Planning on riding the Hauraki Rail Trail? Contact us for help in planning your itinerary.
The two-four day, 173 km Hauraki Rail Trail follows 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 alike.
The Hauraki Rail Trail comprises of five sections (four of which are open as of August 2018). The trail therefore also offers a range of shorter riding options, including easy day rides which can be ridden year-round. In the cooler months, cyclists will be especially appreciative of the links to Te Aroha where an evening soak in the luxurious Te Aroha Mineral Spas is a great way to end the day.
Keen cyclists could easily ride this trail in two days - if this is your approach, we recommend starting in Kaiaua and riding through to Waihi on day one (100km). Although a sizeable distance, the track is flat and generally fast. The trail takes you along the beautiful coastal section to Kopu, south through valley farmland, before finishing with the stunning Karangahake Gorge (including a 1.2km tunnel - don't forget your headlight!). Day two takes you back through the Gorge to Paeroa (a section worth the return journey), before continuing south to Te Aroha, and - if you have the energy - another 37km on to Matamata (92km in total). The i-site in Matamata is worth a visit for any Lord of the Rings fans.
Sections of the Hauraki Rail Trail include:
Section A: Kaiaua to Thames (55 km)
The Seabird Coast takes you past a wetland of international significance, with great views over the Firth of Thames. Call in at the Pukorokoro/Miranda Shorebird Centre to learn more about the avian diversity, or on a cold day, stop for a hot soak at Miranda Hot Springs.
Section B: Thames to Paeroa (34 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.
Section C: Paeroa to Waihi (24 km)
The Karangahake Gorge trail takes cyclists through to the historic station of Waikino via a mixture of rail corridors and existing walkways. Riding through the stunning Karangahake Gorge is a major highlight of this section. Cyclists enjoy breathtaking views, the opportunity for side walks, and can visit the historic gold mining attractions in Waikino and Waihi. This section includes an impressive 1.2 km tunnel.
Section D: Paeroa to Te Aroha (23 KM)
The 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 and the natural, hot soda spas to relax in after a long day on the trail. Te Aroha also has ample mountain biking opportunities in the nearby Kaimai Ranges.
Section E: Paeroa to Matamata (37 km, under development)
Paeroa to Matamata is a new section that should be under construction in the near future. Quiet back roads can already take you through lush dairy farm country towards Matamata, the accessway to Hobbiton. Check back regularly for updates on this link!
The Hauraki Rail Trail is an easy and accessible Grade 1 ride - making it ideal for families and inexperienced cyclists of all ages. There are a variety of accommodation options, cafes, things to do and fantastic New Zealand scenery along the entirety of the trail.
HRT Supporter Bands are now available for purchase for $5 from many of the local businesses. Funds go to the trail trust, to support ongoing maintenance and development. We encourage riders to purchase a wrist band to show your support.