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Rail Trail Tales With Valley Tours & Transfers

Wayne and Christine Laurenson are owner/operators of Valley Tours & Transfers, and are based in Paeroa. The core business is focused upon moving passengers, luggage and bikes to and from the five Sections of the Hauraki Rail Trail.

Their fleet comprises of an 11- seater van and bike trailer, to transport larger groups of riders and bikes. There’s also a modern utility, capable of transferring up to three riders and bikes. Operating 7 days a week, they offer individual transfers based on a ‘first in first served’ pre-arranged time, rather than a set time on a rotation basis.

Having commenced working on the Trail in October 2019, they are also co-owners of Paeroa based Hauraki Bike Hire with Mike & Trina Tansey. The business partnership began in December 2020, when the parties saw an opportunity to combine services, and provide a one-stop shop for their customers.

We caught up with Wayne and Christine to hear about the range of services on offer. How the business has been affected by Covid-19. And with New Zealand’s borders re-opened where visitors are coming from. Tapping into their broad knowledge of the region, we were also keen to hear what adventures they would tack on when riding the Hauraki Rail Trail.


Photo: Wayne & Christine Laurenson


Tell us about the services and Tours you offer

Valley Tours & Transfers offer a range of services. There are self-guided tours available for those who want our support getting around the Trail from different locations. We also offer Bespoke Tours, to suit our customer’s requirements. This might include arranging accommodation, bike hire and luggage/bike transfers.

We also support other tourist operators outside of the Hauraki Rail Trail area, who require additional resources. Looking to the future, once life gets back to some form of normality with the COVID disruptions, we will be planning day trips for groups. There are so many great places to explore within close proximity to Paeroa.


Photo: Adventures with Valley Tours & Transfers


What proportion of your customers are local, or visiting the region from across New Zealand?

The highest proportion of our customers are from outside of our region, notably Auckland and the Wellington/Hawkes Bay regions. There has also been an increase in customers travelling here from the South Island.


How were you affected by the border closure, and have things improved now they are open?

The border closure had a huge effect on our business, to the point where we put it on hold and secured full-time employment. We were in a good position to do this as our overheads were not high, and we kept our presence in the market place for when the border opened.

We’re now getting enquiries from the Australian market in particular, which is heartening. We feel very fortunate to have understanding employers, who allow us the flexibility to continue operating when we receive bookings.


Photo: Out on the Trail with Valley Tours & Transfers


Why would you encourage people to ride the Hauraki Rail Trail?

The Rail Trail is a fantastic opportunity to experience the outdoors for all ages and fitness levels, and in particular family groups. The varied and easy terrain makes it ideal for riders of all backgrounds to have a fun day out, or a weekend of exploring areas not available by road.


There are economic benefits when our visitors stay and play for longer. What other adventures would you recommend they tack on to their Hauraki Rail Trail experience?

The obvious ones for me would be the Pūkorokoro-Miranda Shorebird Centre, Karangahake Gorge Loop Walk, Goldfields Railway and the Martha Mine Pit Rim walk. We also recommend a bike/hike option, where we drop customers off at Dickey Flat, and from there they join the Pipeline Walk through to the Windows Walk, and finish at the swing bridge at Karangahake Gorge Reserve. We have their bikes waiting for them to ride either to Waihi or Paeroa.


Photo: Goldfields Railway


The Te Aroha Mineral Spas are a Must Do, along with exploring the many walks available from the Te Aroha Domain. The sculptures dotted around the township are also a pleasant and quirky surprise.

Thames is really easy to explore on foot or by bike, and is rich in history. Paeroa also has much to offer visitors, and has a large range of good quality eateries. Take a walk up Primrose Hill. Factor in some time to explore the Historical Maritime Park. Stop for a photo at the 7 metre high Lemon & Paeroa drink bottle, and join the commemorations of enduring love for our iconic Kiwi drink.


Photo: Historical Maritime Park 


If you’re considering undertaking a multi-day ride and would like support, you can contact the Valley Tours & Transfers team here. You can also check out our 3 Day Rides and 5 Day Ride to help plan your adventure. Whether you’re interested in nature, history, food or art, there’s a Ride Experience for everyone.


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