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Hauraki Rail Trail

Published by Te Puru, Thames 3575 Ph 07 868 2703



The Hauraki Rail Trail Hauraki District Council, Mayor J P Tregidga, MNZM JP

The birth of the Hauraki Rail Trail was part of Prime Minister John Key’s $50m National Cycleway initiative launched in 2009. Hauraki District Council’s initial feasibility report into the cycleway’s route was from Kaiaua to Thames, Thames to Paeroa and Paeroa to Waihi. The Trail showed a possible economic advantage to the area of up to $16 million per annum, which would be a significant benefit. The whole project had a $10.24 million price tag of which Government was committed to providing up to $4 million. The Hauraki District Council has been the project manager for the construction and entered into a funding agreement with Central Government, obtained all the leases and access agreements for the land required for the Rail Trail, taken ownership of all structures built, and obtained all the necessary resource consents and is the principal for all the construction and management contracts. The Hauraki District Council resolved to take the project to the next level, which involved going into more detail regarding work that was needed, funding options and whether a staged approach would be feasible. It involved close communication and consultation with neighbouring land owners, Iwi, neighbouring Councils, Thames Coromandel and Matamata-Piako and the Department of Conservation. The initial governance of the construction of the Rail Trail was undertaken by a Joint Committee comprising the three Mayors of 4 | Hauraki Rail Trail

the Councils and three Iwi representatives. This Joint Committee was constituted to review and give guidance to the Hauraki District Council on decisions regarding the Hauraki Rail Trail. A Hauraki Rail Trail Charitable Trust was set up by the Councils to take over responsibility for the Rail Trail. The Trust is made up of six trustees, three appointed by the Councils (one each) and three Iwi Trustees. They are responsible for the management of the Hauraki Rail Trail. It has now been over two years since the grand opening of the Hauraki Rail Trail on the 5th of May 2011 and it is still very much a successful journey with hundreds of people, young and old, from all over New Zealand and overseas enjoying the Trail’s easy terrain visiting the towns and quaint settlements with the opportunity to get off the beaten track and experience the rural farmlands and the natural beauty of the Karangahake Gorge. New businesses have sprung up in the Towns or along the Rail Trail and are benefitting from the influx of visitors and cyclists. Some existing businesses, like the Waikino Station Cafe, have had to double their resources in order to cope with the extra tourists. It doesn’t matter what time of the day, whether it rains or shines, you will always see someone out and about on the Trail with a smile on their face. The Waikino to Waihi section will be opened in September, and the Kopu to Kaiaua leg is in the investigation stage.

Hauraki Rail Trail New Zealand’s easiest Rail Trail

Welcome to the first Hauraki Rail Trail Magazine from the Team at Hauraki Rail Trail Hauraki Rail Trail is now in its second year of operation as a fully serviced cycle trail. Our new bikes are well equipped with comfortable seats, carrier bags for storing your camera and valuables along with puncture resistant tyres. They can be hired from our base in Thames or one of service centres in Paeroa, Waikino, Waihi or Te Aroha. We also offer scheduled Sherpa bus services to get you back to your car, bag transfers, secure vehicle parking and a Free Accommodation and Trip planning/advisory service. The Hauraki Rail Trail was developed around the Otago Rail Trail Model, but unlike the hugely successful Otago Rail Trail, the

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Hauraki Rail receives no government funding for the maintenance and improvement of the Trail. To generate income in order to maintain and improve the Trail, for all services booked through Hauraki Rail Trail a 15% booking commission goes directly to the Hauraki Rail Trail Charitable Trust, at no extra cost to customers - prices guaranteed. This commission is critical for generating enough money for both maintenance and improvement of the trail. Please support the Trail by booking directly through www. or by phone. All Affiliated Accommodation Providers are listed on our website for your convenience and our new live booking engine is anticipated to be live by early December 2013 to make it as simple as click and book. The newest section of the trail from Waihi to Victoria Battery follows the banks of the Ohinemuri River on one side and lush rolling pastures on the other - not to mention the Trail’s longest Swing Bridge. With the new season underway we have noticed that many of last year’s Rail Trailers are returning and booking our favourite Trip - the 3 day ride followed by the 2 day ride. Due to a shortage of accommodation on the Trail it is advisable to book early to avoid disappointment!!!

