Hauraki Rail Trail

An easy ride through the gorgeous and ever-changing landscapes of the Firth of Thames, the Hauraki plains and the impressive Karangahake Gorge - an area that is chock full of history from the gold-mining era. The trail follows the original rail route through the region, and the gentle terrain makes it one of the best biking trips in the country for families.

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Activity in brief

56 - 104 km
2 - 3 days
Start - End:
Kaiaua - Waihi
Shuttle Bus

Terrain: An easy trail. Wide and smooth with mostly gentle gradients

Accommodation: Motels, B&Bs

Nearest Town: Thames, Paeroa, Waihi

Activity Overview

This peaceful corner of the North Island, located halfway between Auckland and Tauranga, has some lovely and diverse scenery. The Firth of Thames coastline is an area of great importance for rare shorebirds such as the bizarre-beaked wrybill, while the green plain leading from Thames down to Paeroa is definitive big sky country. The highlight of the trail is the stunning Karangahake gorge, which draws you into the fascinating and historic gold mining region full of interesting relics and a working mine at the end of the trail in Waihi. 

The track is wide, smooth, generally flat and easy going. It's suitable for all abilities and is also a really great option if you want to ride with younger children. Accommodation is provided in really well appointed motels or B&B's along the trail, and to make it even easier and more relaxing for you we can also organise luggage transfers! 


Personalised Itineraries

Personalise your Hauraki Rail Trail Ride:

We can help organise your ride on this trail in which ever way suits you the best - you may prefer to take a bit more time, or add in extra sections or just do one section as a day ride.

If you want to ride the trail with children we can advise on the best route too.

Contact us to find out more!

Include the Hauraki Rail Trail in your unique Multi-Activity Trip:

You can combine this ride with any other activity on this website to create your own unique itinerary.

When you develop your own tailor-made itinerary with us, it's fully customised with your choice of activities, accommodation and transport around New Zealand - Click here for more information about Multi-Activity Trips or Enquire Now to get started.

Three Day Ride
  • All Accommodation and transportation included.
  • Opt for standard or e-bike hire if required.
  • All luggage transfers between accommodation included.
  • Add-on historic Goldfields Railway trip to finish your adventure!

Day One: Kaiaua to Thames (47km). Your Hauraki Rail Trail adventure begins in the main regional town of Thames where you meet your transport out to the start of the trail in Kaiaua. You also pick up your rental bikes and other equipment here too if necessary. You are then dropped either at the start of the trail at Kaiaua, or if you prefer, a little closer to Thames at the Pukorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre. From here you meander back along the easy, flat coastline back to Thames for your first night on the trail. 

Day Two: Thames to Paeroa (34km). The next day is another cruisey one: you follow the old railway corridor south through farmland towards the pleasant country town of Paeroa, and your second night on the trail. On the way it's well worth stopping off for your morning break at the award winning Matatoki Cheese Barn (especially if you're a cheese lover!).

Day Three: Paeroa to Waihi (24km). On your final day you strike east to work your way along the sublime Karangahake Gorge to Waihi. Even though the distance is shorter on this leg of the route, there are lots of reasons to get off the bike - for example the "windows" walkway though tunnels created by miners and the historic Victoria Battery - so allow plenty of time. If you do run out of steam you can pick up the vintage Goldfields Train at Waikino for the last 8km to Waihi. At Waihi you will be picked up and returned to Thames.

Pricing: Three Day Ride

From NZD$595 per person including accommodation, transportation and luggage transfers.
Three Days Bike Hire: From NZD$165 per person for a standard touring bike OR from NZD$315 per person for an e-bike.
Goldfields Railway: From NZD$17 per person one way.

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Activity Planning

When to go

This trail can be completed year round. The climate in this part of the North Island is generally pleasant with plenty of warm weather in the summer. Rain is more likely in the hilly areas of the Karangahake gorge.


What to bring

Bike - touring bike, mountain bike or e-bike plus helmet, panniers, spares etc.

Sneakers, light waterproof hiking shoes or biking shoes


Light waterproof jacket

Bidon (Water bottle)


Insect repellant

First-aid kit


Communication device

Accommodation on the trail

Your choice of luxury B&Bs and motels*:




Thorold Country House

This special Bed and Breakfast is situated on 6 acres of native bush and farmland close to the trail. Wide verandas open onto manicured lawns, down to the pool and the delightful subtropical garden oasis. Dinner is available including a selection of fine wine and delicacies sourced locally.

Brookby Motel

Tucked away in a quiet residential lane away from the main road yet only a five minute stroll to central Thames shops, restaurants and caf├ęs. The tastefully decorated rooms are exceptionally clean with all the comforts of home. Have a cuppa on the balcony overlooking the brook, relax watching 50+ channel SKY TV or keep in contact via free WiFi.



The Villa

Nestled on over an acre of land yet located just minutes from the town centre, this is the perfect place to relax after a day on the trail. This stunning renovated villa is full of history - it was built around 1890. The accommodation is separated from the main house and has its own bathroom, lounge and kitchen/dining. There are bike racks, a large deck with full afternoon sun, free WiFi and continental breakfast is included.

Pedlars Luxury Motel

This newly built premium motel is situated in the heart of Paeroa. Located right beside the trail, indulge yourself in immaculate superior accommodation that offers the latest in stylish architectural design. All units have private, high quality en-suite facilities, kitchenette in studios, and full kitchen in Family Units, digital Sky TV, and each unit is fully air-conditioned.

*If there is no availability at your preferred choice of accommodation we will contact you to discuss other options before you commit to booking the trip.


Accommodation in the Thames region

We can organise your accommodation in the wider region for before and after your bike ride if you wish. Please let us know what sort of accommodation you are looking for when you make your booking for this activity, and we can discuss the options with you.

Three Day Bike Ride - Shuttle Bus

If you are starting the trail at Kaiaua, you will be transported there from Thames on the morning of your first day (if necessary, you also pick up your rental bikes at the same place). When you finish your ride at Waihi you will be picked up and returned to Thames. You can also get a shuttle out to any part of the track if you want to skip a certain section - contact us for more information.


There is a beautiful vintage railway running the 8km between Waikino and Waihi along the Karangahake Gorge which takes bikes. A great option if you’ve run out of puff!

Route Map
Get in touch

For more information about us or our services contact us on
+ 64 3 390 1584
or email us at [email protected]

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