Double your fun in the saddle by combining all the great things to see and do along the way. Whether it's short riverboat rides, mineral spas, or mouth watering food to keep you going, the Hauraki Rail Trail offers plenty of opportunities to hop off the bike and make the most of your ride.
With this in mind, we've put together a ride between Paeroa and Te Aroha, 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 short and easy section of the Rail Trail.
Photo: Te Aroha Township
From Paeroa it’s an easy journey down to the township of Te Aroha. Heading south, this leisurely section passes through lush Waikato farmland dotted with dairy cows and farm animals. The magnificent Ranges separate the Waikato in the West from the Bay of Plenty in the East.
Before setting off, make time for a visit to the Historical Maritime Park. As New Zealand’s only inland port, the Museum has significant links dating back to pre-European settlement and the arrival of Captain James Cook in 1769 aboard HMS Endeavour.
The port was the main catalyst in the expansion of the Waihi gold mines prior to the introduction of the railway in 1905. This important collection of Maritime history relates to the role Paeroa played as a port for unloading mining machinery and equipment in the late 19th century.
A recent upgrade of Wharf St in Paeroa now links to a purpose-built community jetty on the Ohinemuri River. There are pontoons, a boardwalk and new riverboat to ferry people and bikes between the Maritime Park and Wharf St.
Photo credit: Historical Maritime Park
A good option before finally leaving Paeroa is The Refinery Cafe. Promising Mt. Atkinson coffee, food and smiles, The Refinery is firmly set in the history of the area, with the building originally commissioned as the National Bank Gold Refinery in 1914.
Massive concrete walls, double height stud capped with huge timber beams and Rimu roof structure certainly fitted the grandeur of purpose. The large, light filled space is cosy and welcoming, with armchairs and a roaring fire over winter and rustic outdoor tables and ivy covered walls in summer.
Read a book over coffee or browse the huge collection of vinyl and put on a song or two. Free range and local produce is offered where possible and the delicious Baking is made on the premises. Choose from the selection of counter food, or the blackboard with new treats added all the time.
Alternatively, for homemade nourishing food, good coffee, a selection of cold drinks and great customer service pop along to the Courtyard Cafe. Offering casual dining in the centre of Paeroa with a bike rack outside, the quiet spacious enclosed courtyard provides a cosy relaxed atmosphere.
The laid back ride under the gaze of Mount Te Aroha (‘the Mountain of Love’) is an easy cycle with views of the Kaimai Ranges down to the township of Te Aroha. This small and rural town has a lovely domain, and is home to some great walkways, quirky art and cafes.
Local Sculptor Adrian Worsley designs and constructs unique and original sculptures entirely from recycled materials from his studio in Te Aroha. Works feature a clever blend of materials and finishes, breathing new life into the inanimate objects around him.
Throughout the town, keep an eye out for Adrian’s artistic flair which also includes a special fit out for the Ironique Cafe. Open 7 days a week they are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, serving freshly prepared and innovative options which cater for everyone.
Photo: Te Aroha - Adrian Worsley Daschund Bike Stand and Water Fountain
Alternatively some of the best organic fair trade coffee, gluten free cakes and delicious snacks to eat in or takeaway can be found at Villa 9 Health & Cafe. There's also a selection of organic produce, gluten free products, dietary supplements, creams lotions and potions, cards and lots more.
When you’re ready to relax, 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. Fun in the heated pools for the kids at neighbouring Swimzone is also guaranteed. Hire the BBQ, relax and unwind, it’s a great place to end the day.
Tack on one of the walks or rides from Te Aroha Domain for some extra off-trail fun. The Mokena Geyser Walk is just a short 80m, with other options varying in length. The Tui Domain Track at 5.5km is the longest, and there are further mountain bike trails too. All of the walks and tracks are listed on signage at the Domain, along with a map.
If you’re staying on longer and have energy to burn, Adventure Te Aroha's river Kayak Tours provide the perfect half day excursion from the Hauraki Rail Trail. From its source at the Blue Springs the Te Waihou winds its way gently northwards. A variety of different tours are offered, and Custom Tours can be tailored to suit needs on request, but must be booked in advance.
Photo: Te Aroha Domain
With Studios, Cottages, Motels, Bed & Breakfast, Lodges and Holiday Parks to choose from, there are plenty of options for all budgets to overnight in Paeroa and Te Aroha.
You can find all Official Partner businesses for Section D below
Te Aroha i-SITE - 102 Whitaker Street, Te Aroha, New Zealand. Ph: 07 884 8052 Email: TinfoCentre@mpdc.govt.nz
« Back to articles