New Zealands easiest gradient Rail Trail, a perfect 98Km, 3 day ride only 1½ hours from Auckland, Hamilton or Tauranga Follow historic railway lines from Thames, to Waihi and Te Aroha, cycle through rich farmland and the stunning Karangahake Gorge. The cycleway links historic towns with rich pioneering history, from early timber extraction, gold mining and thermal spa retreats. The perfect Rail Trail Experience from the Coromandel Ranges to the Hauraki Plains.



Free Itinerary Planning & Trail Information Service Free accommodation booking service Bike Hire – Thames, Paeroa, Waikino, Waihi & Te Aroha Secure Car Parking Trail Transport and Baggage Transfers




Ph +64 7 868 5140

Hauraki Rail Trail “The Hauraki Rail Trail gets a massive thumbs up from me” – Rowena Brown.

“Railtrailer” Rowena Brown in Paeroa

Hauraki Rail Trail Excites and Delights A raft of interesting adventures awaits intrepid Hauraki Rail Trail riders, from mind-blowingly, amazing food experiences, to making human connections with those encountered along the way. The trail showcases some of the best scenery New Zealand has to offer and is rich in pioneering history. Cycling through the historic towns of Thames, Paeroa, Te Aroha and Waihi, and the lands that bind them, is an incredible experience. North Islanders, there is no need to jump a flight to the South Island to try cycling when we have a destination like this on our doorstep. The Hauraki Rail Trail was created through a partnership between the Hauraki District Council, Matamata-Piako District Council, Thames-Coromandel District Council, Department of Conservation and Nga Haerenga - The New Zealand Cycle Trail project. The Trail’s popularity blew away the five-year projections in its first year of operation, so much so, that a new trail, from Kaiaua on the naturally significant seabird coast to Thames, will soon be the logical new starting point, for “railtrailers” coming from Auckland. The Hauraki Rail Trail is constantly working on expanding the options it can offer its recreational cyclists. There are three distinct sections to the Hauraki Rail Trail. The trail from Thames to Paeroa (33kms) and Paeroa to Te Aroha (21kms) follows the historic railway formation that runs across lush green farmland. These sections are flat and very easy riding, and the raised platform provided by the old railway line offers 8 | Hauraki Rail Trail

cyclists great views across the Hauraki Plains and to the forested Kaimai Ranges. The third section (22kms) runs from Paeroa, through the stunning Karangahake Gorge, to Waihi. If an outstanding cycling experience, breath-taking natural scenery, picturesque pastoral vistas, and hot mineral spas nurture your senses, then the Hauraki Rail Trail is for you. Leisurely riding the easiest cycle track in New Zealand, in good company, exploring new areas, uncovering the rich mining histories, and discovering gold in the interesting characters you happen upon, is the perfect sojourn away from daily life. As a resident of the district, I chose to ride the Hauraki Rail Trail over the course of four days. Next time I will make a holiday of it, staying overnight in all four towns; this will allow the luxury of delving into spontaneous side-trips, unplanned excursions and social activities - if the mood strikes. I have recorded my observations like one would in a diary. The following stories are a personal account of my adventures cycling the Hauraki Rail Trail. They are influenced by my love of art, interesting people, beautiful scenery and great food. My bike and all transportation was supplied courtesy of Hauraki Rail Trail. Contact their friendly team if you need help planning your trip, booking accommodation or hiring bikes. Suggested multi-day itineraries are available on www. or phone 07 868 5140.

