Cycling encourages us to put the brakes on pace, visit iconic attractions, and discover hidden gems often missed by car. Whatever your age, skills or fitness, everyone can enjoy the fun, adventure, and health benefits of biking. Whether you’re a rusty rider, don’t own a bike, or want to ride more often, you too can get out on the trails.
Cycling is gentle on the body as it has a low impact on your joints, making it ideal for keeping fit. Even those of us who experience pain walking can ride a bike, because it isn’t weight bearing. Statistics even show many of us will cycle well into our 70s and beyond.
Cycling improves balance and co-ordination, and burns through those pesky calories. Moderate cycling for 1 hour burns a whopping 500 calories. Begin with moderate trips, building up to more demanding routes as your comfort and confidence in the saddle grows.
If you’re out of practice, go back to the basics - starting, stopping, shifting gears, and turning corners. If you’re a senior rider, or have an injury, Electric Bikes are increasingly popular and provide reassuring back up for any lack of strength or stamina.
Choose your bike wisely by seeking advice from your local bike store. With their expert knowledge they can help narrow the choices. They can adjust your seat position and handlebars, making sure your back, neck and knees aren’t strained.
The Hauraki Rail Trail is one of the easiest cycle trails in New Zealand. Divided into 5 sections, the Trail allows for a range of manageable scenic day rides, or 3 to 4 day touring. As a Grade One cycle trail, the Trail is suitable for all ages, fitness levels, and skills.
Choose a Short Easy Ride
If you’re short on time, or looking for an easy ride, consider exploring the two shorter sections first. Section C - Paeroa to Waihi is 24 kms, and takes riders through the historic and dramatic Karangahake Gorge, past gold mines and through a spooky 1km long railway tunnel. Other highlights include some of New Zealand’s best short walks, the Windows Walk. Cool off with a swim at the tranquil Owharoa Falls, or especially fun for the kids catch a ride on the vintage train from Waikino to Waihi. You can view and download the map here.
Alternatively, Section D - Paeroa to Te Aroha is slightly shorter at 23 kms. This leisurely ride takes riders through lush farmland under the gaze of Mount Te Aroha - the Mountain of Love. Enjoy the serenity of the Kaimai Ranges, and the variety of farm animals long the Trail. Indulge in delicious baking at The Depot Garden, or soak in the mineral spas at Te Aroha. If you’re looking for extra activities hop in a kayak on the Waihou River, or take a Guided Tour and learn more about the history of the area. You can view and download the map here.
Waihi - Waikino (7km one way)
The Goldfields Historic Railway operates a daily timetable between Waihi and Waikino. Riders can take their bike on the steam engine for the 30 minute journey to Waikino Station, where there’s plenty of space for parking. Re-fuel at the cafe and picnic areas in the picturesque Waikino Gorge.
Also to be found are the fascinating sites of Victoria Battery and the Victoria Battery Train and Museum. Here you’ll find many remains from what was once a vast industrial area. The cycle back towards Waihi follows a picturesque river. The trail is mostly flat, with some gentle undulation through farmland before finishing back in historic Waihi township.
Karangahake Gorge Tunnel To Waikino Station (6.6km one way)
Starting at Karangahake Gorge carpark, this ride takes you through the Karangahake Tunnel. The trail winds its way along the edge of the Waitewheta River, offering some of the best scenery of the journey. The track is flat, and the terrain easy.
Cool off at Owharoa Falls with a swim in the crystal clear fresh water. Indulge your appetite at Falls Retreat amidst the trees, or in the rustic restaurant. The trail continues along Karangahake Gorge Historic Walkway, and through the Victoria Battery. Riders can take the steam engine from Waikino Station on to Waihi. You can view and download the map for both rides here.
Get Some Help Planning Your Ride
To help plan your accommodation, bike hire, shuttle transport or guided tour, take a look at the services offered by our Official Partners. There’s a variety of options for all budgets, and with a little help to make your ride more manageable, there really is something for everyone on the Hauraki Rail Trail.
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