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
DAY ONE - HAURAKI RAIL TRAIL
THAMES TO WAIKINO OR WAIHI
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 km 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.
After your days ride we make our way to Out in the Styx Guesthouse, . This is a charming accommodation on the fringe of Maungatautari Mountain. Take some time and visit the world famous Maungatautari Ecological Island Reserve which is right on your doorstep while staying at Out in the Styx.
Within the 47km pest proof fence encircling the bush clad mountain is a smaller southern enclosure with 5kms of well-formed tracks that allow you to discover the bush both day and night (night bookings essential)
Click here for more info.
DAY TWO – WAIKATO RIVER TRAIL
KARAPIRO SECTION AND WHAKAMARU SECTION
11.5kms, 1-2 hours, Grade 2, Easy - You will be collected from Out in the Styx and taken to nearby Arapuni village. Once on the trail take the time to view the 152 metre long swing bridge that crosses the Waikato River to the Arapuni Powerhouse on the opposite bank. Then turn right and take the tree clad trail descending to the river below and cycle the 500m long boardwalk over the Huihuitaha wetlands following the majestic Waikato River to Little Waipa Reserve.
From here you ride for approx. 5kms alongside a picturesque country road to the Pokaiwhenua Bridge and carpark where your shuttle will be waiting. We then visit the vibrant little town of Tirau which boasts a variety of shops and cafes. Take some time to wander and enjoy this iconic settlement before being taken on to the Whakamaru Section starting from Atiamuri.
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 and the peace fulfilling. The surface of the trail alternates between pumice and clay (pumice can be a bit skiddy).
In due course you pass through a delightful camping reserve and on to Whakamaru Dam, cross this and beyond is the tiny settlement of Whakamaru which hosts The Dam café, a dairy and Fred’s Pizzeria. This is the end of your Waikato River Trail experience and the following day you sample the serenity of beautiful heartland bush studded with information boards and relics of earlier times. We travel through to our selected accommodation where an evening meal, clean linen and rest await.
DAY THREE – TIMBER TRAIL
45kms, 4-5 hours, Grade 2 Easy - You are collected and taken to Piropiro Flats which is the halfway point of the Timber Trail, from here you cycle the 45kms along the tramway of the bush locomotives that brought 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 camp where the early sawmillers used to live while working the bush. At the end of the day we return to your accommodation for another evening before returning you to your chosen airport the following day.