E-Bike: Hauraki Rail Trail & Waikato River

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E-Bike: Hauraki Rail Trail & Waikato River

5 - 9 December, 2021

E-Bike: Hauraki Rail Trail & Waikato River December 2021

An opportunity to enjoy the glorious cycle rides beside the Waikato River and on the Hauraki Rail Trail, plus a breath-taking kayak into the Glowworm Canyon.

Tour at a Glance


$2,295 per person, share twin

$400 single supplement

Tour Date:

5 – 9 December, 2021 



Easy cycling on well formed trails

Tour Leader:


• 4 breakfasts, 1 lunch & 1 dinner
• Glow Worm kayak trip on the Waikato River
• Accommodation as listed in the itinerary
• E-Bike rental, helmet & panniers bags
• Hauraki Rail Trail Map
• Private transport for you, your luggage and the E-Bikes
• Full technical & backup support
• Services of Tours Direct Tour Leader, Mandy Page


• Domestic airfares
• Travel Insurance

Proposed Tour Itinerary

Flexibility is our motto: The quoted cycling distances for each day are based on the day maps which you will be given, and represent the expected riding. An individual can adjust the cycling according to their needs and weather conditions on the day.

Sun 5 Dec Auckland - Ngaruwahia - Hamilton Gardens - Cambridge (27km)

This morning we depart Auckland from the Greenlane Countdown Carpark.

First stop is historic Ngaruawahia, and the place where two rivers meet. The newly developed cycle trail is a joy to ride as we follow the mighty Waikato River. A highlight along the way is the iconic Perry Bridge, one of the longest walk/cycle bridges in New Zealand!

Before we start we will have bike fittings and a practice in the rotunda area; also morning tea and a toilet opportunity. Then, its off and away along the river trail. Our destination is the award-winning Hamilton Gardens; a great place for an independent lunch and an opportunity to stretch your leg muscles as you walk around the themed areas in the gardens. When we are ready we take our private transport to the Cambridge accommodation. Here you will have some leisure time to visit the Cambridge town centre.

We have an early independent dinner and then we gather together to take our transport to the start of the Kayaking adventure. We start from the Epworth camp and kayak our way down a truly beautiful section of the Waikato River to the Pokaiwhenua stream. With stunning twilight lake views, we head under the Pokaiwhenua Bridge and into the glowworm canyon.

Draped with native ferns, the canyon offers a true slice of New Zealand Beauty, and as the light fades away, the unique incandescence of the glowworms starts to shine from the surrounding walls. After a quick glass of some of New Zealand’s finest wines complemented with some tasty cheeses, we can enjoy over the warmth of a campfire, it’s back in the boats, as we drift slowly downstream using only the light from the glowworms. Viewing glowworms from a kayak on the surface of the world is a whole different experience from seeing them inside a cave, like at Waitomo.

Accommodation at the Hidden Lake Hotel, Cambridge

Mon 6 DecCambridge - Lake Karapiro - Matamata - Te Aroha (B) 43km

This morning we cycle from Cambridge to Lake Karapiro.

We have a coffee stop at the Podium Café, with amazing views over the Lake, and then travel by van to Matamata. Whilst we may be on the look-out for hobbits (I don’t think bicycles are featured in Tolkien’s books), we are also going to be cycling on the newly finished cycleway from Matamata to Te Aroha. This is a lovely easy ride past lush Waikato farmland and horse studs.

Along the way we plan to have an independent lunch at the delicious Café 77, Manawaru, nicely situated right by the trail. After lunch its off and away on our bikes to Te Aroha (The Mountain of Love). Te Aroha is a small rural town; its historic mineral spas are a great way to soothe pedal-weary muscles. There is a lovely town domain, some great walkways, quirky art and cafes. This historic town is full of interesting bits and pieces from the colonial days of New Zealand and the gold days.

As a special treat for the group we have a tour with Sculptor Adrian Worsley. He designs and constructs unique and original sculptures entirely from recycled materials in his studio/workshop in Te Aroha.

After all our activities today it will be time for 6 o’clocks and a catch up.

Accommodation at Te Aroha Motel

Tue 7 Dec Te Aroha - Waihi - Paeroa (B) 47km

Today we continue on the Hauraki Rail Trail as we cycle to Paeroa and then on to Waihi. The day begins with a leisurely ride through serene country landscapes beside the Kaimai Ranges.

The trail to Paeroa is easy, through pretty Waikato countryside with curious dairy cows.

When we are ready its off to Waihi. Some say this is the most beautiful part of the Hauraki Rail Trail as it passes through the dramatic and stunning Karangahake Gorge; a deep canyon cut through the Kaimai Ranges. This distinctly different landscape includes the cascading Owharoa waterfall, photogenic gold mining sites, the charmingly old-fashioned Victoria Battery museum, and a 1.1 km long railway tunnel (it is lit but carrying a light will make it easier for you). Halfway along the trail is the Waikino Station where there’s a charming railway cafe. This is the terminus of the Goldfields Railway vintage train which runs between Waikino and Waihi.

Our goal is to have a late lunch at the Ti Tree café, Waihi. After a rest and nourishment we will walk on to Martha Mine to look at this great hole in the ground.

When we are ready we will take our private transport back to Paeroa for the night.

Late afternoon if you have the energy there will be the opportunity to get that iconic picture of you with the huge Lemon & Paeroa Bottle (very close to our accommodation).

Recommended dinner spot: One3One Restaurant (a 2 minute walk from our accommodation).

Accommodation at Pedlars Motel, Paeroa

Wed 8 Dec Paeroa - Thames (B, D) 34km

Today we tackle the Paeroa to Thames section of the Rail Trail. Our aim is to reach Thames township, rich in pioneering and gold-mining history. Along the way we suggest you pop into The Cheese Barn café at Matatoki.

This section of the trail is through rural tranquillity with views of the Hauraki Plains and Coromandel Ranges.

Tonight we will have a farewell dinner together at Grahamstown Bar & Diner (The GBD).

Accommodation at Rolleston Motel, Thames

Thu 9 DecThames - Miranda - Auckland (B,L) 35km

Today we are going to cycle from Thames to Miranda, the trail following the curve of the Firth of Thames. We should have glorious views of the water and the birds.

As we leave Thames you may like to stop and enjoy the many sculptures along the community’s Arts Trail.

We are cycling to the Miranda bird hide to play ‘spot the godwit’.

We visit the Pukorokoro-Miranda Shorebird Centre, where we will enjoy a picnic lunch and then travel back to Auckland.

Your Tour Leader: Mandy Page

Mandy lives in Auckland and is a walker and cyclist. She has led 58 tours for Tours Direct over the last 18 years, and just loves travelling with its adventure and fun. 

Believing that most of the delight of travel is in the journey, Mandy likes to make tours flexible for different levels of fitness and experience.   

In 2019 she was tour leader for a Danube Boat & Bike tour.  Mandy discovered the joy of E-Biking by accident and is now an enthusiastic devotee.  Since then, she has led a number of E-bike adventures in the North and South Island of New Zealand.

On a tour with Mandy you can expect there will be variety and surprises.  

As Mandy says, “A day E-biking is a day of fun and exercise with a smile on your face.  I can think of few things to beat a nice trail, good company and scenery to enjoy.”

Northland, NZ

Want to know more about E-Bikes?

Come and see the Electric Bike Team for Auckland’s greatest range of e-bikes under one roof,and friendly, expert advice! We think these guys are great and have been most helpful with the technical side of E-Bikes and have given us straight forward and honest information.

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