Stay at

Miranda Homestead Bed & Breakfast Before and/or after biking the Hauraki Rail Trail

• Enjoy Ellie’s warm welcome and hospitality • Only 30 minutes to the Rail Trail • Comfortable country house with a delicious cooked breakfast • Soak in the largest hot mineral pools in the Southern Hemisphere - café food available • Famous Kaiaua fish & chip shop nearby 397 Front Miranda Road, RD 6, Thames Phone: 64 21 866 332 Email:

Miranda Holiday Park with a full range of accommodation and its own hot mineral pool is a great place to relax and unwind after a hard days bike ride. Hot meals at the café next door and relaxation massage on-site. Only 20mins drive from the beginning of the Hauraki Rail Trail at Kopu. Miranda Holiday Park welcomes you. Call free on: 0800 833 144 Or book online at: | 9



Sea Bird Coast




Hot Pools 56 km

4 km


Cheese Barn


Kaiaua to Kopu - future trail Funding required



Convenient Cow

Food/Cafe/Dining Accommodation Tent Sites/Cabins Hot Pools Information Centre Toilets No Dogs allowed on the trails due to farming activities Thames - Matatoki - Puriri Hikutaia - Paeroa Paeroa - Waikino Waikino - Waihi Paeroa - Te Aroha Kaiaua - Kopu future trail Bike Hire available


Tukaki Road Tirohia




8 km


10 km

Waihi Pit Rim Trail 4km



Waikino Railway Gold Mining Station/Cafe

Karangahake Gorge WAIKINO 14 km

Windows Walk

Victoria Battery Site

8 km


21 km

Station Road Mangaiti


Hot Pools & Glow Worms



After a fabulous day or few days cycling the Hauraki Rail Trail, taking in the sights and exhilarating the senses, what do you think the best way to relax and indulge your body would be? Glass of something? Herbal Tea? Spa? Massage? How about a Pandora’s Box of Pamper! Pamper Me can take you to a heaven of relaxation, rejuvenation and renewal. Reinvigorating you with an extensive selection of pleasures. With an array of Body Treatments, Massages, Pamper Me Spas, Skin Treatments, Hand and Foot Care, for both men and

women, they combine a choice of exquisite treatments and product ranges. Pauline De Thierry, owner/operator is a graduate from the Waikato Institute of Technology. Pauline gained her qualifications with recognition as ‘Most outstanding student in Spa and Body Therapies.’ Her drive comes from her passion for beautifying and relaxing others. You know ‘you are in safe hands’ with Pamper Me as a member of the New Zealand Beauty Therapy Association, where professional standards are maintained. They offer a selection of relaxing rythmical massages that soothes away the stresses and

you Are in safe hands

This clinic is owned or operated by a fully trained and qualified beauty professional who is a current member of the New Zealand Association of Registered Beauty Therapists Inc. You can be assured of receiving first class treatments using the best quality professional products and equipment. Member 2013/2014


SAFE HAND Poster A3 NZARBT.indd 1

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registered beauty therapists INC.

26/03/13 6:46 AM

tension using techniques, including Swedish, with creams and oils to nourish your skin. Treatments include a natural New Zealand Spa range and Organic range. Want something that is truly rewarding on every level? Try their exquisite Lava Shell Massage and you will just melt away. Simultaneously receive long flowing massage strokes with specific skill using heated ‘tiger clam’ shells in the therapist’s hands, allowing warmth to penetrate deeply into your body, naturally flushing out toxins, with deep tissue benefits and bringing fresh nutrients to rejuvenate the entire body. Just DIVINE! Pamper Me also offer a range of ‘Pamper Party’ options including catering to make your experience one to remember. So your biking buddies can all enjoy this luxurious experience to top off their biking adventures. So come and meet Pauline and her team and step into the Pamper Me sanctuary and spoil yourself. Soothe your body & tantalise your soul with the essence of New Zealand. Sheer Bliss! | 13

Thames to Paeroa On a whim to ride the Thames to Paeroa trail and catch up, my lifelong friend Mike flew from Christchurch to Auckland, hired a car and drove to Tairua. The following morning, bright-eyed, bushytailed and animated by the sight of playful lambs in the paddocks, we drove to Thames with the promise of a great day ahead. Greeted by Dulce, who purred and rolled over for a belly rub, we picked up our bikes from the Hauraki Rail Trail Head base in MacKay Street. It was cold, maybe 8 degrees, and the streets were quiet, save the buzzing sound made by a vintage Vespa heading down the main street. At 1.6 kilometres long, Pollen Street, choka with interesting shops and eateries, is the longest straight main street in New Zealand. First on the agenda was a hearty breakfast at one of the many execllent cafes located in historic Grahamstown at the north end of Pollen Street. Grahamstown hosts a bustling Saturday morning market, where market-goers can rely on finding fresh organic produce, cheeses, preserves, retro collectibles and other interesting bits and bobs. The Music Shop,

