If you’re concerned about your fitness, an electric bike is an excellent solution. With a little extra power to back you up, you can explore the trails with friends or keep up with the rest of the family, riding your new best friend to minimise the physical challenges.
The Hauraki Rail Trail is Grade 1 Easiest, and suitable for riders of all ages and abilities. The terrain is wide, flat and smooth for most of the way, making it a safe and ideal trail to test drive an E-Bike, or ride your own with confidence.
Like normal bikes, e-bikes come in all shapes and sizes. Upright city bikes, cargo bikes, hybrids, road bikes, and full suspension mountain bikes. The Electric mountain bike option is designed for off-road use, and comes with extra durable frames and stronger wheels.
E-Bikes with suspension make the ride comfortable, and they’re extremely easy to use. They can be ridden with a combination of pedal power and battery power. Some models even have a throttle on the handle bars, offering power without pedalling.
Previous cycling experience is essential, and you’ll need to get used to the bike’s weight, centre of gravity (depending on where the motor and battery are located), as well as acceleration and speed.
At or below 300 watts, an e-bike is considered a bicycle rather than a motorcycle. E-bikes aren’t cheap to buy, however most bike hire or tour companies offer them so you can get a feel for it before investing in your own.
Here’s a few popular day rides suited to leisurely and gentle E-Bike adventuring.
All 5 Sections of the Trail make for great e-bike adventures. The beauty of the Hauraki Rail Trail is the ability to tailor a ride to almost any length. There’s options for short rides, long rides, return rides, or one-way trips if you organise a pick-up.
The most popular section of the Rail Trail follows the Ohinemuri River through the dramatic Karangahake Gorge. Riders can bike the whole section from Paeroa to Waihi return, or consider a shuttle. You can shave 9kms off your ride by taking the vintage train between Waikino and Waihi.
20km (3 - 4 hours)
For a slightly shorter ride, Waikino Station’s cafe and bike hire make it a good place to set off on a ride into the Karangahake Gorge. Riders can explore the remains of the Victoria Battery, but be sure to bring a torch to guide you through the spooky tunnel. You’ll have plenty of time for a swim and exploring the walkways which branch off from the reserve.
8km (2 - 3 hours)
If you’re short of time, this popular ride starts in the historic town of Waihi, with a gentle downhill into Karangakahe Gorge, crossing bridges, and staying close to the river. The Victoria Battery and Museum attractions and 1100m spooky tunnel are a must. As are the waterfall and Windows Walkway.
Take the morning to explore the gold-mining heritage of Thames before heading east, travelling through verdant farmlands to Paeroa. The section of trail begins at first following the old railway line out of Thames town and through lush farmland with memorable views across the Hauraki Plains and forested Kaimai Ranges.
The Matatoki Cheese Barn is a highlight, as is the Historical Maritime Park, once New Zealand’s most inland port. From March 2020 there will be alternative transport for cyclists into the township of Paeroa, via the Waihou and Ohinemuri Rivers.
Arrive into Paeroa early enough to fossick through the many antiques and collectables shops. World famous in New Zealand for its giant L&P bottle on the main street, there’s also accommodation and places to eat for riders looking to overnight.
22km (2 - 3 hours)
This ride heads along the Thames waterfront before following the trail through lush countryside to Matatoki Cheese Factory. The kids will love the fun farm park here, before a quick stop at the Puriri pub.
If you’re short for time or don’t want to ride far, the easy ride from Thames to Kopu is just 7km. As you leave the town centre, stop and enjoy the many sculptures along the community’s Arts Trail.
This new and gentle section of trail is predominantly gravel, with an easy concrete section which beckons like a yellow brick road. Passing through fertile plains, significant horse studs, goat farms, groves of scented trees, scenic Wairere Falls, and ravines, there's plenty of opportunity for a detour or two. The mesmerising Wairere Falls can be found along the trail just before reaching Matamata. It’s a perfect picnic stop with views of the bush clad Kaimai-Mamaku Forest Park. The Falls are the highest waterfall in the North Island and 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's 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.
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.
There are plenty more adventures to be had on the Trail. You can find them in the Blog section of the website.
If you need help with planning your adventure, you can find information and support for bike hire, supported tours, shuttle services, luggage transfers, accommodation, cafes and restaurants, and things to see and do here.
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