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Hauraki Rail Trail


The 77km Hauraki Rail Trail showcases New Zealand’s rich pioneering history against a backdrop of stunning rural and mountain scenery. Take two days to make the most of the experience which includes an historic gold mining town, luxurious mineral spas and the spectacular Karangahake Gorge. This easy to ride Grade 1 trail is suitable for all ages, abilities and fitness levels.

There are three distinct sections to the Hauraki Rail Trail. The first stretches 34km from Thames to Paeroa. The trail begins on the Thames Coastal Walkway, a shared path for both walkers and cyclists, at the wharf. You’ll also find a café, takeaway shop and car park here. The trail follows the main highway through farmland before crossing safely under the highway and continuing through the rural landscape. About 12km from Thames you will pass The Cheese Barn Café, which is located 200 metres off the trail, to your left and is well worth a visit. 

A further 10km down the trail you will find the small town of Hikutaia, which has a pub and a popular café called the Convenient Cow. A further 12km along will bring you to Paeroa, a small town, which is world famous in New Zealand for its Lemon and Paeroa soft drink – make sure you try this Kiwi classic. 

The second section of the trail follows 21km of historic railway from Paeroa to Te Aroha through lush green and easy riding farmland. A raised platform from the old railway line offers riders great views across the Hauraki Plains and to the forested Kaimai Ranges as you make your way to Te Aroha. Don’t miss the lovely Devonshire Tea Shop on this leg. The old Te Aroha station is two blocks from the main street, which has cafés and other shops, as well as public toilets and plenty of accommodation options. The Te Aroha Hot Mineral Spas are the perfect way to reward your legs at the end of your ride.

The third section of trail runs 14km from Paeroa through the Karangahake Gorge to Waikino Station. The easy to ride trail follows the beautiful Ohinemuri River and includes a number of bridges and a long railway tunnel set deep into the picturesque gorge. The trail concludes at a café at Waikino Station. Here riders can either take the vintage train or ride the remaining 11km to Waihi. The Karangahake Gorge is steeped in history from the gold-mining era and is one of the most scenic sections of this trail.

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A couple of riders stop to take in a rail tunnel in the Karangahake Gorge on the Hauraki Rail Trail. Photo: Derek Morrison

Insider Tips

  • Make sure to explore Owharoa Falls – a staircase waterfall you’ll discover at the heart of Karangahake Gorge.
  • Indulge in the mineral spas at Te Aroha to revive your legs for the next day. 
  • The Hauraki Rail Trail makes a perfect weekend ride escape for the whole family. 
  • Take some time to visit Historic Creations in Te Aroha where you can view artist Adrian Worsley's amazing recycled sculptures and artworks. His cache of well-organised materials is astonishing. Make an appointment by calling the gallery on (027) 430 5527.

Gallery: Hauraki Rail Trail

Getting There 

The Hauraki Rail Trail is best accessed from Thames. Thames is a one-and-a-half hour drive from Auckland Airport (103km) and a one-and-a-half hour drive from Hamilton (108km). Waihi is a 1-hour drive from Tauranga (61km). You can also access the trail at the southern end in the historic spa town of Te Aroha.

Tell Me More

The Hauraki Rail Trail forms part of the Nga Haerenga New Zealand Cycle Trail, for information on the trails we recommend visiting NZCycleTrail.

Explore more of this region with Destination Coromandel.

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