Visitors can take guided tours through an operational 19th century Stamper Battery at the Thames “Goldmine Experience”. Organic Shop, SPCA Op shop and The Lotus Realm – with its mascot donkey outside - hint at the eclectic nature of the shops this end of town! Cradling a latté I admired an exhibition of handbags fashioned from recycled inner tubes displayed on the walls. After breakie, we cycled around some of the old architecture Thames is famous for. Past a house with a pink flamingo and a wishing-well in the garden, community gardens where gardeners share the work and the bounty, to Brown Street where old dames of yesteryear like the Lady Bowen Hotel still stand. Numerous historic buildings remain intact, many having their raison d’etre in the town’s mining history.

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JE LL CR ICOE ES RAIL TRAIL to / from Paeroa









Hauraki Rail Trail Base





Thames Coastal Cycle/Walkway Wharf to Kuranui Bay (3km return)

Karaka Bird Hide














The north end of Pollen Street hosts a bustling saturday morning market that is well worth a look






Thames D | 15

From the stock exchange, where men once walked up and down the street crying out share prices, to the Thames School of Mines, the Thames Historical Museum and the Museum of Technology. Follow the yellow and black signs located around the town that mark historic sites. Laughter from children enjoying a ride at the Thames Small Gauge Railway - previously the Grahamstown Station - welcomed us to Victoria Park on the Thames Coastal Walkway. We rode along, accompanied by fantails twittering and chattering, happily manoeuvering around runners, walkers, and other cyclists until we spotted the bird hide. Dismounting, we walked our bikes over the boardwalk bridging the mangrove forests to the maimai like Karaka Bird Hide. Here, patient bird-lovers can view an encyclopedic choice of birdlife foraging the mudflats for food, best times for viewing are two hours before and two hours after high tide. Bird enthusiasts, bring your binoculars.

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The walkway finishes at the historic Shortland Wharf, the oldest and only surviving wharf built to service Thames after the proclamation of the goldfield. Riding through the boat haul-out and hard stand we saw a catamaran atop numerous 44 gallon drums, and a Davidson, fully set up, open transom racing yacht that made Mike, a sailor, say, “Yes please, I’ll have one of those”. But he had a yummy fresh fruit ice-cream instead, at the cute nautically-decorated Wharf Café. Had we not been on a mission, it would have been pleasant sitting outside enjoying some good old-fashioned fish and chips. Fresh fish is available for those who are cooking for themselves at the adjacent Thames Wholesale Fisheries. The official start point for the Thames to Paeroa Trail is the walkway that begins by the carpark adjoining Shortland Wharf. We cycled past Rhodes Park where children from the surrounding areas play netball, soccer and rugby. Past a flight training school where learning to fly a helicopter, or enjoying a scenic adventure in a glider are on offer. Past a farm growing Christmas trees, past pukekos, beehives, and all the while chatting endlessly, riding two abreast on the trail path. Under the new Kopu Bridge that crosses the Waihou River, over the Alistair Muirhead Memorial Bridge - that won an award for its use of sustainable timber - into the heartland of dairy farming, with paddocks upon paddocks of Fresian cows eating grass. Farmers on tractors, four-wheelers, and dirt bikes, rusty roofed barns, milking sheds, and two types of water troughs for stock, the regular concrete ones and recycled bathtubs.











