Every bike ride is enriched by the things we can see and do along the way. Whether it's short detours to waterfalls, train rides, or the mouth watering food that keeps us going. The Hauraki Rail Trail offers plenty of opportunities to slow down the pace and hop off the bike.
With this in mind, we've put together a ride between Paeroa and Waihi, which includes places of interest and great spots to fill up hungry tummies. As all New Zealanders look to their backyard with fresh eyes, we hope you'll enjoy supporting the wonderful businesses along this iconic section of the Rail Trail.
Photo credit: @x.escape.reality.x on Instagram - Karangahake Gorge Tunnel
The iconic L&P Café, Bar and Brasserie situated at the north end of Paeroa’s main street is open daily from 8am for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Offering affordable family friendly dining, great coffee, plenty of indoor-outdoor seating and ample parking, make it a great pit stop before setting off on your journey. There’s a fully licensed bar for the end of your ride too.
The most popular section of the Rail Trail follows the Ohinemuri River through the dramatic Karangahake Gorge - a deep canyon cut through the Kaimai Ranges. Home to a spectacular regenerating forest and wildlife paradise, it is an absolute must for any nature enthusiast.
Formerly the Ohinemuri Winery, the Karangahake Winery Estate is located in the Gorge. The Winery and Restaurant are couched in a native bush and formal garden setting above the Ohinemuri River. A 160m track leads from the tunnel entrance on the Trail to the Cellar Door, making it a great place to stop and indulge.
Also in the heart of the Gorge is the Talisman Cafe and Crafts. Gates featuring hand carved fence panels from historic rail tracks take visitors through to the native artistic garden. The cosy unique café offers a large selection of meals, savouries, cakes and ice creams all homemade with love. There’s plenty of spots to park your bike safely while you explore the walkways and waterholes.
The Windows Walk starts in the Karangahake Gorge carpark area and is about an hour round trip. Along the track visitors can observe relics of the many processes that took place in extracting gold. From the tunnels where rock was extracted, to the roasting pits where the rock was broken down, and remnants of the huge stamper battery processing plant.
The stunning staircase Owharoa Falls are nestled in the heart of the Gorge, and make an ideal picnic spot while riding the Trail. If it’s warm enough cool off with a swim in the crystal-clear fresh water. A second lesser known falls can be found upstream for those willing to climb and get their feet wet.
Photo credit: @jarredspec on Instagram - Owharoa Falls
The Falls Retreat is a stunning haven, and an ideal stop. Located just opposite the Owahroa Falls, the venue offers award winning dining and boutique accomodation options. Book ahead to enjoy the Social Pizza Nights on selected Fridays, for those wanting a casual style of dining. Or for a little more luxury, the Paddock to Plate Dining Experience on Saturday evenings is a 4-course degustation menu. Sunday lunches offer the perfect family style set menu.
There are “in-house” dining options available for all overnight guests. This means you can enjoy a 2-course restaurant quality meal in the comfort of your own cottage. A continental breakfast is included as standard, or you can upgrade to a cooked breakfast, both of which are also delivered to the cottages.
The abundance of history, steam trains, mining relics and lush forest make Waikino an ideal place to stay when you ride the Hauraki Rail Trail. The Cottage offers a luxury retreat in a beautifully restored late 1900's gold miner's cottage. There are spectacular views over Mount Karangahake, and the location offers easy access to the Rail Trail for visitors wanting to explore on foot or by bike.
Within easy walking distance of the local historic pub, The Cottage also has secure and covered facilities for bicycles, including a power point for guests needing to charge e-Bikes. Its central Gorge location offers the perfect vantage point to set out on the Rail Trail towards Waihi or Paeroa through the stunning Karangahake Gorge.
As you continue the ride towards Waihi, you'll find 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 towards Waihi follows a picturesque river. The trail is mostly flat, with some gentle undulation through farmland before finishing in historic Waihi township.
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. 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, where there’s plenty of space for parking.
Waihi Station is the only ex New Zealand Railway site in New Zealand that still contains its original buildings. Today the buildings are classified as Category II by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust.
Photo: Waihi Station
Waihi is a picturesque heritage town and New Zealand's 'Heart of Gold', with a gold mining history spanning three centuries and a local open-pit mine that is still fully operational. Visit the Gold Discovery Centre for an interactive experience which makes the gold heritage come alive. Then wander across the street to view Martha Mine up close, and take the tour to experience a modern working gold mine in action.
Photo credit: @jarredspec on Instagram - Cornish Pumphouse, Waihi.
The Waihi Arts Centre & Museum operates as a place for the collection, display and preservation of items of historical interest to the Waihi District, particularly items relating to the underground mining history of the area. Gold was first discovered in Waihi in 1878 and by 1905 Waihi not only possessed the most productive gold mine in New Zealand, but was the largest gold mining town in the country and the third largest inland town in New Zealand.
The Martha Mine Pit Rim Walk is an easy but spectacular walk which begins at the Cornish Pumphouse. It rises gently to the edge of the open pit for the overwhelming view down into the vast chasm. The wide gravel path continues West on an easy gradient around to the highest point on the North wall where the view is breathtaking. Interpretative signs offer interesting facts about Martha Mine as you complete the 4km loop back to the Pumphouse.
The pretty coastal town of Waihi Beach lies just 10 kms to the east of Waihi, at the foot of the Coromandel Peninsula. The beach offers 9 kms of glorious sand, and at its northern end the 145 hectares Orokawa Scenic Reserve offers several short walking tracks along the coast and to Orokawa Bay.
With its boutique stores, cafes and restaurants, Waihi Beach is an ideal place to explore and unwind after your ride. Waihi Beach Paradise Resort has everything for a relaxing stay and to recharge. With a heated swimming pool, spa pools, and two tastefully decorated fully self-contained units just 80m from the beach, it’s a great base to end a busy day cycling.
With Studios, Cottages, Motels, Bed & Breakfast and Lodges to choose from, there are plenty of options for all budgets to overnight in Paeroa, Karangahake Gorge and Waihi.
You can find all Official Partner businesses for Section C below.
Waihi i-SITE - 126 Seddon Street, Waihi. Ph: 07 863 9015 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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