites of Victoria Battery and the Victoria Battery Tramway and Museum show the remains from what was once a vast industrial area. 

Vsitors can wander around the relics of the Old Processing site or take a tour in the Tram pulled by old mining engines. Take a tour of the Museum to hear and see a visual history of the site in the Old Transformer Building.

There are also tours under the kilns which help you imagine what it was like working there when the kilns were burning. You can walk across the top of the kilns and look down on where the ore was heated up which made it easier to crush.


Photo: Victoria Battery Museum and Tramway


Bullswool Farm Heritage Park

Whilst the Farm is not accessible from the Hauraki Rail Trail, it ’s just a short 10 minute drive from Paeroa, or 20 minutes from Waihi. Home to three generations of the Howse family, the farm has a diverse and interesting array of rare breed farm animals, several working farm museums, outdoor displays, and an award-winning Native Bird Reserve.


Photo credit: Jodi Sweetman - Bullswool Farm Heritage Park


Aviator Experience & Café 

Head along to the Aviator Experience & Café to enjoy great food and coffee from the military style themed Café. Factor in some extra time to experience the award winning flight simulators. The simulators include the P51Mustang, Mk IX Spitfire, German BF109 and FW190 aircraft plus an array of fast jets such as the F-18 Hornet and F-14 Tomcat. Aviator Experience & Café are currently relocating premises. Keep an eye on their Facebook Page for updates


Photo: Aviator Experience & Café


Goldfields Railway 

The Goldfields Historic Railway operates a daily timetable between Waihi and Waikino.  Riders can take their bike on the vintage train for the 30 minute journey between stations.  Re-fuel at the Waikino Station Cafe and relax in the picturesque Waikino Gorge. 


Photo: Goldfields Railway


Waihi Goldmine Tour   

Waihi Gold Mine Tours take you inside the fence to experience modern day gold mining up close.  Visitors are shown every stage of the process from ore extraction and crushing, through to final processing.  Rattle the drill, crank the handles and immerse yourself in interactive activities at the Waihi Gold Experience.


Photo credit: Braaksma Adventures - Waihi Gold Mine


The Hauraki Rail Trail showcases the best of New Zealand’s landscape, environment, culture and heritage.  It’s well worth adding a few days either side of your ride to linger longer and explore the Coromandel region further.

Hauraki Rail Trail works closely with its Official Partners who provide a variety of services.  If you need help with bike hire, supported tours, shuttle services, luggage transfers, accommodation, cafes and restaurants, and things to see and do, you’ll find the support you need here.

Check out our Ride Experiences for more inspiration and itineraries.


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