“Wholesale & Retail Seafood Suppliers�

Fish & Chips Hooked on Freshness

N New Hours Mon-Thurs open til 7.30pm M Fri open til 8pm F

E: thamesďŹ Ph/Fax: (07) 868 6528 M: (027) 436 4706


Hours: Tues – Sat 8am-9pm Sun 9.30am-9pm

Fresh Fruit Ice Creams

Shortland Wharf, Thames Ph: 07 868 6828 4411621AA

Come down and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere and fantastic water views | 17

Matatoki Cheesemaker, Kelvin Haigh said there used to be cheese factories dotted all over the area when cheese was collected by horse and cart. Kelvin produces approximately 10,000 kilograms of organic certified cheese each year, and last year won a gold medal for his vintage gouda. But don’t expect it to be on the Café menu, because like all good things, supply is limited. Have a peek at the softly-yellowed cheese rounds from the Gouda viewing room, fill out the visitors’ book, let the kids feed the animals on site and enjoy an organic coffee or a meal in the delightful outdoor picnic area. We can recommend the carrot cake. Refueled, we got back on our bikes. There are some artsy folk on the Hauraki Plains, we note, passing three plastic chairs nailed to trees, with no apparent view, and a tree house built in an Oak tree of epic proportions. Under a causeway bridge and over a suspension bridge, the zen-ish sound of water running over small rapids and the bouquet of farm effluvium, a reminder we are not sitting inside watching TV.

With approximately ten kilometres to Paeroa to ride, we head to the Pioneer Tavern on the State Highway for an imagined thirst-quenching shandy oblivious we are riding off-season and on a Sunday. We find Publican Suzanne Waite outside the pub’s closed doors, painting a six foot diameter skidder tyre bright white. She’s beautifying the exterior of the pub that will soon celebrate its 150th year. We grabbed a quick drink from the Convenient Cow café next door and got back on the trail. Over the next hour we stopped and chatted to a couple of farmers. One was en-route to milk his 560 head of cattle, towing three narrow trough-like trailers lined up one behind the other. He turned the engine of his four-wheeler off and took the time to yack with us and give us a bit of a download of what his livelihood was about. The trailers were full of palm kernel imported from China at a cost of $400 a tonne. Today it is common practice to feed palm kernel to dairy cows to boost the protein content in their milk.


On Thames Quality accommodation adjacent to the Thames start of the Hauraki Rail Trail & close to the Kaueranga Valley walking trails The motel has 14 units, a two bedroom family unit, 3 one bedroom units and studios, with spa baths in most units.

Located 5 mins walk to town centre

Ph: 07 868 5099

Email: Web:

Need to hire a bike for your trail ride? Have you had your bike serviced lately? Does your bike need running repairs? Then you need the local experts.


Accommodation Offering a wide range of accommodation options priced from just $28 - $130 per night, the Junction Hotel is the ideal place to start your coromandel experience. We have 17 rooms compromising backpacker dorm rooms, Single, twin, double & family rooms (bed only or ensuite - some with TV). Communal kitchen with TV and free WIFI is also available to our guests. Group rates are available for large bookings & long stays, please enquire. GBD Restaurant The Grahamstown Bar & Diner offers a relaxed dining environment or the ideal meeting place for drinks & nibbles whatever your planning you can be assured of a warm welcome.

We can also host conferences & meetings for up to 50 people in our function room with audio visual facilities, in house PA & full food & beverage catering available. Contact us today to discuss your group requirements. The restaurant is open for lunch & dinner from 11am Monday to Friday, Breakfast from 8.30am weekends Bookings & General Enquiries (07) 8686008 - Accommodation - Restaurant - Website

07 867 9026 535 Pollen Street, Thames Email:


Bike Hire • Bike Repairs • Bike Maintenance | 19

Later we met a semi-retired Dutch farmer, whose farm straddles the Hauraki Rail Trail. He was returning from Paeroa after having ridden ten kilometres round trip to get milk and bread. When his cows are on the way to the milking shed, “railtrailers” sometimes have to stop and let them pass. He said prior to roads, the Waihou River was the “main highway” where travelers went by canoes to reach Paeroa. At that time, what is now the State Highway was just a horse track. Cycling the remaining distance into Paeroa we were feeling very thirsty again, so when the town appeared in front of us it was like seeing an oasis in a desert. Mike spotted the L&P flags at the I-site, and a few buildings further on, the Paeroa Hotel, where we imagined ourselves soon sitting on a bar stool enjoying a cool beverage. Unfortunately for our salivating mouths, Gordon from the Sherpa Shuttle was right on time, so we climbed into the bus and were soon deposited back in Thames. We picked up the car, drove straight to the historic Junction Hotel, parked behind a 1963 Ford Galaxy and pushed through the entry door like cowboys into a saloon. Those beers went down a real treat!

