You are collected from Auckland, Hamilton, Rotorua or Tauranga airports and taken to the beginning of your cycling odyssey by staying at ONE OF OUR SPECIALLY SELECTED ACCOMMODATIONS
This package will take you across the Central North Island from the beautiful East Coast with its iconic towns steeped in gold mining history and its magnificent beaches dotted with pohutukawa trees with their fiery red flowers of the summer months. You will cross coastal plains and enter the rugged Karangahake gorge, enjoy the charm of a Tavern that used to be the social hub of gold mining times or visit the quaint Station Café ideal for a break in your journey. From here you will experience the lush and picturesque farmland of the Waikato district and the majestic beauty of the Waikato River with its many dams as you meander further south following this. You then visit the impressive Pureora Forest and cycle beneath a canopy of ancient podocarp and vibrant birdlife, following a once used bush tramway. Discover the beauty of the Central New Zealand as you cycle our way across this land.
4 nights/4 days
DAY ONE - HAURAKI RAIL TRAIL
As the Hauraki Rail Trail is graded Easy, this is an ideal warm up for this multi trail combo.
Thames to Paeroa, 33kms, 2-3 hours, Grade 1, Easy - Following the elevated historic railway you get a great view across the plains. The Matatoki Cheese Barn and Convenient Cow are two excellent cafes that offer rest and refreshment on your way to the Antique town of Paeroa.
Paeroa to Waikino, 14kms, or Paeroa to Waihi 21kms 1 -2 hours, Grade 1, Easy - From Paeroa follow the trail heading for Waihi, entering the stunning Karangahake Gorge the trail takes you along the Ohinemuri River which was once the focal point of the gold mining era and through a kilometer long disused train tunnel. You pass the historic Waikino Hotel where you might like to stop for a drink and a bite and to absorb the photos and memorabilia of earlier times. After this is the Victoria Battery which was one of the largest quartz ore processing plants in Australasia. A bit further on and the restored Waikino Railway Station and Cafe offer more refreshments with an insight to what life was like in the early 1900's.
From here you can either take the train (with your bikes) for a leisurely ride on to the gold mining town of Waihi (opencast Martha Mine is still in operation). Alternatively you can cycle on to Waihi, or be collected by your shuttle.
DAY TWO – WAIKATO RIVER TRAIL
Here you can start to become a bit more adventurous, the choice is yours. This trail is made up of 5 sections of varying degrees of difficulty. You either continue with the Intermediate graded sections or change it up a gear and put in an Advanced section or two.
Karapiro Section – Pokaiwhenua to Arapuni - Intermediate, 11.5kms
Arapuni to Jones Landing - Advanced, 2.5kms
Waotu to Waipapa Dam - Advanced, 16kms
From Pokaiwhenua Bridge carpark you follow the trail beside the road for a short while. At Little Waipa Reserve you return to the river then cross a 500m long boardwalk over the Huihuitaha wetlands eventually climbing a tree clad track to Arapuni village that sits nestled in the beautiful Waikato countryside above the river. Take the time to view the 152 metre long swing bridge that crosses the river to the Arapuni Powerhouse on the opposite bank. A café in the village is open Wednesday to Sunday for refreshments. Then it’s back on the trail and along the tops of bluffs down to the dam a couple of km from the village. Here you cross the road and ride the 2.5k track to Jones Landing. This part of the trail is fairly steep and is for more experienced riders only, or you could choose to walk the steeper parts. You are then taken up the road to Waotu the steepest point on the trail. Here the trail leaves the road and descends steeply via a series of switchbacks to the river below. Follow the trail through native forest and over the Mangarewa Suspension Bridge then along old logging tracks and pine forest to Waipapa Dam. Blue Tui will be waiting for you.
Whakamaru Section - Intermediate 23kms
Maraetai Section - Intermediate12.1kms
Whakamaru Section 23.5 kms, 2-3 hours, Grade 3, Intermediate. This section of the trail is fairly easy riding and meanders so close to the river at times that you can hear the water lapping. The views of pine studded rocky outcrops against a pristine lake are stunning. The surface of the trail alternates between pumice and clay (pumice can be a bit skiddy). In due course you pass through a picturesque camping reserve and on to Whakamaru Dam, cross this and on your right you will see the entry to the next section, the Maraetai Section. If you wish for some refreshment, beyond this entry and on the same road, just around the corner is the tiny settlement of Whakamaru which hosts a café and small restaurant. After enjoying a drink and some food return the way you came the short distance to the entry for the Maraetai section.
Maraetai Section 12.5kms 1.5 hours, Grade 3 Intermediate. You then carry on hugging the majestic Waikato River on one side and lush farmland on the other the 12.1kms back to the village of Mangakino and your accommodation. This is the end of your Waikato River Trail experience. The following day you will sample the serenity of beautiful heartland bush studded with information boards and relics of earlier times.
DAY THREE – TIMBER TRAIL
Pureora to Piropiro – Indermediate 40kms. Cycle your way through this magical forest of 800 year old trees. You will be taken to experience the majesty and peace of the Timber Trail. From Pureora there is an easy start to the trail, then the trail gradually climbs until you reach the peak at 14kms after this its downhill to your accommodation for the night in the heart of the bush. You will be treated to a hearty evening meal and can relax with views out to the bush and enjoy the night sounds the bush has to offer. Breakfast and a packed lunch for the following day is included.
DAY FOUR – TIMBER TRAIL
Piropiro to Ongarue - a combination of Easy and Intermediate – 45kms
Leaving the Lodge you’ll encounter the longest swing bridge on the trail, the Maramataha suspension bridge (141m long and approx. 60m high) then it’s a short climb to the Terminus where you follow the tramway the bush locomotives used to bring out the native timber to be processed at the Ellis and Bernand mill which operated from 1911 until its closure in 1966. Discover the old viaduct and the impressive spiral and visit the No’s 10 and 11 camps where the early saw millers used to live while working the bush. At the end of the day we return to Auckland
Pickup Auckland International Airport
First night – A motel in Thames – self-cater, Thames has a wealth of restaurants and fast food outlets for your evening meal. Continental breakfast supplied. A variety of lunch break options along the trail.
Second Night - Okoroire or Out in the Styx Guesthouse, Okoroire has an attached restaurant for your evening meal and breakfast. Tirau is an iconic small town with many eateries. Café’s available for lunch stops and Blue Tui will have refreshments on board.
Third Night - Mangakino Hotel. Eateries available and a restaurant for your evening meal. Continental breakfast supplied.
Fourth Night - Timber Trail Lodge - You will sample the serenity of a bush Lodge where you will enjoy an evening meal, breakfast and a packed lunch for your next day in the bush.
Price per person $ 1130 per person.