Photo credit: Matamata landscape with view towards Mt Te Aroha - @oakleyoriginals on Instagram
Double your fun and time on the Trail by making the most of the things to see and do along the way. Whether it's short detours to waterfalls, a soak in a spa, or delicious food to keep you going. The Hauraki Rail Trail offers plenty of opportunities to slow down the pace, hop off the bike and add to the memories of a great day.
With this in mind, we've put together a ride between Te Aroha and Matamata, which includes places of interest and great options to fuel hungry tummies. As New Zealanders look to explore their own country, we hope you'll enjoy supporting the wonderful businesses along the newest section of the Rail Trail.
If 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.
Photo credit: Swimzone Te Aroha
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: Sculptor Adrian Worsley Daschund Bike Stand and Water Fountain, Te Aroha township
If you’re overnighting in Te Aroha before your ride, the family friendly Te Aroha Holiday Park offers a unique country camping experience in one of New Zealand’s few remaining traditional holiday parks in the Waikato. Set in beautiful rural settings, surrounded by dairy farms and views of Mount Te Aroha, there are plenty of biking and tramping tracks.
If you 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 credit: Adventure Te Aroha
This gentle section of trail passes by fertile plains, significant horse studs, goat farms, and groves of scented trees. The Old Forge Kitchen in Te Aroha West takes its name from the history of the site and will set you up for the day. The 120 seat cafe/restaurant is open 7 days from 7am - 3pm. A full selection of cabinet food, brunch and lunch menus, and great coffee is available, and there's plenty of parking for cars and bikes.
Alternatively, Café 77 is situated right on the Trail half way between Te Aroha and Matamata, in what was once the old derelict Manawaru Dairy Factory. Welcoming cyclists not only for great food, coffee and drinks, there’s also a wide range of bike racks, an air compressor and bike tool kits to keep you comfortable on your journey. There’s free Wifi and plenty of off road vehicle parking to use as the start or end point to your day on the Trail. Within the lovely landscaped grounds there is also a Motorhome and Caravan Park if you're looking for somewhere to stay.
Photo: Cafe 77
If you have time to spare after your ride, factor in a visit to the mesmerising Wairere Falls found nearby the trail just before Matamata. 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 Housewithnonails has been host to visitors from all over the world, providing a truly luxury experience. Sitting quietly in its beautiful location in Wardville, the totally handcrafted barn is unlike any other homestay in New Zealand. Riders can stop for coffee and cake and learn about the unique home. Contact host Jen to discover options for quick visits, event hosting, pop up gigs and overnight stays.
Stop off at The Firth Tower which was built in 1882 by Josiah Clifton Firth and which stands on rising ground commanding extensive views. Visitors can enjoy the tranquil gardens, picnic under venerable oaks and explore the museum displays housed across 13 buildings.
Photo credit: @housewithnonails on Instagram
End your ride in Matamata, a rural town nestled at the base of the scenic Kaimai Ranges. It offers a range of walking options, golf courses, and an extensive selection of Cafés and Accommodation, making it a great place to unwind or stay after riding the Trail.
Make a splash with the whole family at Swim Zone Matamata. The heated pools and outdoor spa provide the perfect place to relax for all ages. Hire the BBQ, relax and unwind, or if you’re feeling energetic, try one of the Hydro Fit classes.
Celebrate the end of your ride at the Good Merchant, a modern provincial pub in the heart of Matamata offering great food and locally brewed craft beers and ciders. Located in a former farm supply depot, the pub continues this fine tradition replenishing and refreshing locals and travellers alike.
Photo credit: Good Merchant
Exclusive tours of the Hobbiton Movie Set can be organised for groups, recounting fascinating details of how the beautiful Waikato farmland was transformed into The Shire from Middle-earth. Visitors can enjoy a Festive Feast lunch or alternatively the Evening Banquet Tour at dusk includes a banquet feast fit for a Hobbit.
You can find all Official Partner businesses for Section E below.
Matamata i-SITE - 45 Broadway, Matamata, New Zealand.
Ph: 07 888 7260
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