This historic area was once only accessible via the two rivers that run through, The Waihou and the Hikutaia River. The Rail trail follows the old railway out of Thames and through the Hauraki plains country, with views of the Kaimai Ranges. Have morning tea at the Matatoki Cheese Barn and then ride on to your first destination, The town of Paeroa. This was where the ‘World Famous in New Zealand’ L&P drink was founded, a kiwi icon. You will have time to browse the antiques shops of, and then have an overnight stay there.
The most popular section of the Rail Trail is through the Karangahake Gorge following the Ohinemuri River. A deep canyon cutting through the Kaimai Ranges. This area has breathtaking landscapes such as the Owharoa WaterFall. Also through the gorge are many places of historic significance, like the Karangahake mining sites, the Victoria Battery which was erected in 1897 and going past the Windows Walk which sends you through old mining facilities, burrowed in a side gorge. The pièce de résistance is the 1100 meter long railway tunnel which has been repurposed as a bike tunnel, to aid you through riding through the gorge. Halfway down the ride there is the Waikino Station which holds the Waikino Station Cafe, where you can enjoy great food. Once you reach Waihi you can look back on the history by visiting the Waihi Gold Discovery Center. At the end of the day, a shuttle will bring you back to Thames departing at 4pm. There is no rush during the day, You have all day. The trip takes approximately 30 minutes.
- Day 1: 4-5 hours (incl. lunch stop), 34 km
- Day 2: 6-7 hours (incl. walks/attractions), 24 km
Fitness level: Low to moderate (slight uphill towards Waihi)
Trail Condition: Easy straight Gravel Trail
Group Size: Min. 2 people
Have a quick stop at the Kopu bridge to look back at Thames, giving you a great view. Once you are in Paeroa, visit the L&P Cafe and the giant L&P bottle for a photo. Check out the Windows Walkway which is in the Karangahake Gorge to enjoy the bush and to see the Gold-Mining history in the area. (Approx, 45 Minutes - 1 hour). Also have a quick stop at the Owharoa Falls to take in the beauty of the Falls.
- Bike hire incl. instructions
- Helmet, Lock & Bike Bag Hire
- Map and travel tips
- Meal voucher for Matatoki Cheese Barn
- Meal voucher for lunch at the Waikino Station Cafe
- Gold Discovery Centre entry
- Overnight accommodation in Paeroa (Double/Shared twin room)
- Luggage Transfers
- Shuttle from Waihi to Thames at 4pm on day 2
- Panniers are included on request