One of New Zealand’s easiest Great Rides, this trail follows historic railway lines between the quaint towns of Thames, Waihi, Te Aroha and Matamata. The journey combines beautiful scenery with a glimpse into the area’s rich gold mining past. Starting from Kaiaua in the North, the trail traces the Shorebird Coast and riders enjoy contrasting landscapes from the lush Hauraki Plains to the spectacular Karangahake Gorge, and through farmlands to Hobbiton™ Movie Set. The easy gradient makes it perfect for relaxed riding and family adventures.
Guided tours of the trail are available and bike hire, shuttle services and accommodation booking can be arranged. Accommodation ranges from backpackers and B&Bs to lodges, motels and hotels. For more information visit haurakirailtrail.co.nz and check out their blogs for some inspiration: haurakirailtrail.co.nz/blog
- Discover the area’s rich gold mining history
- Explore the spectacular Karangahake Gorge
- Cycle through old railway tunnels
- Enjoy a relaxing soak at the Te Aroha mineral spa after a day of riding
- Kaiaua to Thames, 55km, Grade 1 (Easiest), 5-6 hours - Cycle by coastal wetlands and lush farmland, with the volcanic Coromandel Ranges providing a dramatic backdrop to your ride.
- Thames to Paeroa, 34 km, Grade 1 (Easiest), 3-4 hours - Follow the old railway line out of Thames and through farmland, and enjoy stunning views across the Hauraki Plains and Kaimai Ranges.
- Paeroa to Waihi, 24km, Grade 1 & 2 (Easiest/Easy), 3 hours - Follow the Ohinemuri River through the dramatic Karangahake Gorge, stop off at Owharoa waterfall and explore gold mining sites and the Windows Walkway along the way.
- Paeroa to Te Aroha, 23 km, Grade 1 (Easiest), 2-3 hours - Perfect for a more leisurely ride, this section passes through lush Waikato farmland with views of the Kaimai-Mamaku Ranges, Mt Te Aroha and Hauraki Plains. Choose to start or finish in the historic spa town of Te Aroha, explore the lovely domain and art and refuel in one of the cafes. Why not finish a day of riding having a relaxing soak at the mineral spa.
- Te Aroha to Matamata, 37km, Grade 1 (Easiest), 2-4 hours - This new section of the trail passes through fertile plains and horse studs, and takes in the beautiful Wairere Falls and the Firth Tower. Complete your journey in Matamata with a visit to the Hobbiton Movie Set.