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The definitive where-to-ride guide for cycling in New Zealand

Hauraki Rail Trail

New Zealand Cycle Trail

Coromandel, North Island

Planning on riding the Hauraki Rail Trail? Contact us for help in planning your itinerary and booking your trip or book yourself on a two night, one day Hauraki Rail Trail Escape. Looking for bike hire on the Hauraki Rail Trail? Click here for bike hire from Paeora, Waikino, Thames or Te Aroha

The two-three day, 77 km Hauraki Rail Trail will follow the path of two historic railway lines while taking in some of the best scenery in New Zealand. A mild, local climate, an easy trail gradient and its close proximity to Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga make it a fantastic weekend activity for many North Islanders and international visitors. 

The Hauraki Rail Trail can be accessed from Thames, Paeroa, Waihi, or Te Aroha, and the trail also offers a range of shorter riding options, including day rides. The trail can be ridden year-round. In the cooler months, cyclists will be especially appreciative of the link from Paeroa to Te Aroha where an evening soak in the luxurious Te Aroha Mineral Spas will be the great way to end the day.

Keen cyclists could very easily ride this trail in one day - if this is your approach, we recommend starting in Thames and riding through to Paeroa. This flat section through local farmland can be completed in under two hours - including a stop for coffee if you're so inclined. From Paeroa, the trail gradually climbs up the fantastic Karangahake Gorge to the old railway station in Waikino. Here you can refuel and get ready for a fast downhill back toward Paeroa. This section is the highlight of the trail and features a 1.2 km tunnel - don't forget your headlight! From Paeroa, it's another 21 kms through farmland to Te Aroha where a hot soak in the thermal pools awaits you. 

Sections of the Hauraki Rail Trail include:

Thames to Paeroa - 33 km

Thames to Paeroa follows the old rail route while enjoying the beauty of the Coromandel Range and visiting the ubiquitous L&P Bottle of Antique Town - Paeroa. This is a fairly flat section that passes through quiet countryside.

Paeroa to Waihi - 25 km

Paeroa to Waihi takes cyclists through the Karangahake Gorge to Waikino via a mixture of rail corridors and existing walkways. Riding through the stunning Karangahake Gorge - one of the “14 Wonders of New Zealand” - is a major highlight. Cyclists enjoy breathtaking views, the opportunity for tramps and visiting historic gold mining attractions in Waikino. The cycle trail shares the walkway from Karangahake to Waikino along the tunnel route. A highlight of this section is the impressive 1.2 km tunnel. 

Paeroa to Te Aroha - 21 KM

Paeroa to Te Aroha This 'Kaimai Express Trail' links the main section of the trail to the epic little spa town of Te Aroha. After a 20 km ride from Paeroa, cyclists will be greeted with heaps of accommodation options, great local mountain biking and natural hot soda spas to relax in after a long day on the trail. Te Aroha is also very well situated with ample mountain biking opportunities in the Kaimai Ranges.

The Hauraki Rail Trail is a Grade 1 ride - making it ideal for families and inexperienced cyclists. There are a variety of accommodation options, cafes, things to do and fantastic New Zealand scenery along the entirety of the trail.


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Post your comment


  • Hello! We are eager to take this trip soon. I need to know about the trail surfaces.
    My disabled husband rides a recumbant, which can only manage paved or shingle surfaces, not gravel, and not super-narrow or steep (eg he is fine on Orewa, Whangerie and Napier trails). Grade One, I guess - the fam\ily-friendly trails.
    Please advise the best parts of this route for his needs.
    Thank you!!! Claudia Bell

    Posted by Dr Claudia Bell, 10/11/2014 3:55pm (5 months ago)

  • we have a b@b on the way into Waihi. some comments from riders. 2 days trying to get someone to answer phone. Vague knowledge of shuttle bus service. Last weekend no tickets at Waihi station and Waikino ticket closed. they waited 45 mins for office to open and then as they were cycling back no one to clip tickets. just as well they were honest, kids got fed up. group of 34 walkers in rail tunnel ,cyclists refused to give way, a sign saying who gives way to who!!
    Organizer of walking group rang cycle trail office very angry. Girl said it is a cycle trail you know!! No its not it was a walking track years before it was a cycle. Lots of families walk the tunnel with small kiddies a accident waiting to happen, thanks Anne

    Posted by anne ashdown, 28/12/2013 10:40am (1 year ago)

  • please correct the spelling of Waikino......
    The small things do matter on a web page.

    Posted by jojo, 11/07/2013 9:04pm (2 years ago)

  • Hi, no big deal re distance; various official websites give Kopu-Wakino at 40km, and your own website shows Thames-Waikino via Paeroa at 47km. 7km Thames-Kopu seems right. The 24km for Paeroa-Te Aroha is on the trail signpost at the start as you leave Paeroa. Did the constructors get paid by the km?.

    Posted by Paul Dyer, 26/03/2013 1:25pm (2 years ago)

  • Hi Paul -- cheers for the feedback, glad you've enjoyed the trails!

    No sure where we show Kopu to Waikino at 40km? I've just checked the GPS from our ride last month though and that seems pretty spot on! Regarding Paeroa to Te Aroha, we have that listed at 21kms, which according to my GPS data is also pretty accurate!

    Posted by Matt, 11/03/2013 4:45pm (2 years ago)

  • Hi
    Rode the trail for the second time this weekend. Since doing it last year they have removed the frequent narrow metal gates that forced you to get off the bike (we'd previously counted 28 between Kopu-Paeroa). What a difference! On a sunny day it was pure pleasure, a nice continuous ride.

    One thing; I wonder if the trip distances are over-stated? e.g. Kopu to Waikino is given as 40km. I did it in under 2.5hrs and my trip meter said 30.1km (it has been spot on for both the Otago and Hawkes Bay trails). I certainly wasn't averaging 16kph. Similarly Paeroa-Te Aroha is given as 24km. But various sources list the road as 18-21km, and since the trail follows the road closely (perhaps straighter) its hard to believe the difference.

    It is an easy ride. I'm 50, but managed to rack up 80km in a single day. Will definitely be back for more. Paul.

    Posted by Paul Dyer, 10/03/2013 9:35pm (2 years ago)

  • Hi,
    It has been great meeting all the cyclists on the Paeroa- Te Aroha section of the cycleway. We are 14 kms from Te Aroha and provide a restful break in lovely gardens where we serve Devonshire Teas to appreciative cyclists.
    These cyclists have recommended your website to us.
    Ron & Margaret Tyrrell

    Posted by The Depot Garden, 09/02/2013 1:06pm (2 years ago)

  • Hi David & Stu, cheers for the comments here. We've just made some changes to the ride-write up and will get more detailed maps next month when we're riding the trail!

    Posted by Matt, 23/01/2013 2:53pm (2 years ago)

  • The comments below from Stu Owers regarding trail distances are my only request.
    David Forsyth

    Posted by David Forsyth, 22/01/2013 8:29pm (2 years ago)

  • Hi Guys,

    It would breat to see ore specific information on exactly where these trails begin and how long each leg is. It all looks good but the info is vague and short on any useful detail.

    Posted by Stu Owers, 09/11/2012 2:49pm (2 years ago)

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