The gold at the end of the rainbow, beers at Grahamstown Bar & Bistro 20 | Hauraki Rail Trail

The Thames Goldfield was opened in 1867. The gold was found in hard quartz rock and before it could be recovered, the rock had to be crushed. This was done by stamper batteries similar to the ten stamp one, marking the entry into Thames. At the heart of the Goldfields there were 823 stamps working in 45 batteries. The batteries were powered by steam or pelton wheels and worked 6 days a week, 24 hours a day creating an unbelievable dim. The heavy stamps rose and fell on the hard gold bearing quartz rock and turned it into fine powder. The finally crushed ore was then washed over plates covered with mercury, which attracted the gold particles. These particles were then collected and smelted to form ingots or bars of bullion. These bars contained about 65% gold and 35% silver and were sold to the banks. Much of the machinery was made at either Judd’s or Price’s Foundries located in Thames.

The Thames School of Mines is a nationally significant former school of mining

Coastal Motor Lodge

Gateway to the Peninsula... Perfectly located on the Thames Coromandel Peninsula, Coastal Motor Lodge is only 2 minutes North from the centre of historic Thames on the Pacific Coast Highway. Consisting of 9 elevated chalets and 2 access units, all with sea and garden views... 4 stars.

Phone: (07) 868 6843 Book online:

Puru Park Motel Te Puru

Situated 15 minutes north of Thames on the scenic Coromandel Coast Puru Park provides modern motel accommodation with a back-drop of bushclad hills and tropical garden setting. With off-street parking and secure bike storage area, a BBQ available for those lazy summer evenings, Puru Park Motel is big enough for special occasions, small enough for a retreat. 2 West Crescent, Te Puru, Thames Phone: 07-868 2686 or Free phone: 0800 878 999 Email: | 21

Paeroa The antique town of New Zealand

L&P goes together with the meat pie. That’s the message in this print advertisement for the famous New Zealand combo.

Te Aroha You will ride and shine when you sleep under the mountain

Old Ship Mural

Paeroa to Te Aroha It was a cracker of a day for cycling from Paeroa to Te Aroha which started with a visit to Paeroa’s Maritime Museum and finished in a private hot tub at Te Aroha Mineral Spa. With boats and bathing as two of my top interests, this leg of the Hauraki Rail Trail was kicked up a nautical knot by my other favourite pastimes, a passion for the arts and a penchant for a good cup of tea. Sam from the Paeroa I-site, Hauraki Rail Trail’s official bike hire partner, is happy to see us again. Today I’m on bike number 137 and my friend Duncan is on number 42 - the supposed answer to the great question…of Life, the Universe and Everything, if you remember The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, that is. Before we headed for the Maritime Museum, we wanted to catch glass sculptor Dermot Kelly before

he headed off to speak in an art gallery in Whitianga. His workspace, The Refinery, on Willoughby Street, showcases his beautiful glass artwork in the old National Bank Gold Refinery. With cement walls ten inches thick, a smokestack, and an iron roof lined with Totara sarking, this old building now plays host to live music performances, coffee and muffins weekdays, Devonshire Teas on the weekend and all manner of glass services from leadlight repair to the manufacture of architectural glass. Tokoroa-born Kelly is Irish through and through, he says, a real Paddy. There’s an Irish greeting at his door cead mile failte, a thousand welcomes – that leads into the vaulted gallery space. The ample natural lighting sets off his and other fine sculptors and ceramic artists work.

Racecourse Motel 68 Thames Road, Paeroa

6 studio and 2 Family units 5 channel Sky TV Secure bike storage Barbecue area

Tariff $80-120 (seasonal rates apply 1 Nov-31 March)

BIKE HIRE PAEROA Stockists of: Avanti • Scott Raleigh • Bauer and all cycle accessories

Ph 07 862 7145

Kumars Something Special

Enjoy excellent service in the friendly surroundings of an authentic Indian restaurant. Try their selection of beautiful food and the fresh naan breads that make an essential addition to the many tasty dishes on the menu.

