A Fun and easy way to visit the stunning regions of the NZ North Island By Bike

Waikato River Trails

Each of these tracks can be ridden individually or a combination. If you are super fit you can cycle the trail as a whole (105km). Each Section offers a variety of distances and difficulty levels.



KARAPIRO TO ARAPUNI 11.5kms, 1-2 hours, Grade 2, (Intermediate) - From Pokaiwhenua Bridge carpark which is 4kms off State Highway 1 on Horahora Rd, follow the trail beside the road for approximately 5kms then turn right into Little Waipa Reserve.


From here you hug close to the mighty Waikato River, then along a 500m long boardwalk over the Huihuitaha wetlands eventually climbing a tree clad track to Arapuni village that sits nestled in the beautiful Waikato countryside above the river. Take the time to view the 152 metre long swing bridge that crosses the river to the Arapuni Powerhouse on the opposite bank.



ARAPUNI TO WAIPAPA (Detour, this section has been closed and a detour put in place) 34.7 kms, 3-4 hours


Leaving Arapuni Village you cross the dam then along Arapuni Rd heading toward Rotognata Rd, Mangare Rd, Huirimu Rd, a slow and gradual climb until you reach Waipapa Rd then its a swift decent to Waipapa Dam 14kms from the turn off to the dam.



WAIPAPA TO MANGAKINO 20KMS, 2-3 hours, Grade 3 (Advanced) - The trail follows the road heading south for a couple of kilometres along the Waipapa Dam; it then leaves the road and descends into a beautiful bush lined gully. Following the river there are a few steep inclines, then into pine plantation this trail takes you past the Maraetai Dam and on into the small township of Mangakino



MANGAKINO TO WHAKAMARU 13 kms, 1.5-2 hours, Grade 2 (Intermediate) - This section starts at Mangakino Recreation Reserve at the end of Lake Rd on the lake front. Heading south hugging the shores of Lake Maraetai you will have a pristine lake on one side and beautiful Waikato farmland on the other.


This trail takes you to Whakamaru Dam, here as you re-join the road you can either turn right and cycle along the path to Whakamaru Village for refreshment or turn left and after crossing the Dam begin on the Whakamaru section.



WHAKAMARU TO ATIAMURI 26 kms, 2-3 hours hours, Grade 3 (Indermediate) - Directly after the Whakamaru Dam heading south the trail begins. Wind your way through a pine studded free camping area to the trail beyond. Here the trail alternates between pumice and clay and hugs so close to the river that you can hear the water lapping as you cycle along.


The trail veers close to the road at times and then back along beside the Lake.  Dunhams Reserve is approx half way along and then there is a combination of native bush and pine forest to the car park at Ataimuri Village.


Getting There

The Waikato River Trails begins approx. 20 mins south of Cambridge on the Horahora Rd. It winds its way following the river linking up once again with SH1 at Atiamuri.



Pokaiwhenua to Atiamuri 

$75 per person min 2

$50 per person 3-5

$40 per person 6+


Waipapa to Ataimuri

$60 per person min 2

$45 per person 3-5

$40 per person 6+


Mangakino to Ataimuri

$60 per person min 2

$40 per person 3-5

$30 per person 6+






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