5 Day (Cruising)
Distance: 197 kms
Trail Status: Open
Fitness: All Levels
Skill: All Levels
Traffic: Light to Moderate
5 Day (Cruising) - 197 kms
This leisurely 5-day ride offers the opportunity to cruise along, and venture off the Hauraki Rail Trail to see some of the attractions and activities the area has to offer. Leave your vehicle at a secure point in Matamata, and take a Shuttle to your start point in Kaiaua.
Day 1 – Kaiaua to Thames (55kms)
Start your journey in Kaiaua. Ride along chenier banks beside the Firth of Thames, taking in the Shorebirds and lush farmlands with magnificent views to the Coromandel Ranges. Discover the incredible journey of the migratory Godwits at the bird-hides of the Pūkorokoro-Miranda Shorebird Centre. Travel south through the RAMSAR wetlands of international significance before reaching the Arts Trail, guiding you into Thames where you’ll find delicious options for food and great accommodation.
Day 2 – Thames to Paeroa (34kms)
Take the morning to explore the gold-mining heritage of Thames before heading east, travelling through verdant farmlands to Paeroa. Stop at one of the many cafes along the trail, including the The Cheese Barn at Matatoki for a sample of the region’s best with a great coffee or wine. Ensure you arrive early into Paeroa to explore the antique shops, and quench your thirst with a bottle of 'Famous in New Zealand' Lemon & Paeroa.
Day 3 – Paeroa to Waihi (24kms)
A whole day can be spent in the Gorge, so take your foot off the pedal as there’s plenty to explore. The majestic Karangahake Gorge offers many treats including Karangahake Winery Estate, and one of the Coromandel’s best restaurants, The Falls Retreat. Pack your togs as you may want to take a dip at one of the swimming spots along the way. There’s historic Waikino Hotel, and old railway station where you can catch the vintage train to Waihi and see a working gold-mine up close at the Waihi Gold Discovery Centre.
Day 4 – Waihi to Te Aroha (47kms)
Enjoy the downhill ride through Waikino back to the Victoria Battery. A museum and underground kilns offer interesting insight into the gold-mining days of the 1900’s. Dip your toes in the pool beneath the Owharoa Falls, where Waka (canoes) used to gather. On the way back you won’t need to pedal through the 1km long tunnel, as the gentle gradient will pull you through. Stop for lunch at one of the cafes or the Waikino Hotel. The afternoon is an easy ride under the gaze of Mount Te Aroha. Explore the artwork of Adrian Worsley in Te Aroha township, and the domain with its geysers and walking tracks. Finish the day with a soak at the Te Aroha Mineral Spa.
Day 5– Te Aroha to Matamata (37kms)
The newest section of Trail takes you through some of New Zealand’s richest farmland. Just 7km out of town you’ll find The Old Forge Kitchen, where delicious fare will set you up for the day. Heading south, you’ll pass the freshly mown grass of goat farms worthy of golf-course status. Crossing over the train-line that cuts under the Kaimai Ranges, a train can be expected every 20 minutes, carrying goods to New Zealand’s largest export port, the Port of Tauranga. Riders pass the impressive Wairere Falls, thoroughbred horse-farms, and Firth Tower with its peaceful grounds and antique displays in the many buildings. Finally on arrival into Matamata (home of the Hobbiton Movie Set) enjoy a well earned rest out of the saddle. Cold refreshments and great food is available at one of the many bars and restaurants, including the Green Dragon Inn but you’ll need to book early.
- The expansive Firth of Thames.
- World renown Wetlands and Shorebird Coast.
- Rich pioneering and gold-mining history.
- Rural Tranquillity with views of the Hauraki Plains and the Coromandel and Kaimai Ranges.
- Antique shopping in Paeroa.
- Explore the dramatic bush clad Karangahake Gorge including the 1.1km railway tunnel.
- Visit the beautiful Owharoa Falls and cool off in one of the swimming holes.
- Take a leisurely ride on the Goldfields Railway vintage train.
- Take the Gold Mine Tour at Waihi Gold Discovery Centre.
- Soak in the mineral baths at the Te Aroha Mineral Spas.
- Book ahead and enjoy an evening tipple at the Green Dragon Inn at Hobbiton Movie Set.