Open 11.30am till late 76 Normanby Rd Paeroa

07-862 6800

Paeroa Marine & Cycle Centre Ltd 29 Puke Road, PAEROA

Ph: 07 862 7061

or 0274 950 191 (Gary) Website: | 25

After a ten-minute cycle we spot an 1130kg anchor, a strong indication that we are now at the Historic Maritime Museum and Park. Here railtrailers can see one of the best displays of New Zealand maritime history, including that of Captain Cook and the Northern Steamship Company. Inside, the museum has a range of naval displays, scale replicas of various vessels, a Victorian skiff, and some interesting Kiwiana of the time. The gardens that flow down to the Waihou River’s edge are delightful, and perfect for a picnic with much of interest to see and do. There is an old steam engine they light up at Christmas, an old boiler with a fake Tarantula spider to freak the kids out, bridges to walk

26 | Hauraki Rail Trail

over and ducks to chase. There is also an old barn, old rowboats, a steam paddleboat that was pulled from the river, and a jail - that I locked Duncan into, until he pleaded for mercy. We headed back in the direction we came from passing Friesians and bleating goats, then turned towards the main road shops, stopping off at Arkwright Antiques to see Viv Leonard, the queen of Antiques. Outside her shop, there are a number of old prams. Inside the place, is jam packed to exploding with all sorts of fascinating stuff from old tools to vintage clothing. The fire is on but Viv is nowhere to be seen. The Casement Café is known for a top latte, so we pulled in there for a takeaway caffeine fix, before heading to Allan Smith’s Model Train which is set up on the Paeroa end of the Paeroa to Te Aroha road. 70 year-old train-mad Allan has been obsessed with trains since the age of ten, when his father, an engineer in the railway, rubbed the coal dust on his shoulders. His shed houses a phantasmagorical model railroad with three running trains that Allan built from scratch over the last ten years. Moving on, we pedal past racehorses at rest, new-born calves, lambs and ponies,

Arkwrights Antiques

Casa Mexicana Motel

Tariff $85-120 (seasonal rates apply 1 Nov-31 March)

Arkwrights Antiques is a great antiques and collectables shop in Paeroa’s main street. It has something for every collector and it is a must visit when you are in this antique town if you are looking for antique jewellery, silver, metalware, antique china, ceramics, pottery, crown lynn, pewter, glass, vintage clothing, vintage linen, figurines, dolls, toys, books, records, 45s, LPs, tools, kitchenware, antique bottles, prints, bric-a-brac, and curios.

32 Belmont Road, Paeroa Open 7 Days 10:00 - 5:00

Tel: 07 862 6898


L&P Cafe & Bar Exclusive L&P ice cream L&P flavoured products Homemade baking including lots of gluten free products Senior Menu Thursday $13.50 Steak Night Sunday $10 Pizzas Fully licensed cafĂŠ with plenty of parking

Bookings phone 07 862 7773

5 channel Sky TV Secure bike storage Barbecue area 3 x large studio and 3 x 1 bedroom units

Ph 07 862 8216 71 Puke Road, Paeroa.

Paeroa Information Centre L&P merchandise Kiwiana products Bikes Hire Souvenirs Assorted Gifts Bus/Ferry Bookings For any information or knowledge of the area or for booking your accommodation Call in and see us or phone 07 862 8636 | 27

