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​ ​ Tour 4 - The Great Hauraki Rail Trail Tour

4 day Self-guided Complete Hauraki Rail Trail Cycling Experience from Miranda, 

via Thames, Paeroa, Waihi to the Spa Town Te Aroha.

Day 2

This richly historic area was once only accessible via the two rivers, Waihou and Hikutaia. The section of trail begins at first following the old railway line out of Thames town and through lush farmland with memorable views across the Hauraki Plains and forested Kaimai Ranges. Starting in Thames you ride through our beautiful countryside passing small rural communities enjoying the back-country Kiwi experience. Have morning tea at the award winning Matatoki Cheese Barn, and just 45-60 mins in to your journey. Then ride on to your first destination, the historic town of Paeroa, where the ‘world famous in New Zealand’ L&P (Lemon and Paeroa) drink was founded, a true kiwi icon. Paeroa is also the ‘Antique’ town of New Zealand. You will have time to browse the quirky antique shops. Overnight stay in Paeroa.

Day 4

Ride back to Paeroa through the dramatic Karangahake Gorge which gives you another chance to stop at the many breathtaking spots. From Paeroa you head then on to Te Aroha, 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 Kaimai-Mamaku Ranges and Mt Te Aroha (952m The Mountain of Love), and expansive views over the Hauraki Plains are a feast for the eyes. Te Aroha is a small and rural town.  Its historic mineral spas are a great way to soothe pedal-weary muscles. Te Aroha has a lovely town domain, and is home to some great walkways, quirky art and cafes. A shuttle will take you back to Thames departing at 4pm.

Included Services:

  • Bike hire incl. instructions
  • Helmet, Lock & Bike Bag Hire 
  • Map and travel tips
  • Meal voucher for the Bugger Cafe
  • Meal voucher for Matatoki Cheese Barn 
  • 2x Meal voucher for lunch at the Waikino Station Cafe
  • Overnight accommodation in Thames (Double/Shared twin room)
  • Overnight accommodation in Paeroa (Double/Shared twin room)
  • Overnight accommodation in Waihi (Double/Shared twin room)
  • Luggage Transfers
  • Shuttle from Thames to Miranda/Kaiaua on day 1
  • Shuttle from Te Aroha to Thames at 4pm on day 4

Price:

E-Bike: NZ$ 1,699 pp

Standard Bike: NZ$ 1,599 pp/Children up to 12 years NZ$ 1,499

Optional:

  • Price with tour guide on request
  • Pre- or post-nights NZ$200/night
  • Gold Discovery Centre entry from NZ$25 pp
  • Mineral Spa Pools Te Aroha from NZ$22 pp
  • Kayak Tour Te Aroha from NZ$45 pp

Experience the highlights of the Hauraki Rail Trail

Day 1

Pick up your bikes from our JollyBikes store in Thames. A shuttle will take you to the Pūkorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre, Miranda where you can begin your ride. At the Pūkorokoro–Miranda Shorebird Centre you can learn about the area’s precious birdlife and incredible feats of the Godwits annual migration.  Bird-hides offer the chance to view the shorebirds up close, and identify the various migratory species. From Miranda Holiday Park, the trail skirts around the Firth, following stop banks for much of the way.  Expansive views of coastal wetlands, verdant farmland, and the volcanic Coromandel Ranges provide a dramatic backdrop. The Sculpted Metal shop at Waitakaruru is worth visiting, on the opposite side of the road is a country store for ice-cream which is treat in the hot summer days. Have lunch at the Bugger Cafe which is a very popular spot for good food. From the Kopu Bridge the trail turns north to reach Thames.  Built on the pioneering industries of gold mining and kauri logging, it’s full of character with plenty of dining and accommodation options.  As you approach the town centre, stop and enjoy the many sculptures along the community’s Arts Trail. Overnight stay in Thames.

Day 3

The most popular section of the Rail Trail follows the Ohinemuri River through the dramatic Karangahake Gorge. A deep canyon cut through the Kaimai Ranges. This distinctly different  landscape includes the cascading Owharoa waterfall, photogenic gold mining sites, the charmingly old-fashioned Victoria Battery museum, and freaky Windows Walkway that burrows through a shadowy side-gorge. The pièce de résistance is an amazing 1100-metre long railway tunnel, wobbled through with the aid of a torch or headlamp. Halfway is Waikino Station where there’s a charming railway cafe. Enjoy lunch at the Waikino Station Cafe where you can enjoy amazing food. When you reach Waihi you will put everything you saw into perspective by visiting the Waihi Gold Discovery Centre. Don’t rush - you are cycling through here again the next day.

Duration:

  • Day 1: 6-7 hours (incl. lunch stop), 42 km
  • Day 2: 4-5 hours (incl. lunch stop), 34 km
  • Day 3: 6-7 hours (incl. walks/attractions), 24 km
  • Day 4: 6-7 hours, 47 km

Fitness level: Moderate (long hours in the saddle)

Group size: Min. 2 people

Recommendations:

Check out the bird-hides in Miranda. If you time it right, you might be in for a free guided bird walk. Visit the Sculpted Metal shop at Waitakaruru with its quirky art. Have a short stop at the Kopu bridge looking back at Thames giving you a fantastic view. In Paeroa visit the L&P cafe and the giant L&P bottle for a photo. Enjoy the NZ bush and the Gold-mining history in the Gorge by doing the Windows Walkway (approx. 45 minutes - 1 hour). Have a quick stop at Owharoa Falls to take in the beauty of nature. If you start early on day 4, reaching Te Aroha around lunchtime, you might want to take a short hike up Whakapipi Lookout (approx. 45 minutes one-way on Mt Te Arhoa Summit Track) to enjoy a breathtaking view over Waikato. Alternatively, you can relax in a mineral spa pool (bookings essential) or stroll through the old thermal bath domain or take a walk through the Te Aroha wetlands, a short walk away from the town centre.

 

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