Waikato: New Zealand’s Cycling Heartland
Whether hurtling down forest-clad hills or meandering alongside winding rivers and through rolling farmland, the region’s tracks and trails offer memorable experiences for riders of all fitness and skill levels.
Laid-back riders and family groups will love the sights of the Hauraki Rail Trail and the backcountry adventure of the Timber Trail, while the rugged Waikato River Trails offer excitement for serious mountain bikers and families of intermediate riding ability.
There are shorter rides to enjoy too, from mountain biking on Mount Te Aroha and in the Cougar Mountain Bike Park, to urban adventure on Hamilton’s riverside cycling and walking paths. Family groups will love Te Awa – The Great New Zealand River Ride, while those wanting a compact off-road experience shouldn’t miss Hamilton Mountain Bike Track.
Guide to Waikato cycle trails grading system
- Grade 1 (Easiest) – Flat and suitable for all riders. Surface is either firm gravel or asphalt and trails are wide enough for two people to cycle side by side most of the way.
- Grade 2 (Easy) – Predictable and mostly flat with some gentle climbs. Surface is either firm gravel or asphalt and trails are wide enough for two people to cycle side by side at times.
- Grade 3 (Intermediate) – Can be narrow in sections and may include hill climbs, steep drop-offs and small river crossings.
- Grade 4 (Advanced) – May include steep or narrow track, sections where traction is poor, and obstacles that are difficult to avoid.
- Grade 5 (Expert) – Technically challenging and may include physically demanding climbs, numerous obstacles and narrow track. Some walking and bike carrying may be required.