daffodils and jonquils, over bridges fording waterways and stock crossings, until we saw a sign that said Devonshire Teas. What a bright colourful welcome we were given by yellow daffodils, a stunning magnolia in its crimson glory, and a group of fellow “railtrailers” at The Depot Garden. The tea served in pastel green Royal Albert bone china was instantly uplifting, and homemade preserves accompanied by light and fluffy scones baked by Ron Tyrrell and served by his wife Margaret. From a long line of gardeners, the Tyrrells grew their formal Parterre garden with over 5000 buxus plants grown from cuttings. Ron always dreamt of having a Parterre, so one winter the couple sat down with graph paper, pencils and a rubber. Once they agreed on a design they transferred it onto the ground. With twirls and fleurde-lis, a nod to the famous gardens at Versailles, the mirrored patterning of the garden made stunning viewing. Free to wander around, we discovered the shade house, in which young buxus and daffodils took centre stage. The Tyrrells grow daffodils for exhibitions and shows and they are hoping some of the cross-breeds they have nurtured from seed will blossom into new champion blooms. Since opening in 2013 Ron has become quite the handy man, often tightening squeaky bike seats between his rapidly increasing time spent in the kitchen. He’s up to repair anything, he said, “to a point”. Back on our bikes following the river south, “life is but a dream”, it’s a glorious day on the Rail Trail. We 28 | Hauraki Rail Trail

can see the land rising steeply to the 952m Mount Te Aroha, the highest point on the bush-clad Kaimai Range. The water flowing off the Range once fed the 60m high Kahikateas which Captain Cook first encountered along the banks of the Waihou River. The softness of the wood made it unsuitable for naval or building applications, but the rush to colonise New Zealand and convert the swampy land into farmland resulted in the trees’ destruction. A few scattered stands remain in the area with another ancient swamp-loving survivor, Ti Kouka - the cabbage tree. We soon arrived in Te Aroha, the beautiful historic spa town nestled at the base of Mount Te Aroha, “mountain of love”. Famous for its natural hot springs, Te Aroha is home to Mokena Geyser, the world’s only natural soda water geyser. Within the beautifully restored Te Aroha Domain are the Te Aroha Mineral Spas, the Te Aroha Leisure Pools and the 1898 Cadman Bath House, that is now the Te Aroha District Museum. We had heard Adrian Worsley’s gallery and scrap yard, Historic Creations in Rewi Street, was attracting a lot of attention and we wanted to see why. The second we stepped into the gallery, our question was answered. It’s a fantastical world of nuts and bolts that leaves the viewer spellbound. You could free wheel his sculpture, the replica Triumph 650 Bonneville down the hill, Adrian said, but it won’t stop because it is heavy and has no brakes. A welder by trade, Adrian specialised in café fit-outs before being drawn into the world of sculpture. His scrap yard is a man-cave like nothing I’ve ever seen before. With streets and alleyways full to the hilt

Located in the centre of Paeroa’s main street Sheltered Courtyard Serving Allpress Coffee Tea Total Teas & Delicious Sweets & Savouries All handmade on site 72 Normanby Rd, Paeroa • (07) 862 7046

Welcome to the Paeroa RV Centre and Motorhome Park

The Rail Trail is right opposite our entrance and we offer Safe parking for riders vehicles • Onsite caravans for hire Overnighting • Camping • Bike hire Powered sites • Spacious parking for all size motorhomes Free use of dump station for overnighters • Free water for overnighters Coin operated laundry and showers • Toilet facilities with wheelchair access 10 Coronation Street, Paeroa Phone 07 862 6215 • Mobile 021 071 4267 Email: r-greaves@xtra • | 29

with sumps from old cars, exhaust pipes, old kettles, spanners and parts of this and that, all perfectly organised and orderly - everything he may need for a creation is at hand. The silky smooth waters of the Te Aroha Mineral Spa were a relaxing way to conclude our afternoon’s ride. Between the therapeutic bubbling jets massaging our limbs and the chocolates left alongside the cedar tub for our enjoyment, we really didn’t think it could get any better. No wonder people travelled to Te Aroha by coach and rail back in the 1870’s “to partake of the remedial waters”. Directly outside the Te Aroha Mineral Spas is the world’s only known natural spring geyser, a unique and spectacular reminder of the natural source of water that originates in the heart of Mount Te Aroha. The finale of our Paeroa to Te Aroha trail was enjoying fried Halloumi cheese with mint and toasted capers, followed by fresh fish with lemon hollandaise at Berlusconi Italian Restaurant. The food and friendly service were top class. Mamma Mia!

The Train Man Allan Smith is an interesting character and he could talk all day long about trains. Find him at the Paeroa town end of the Paeroa to Te Aroha Road. Train enthusiasts - go no further, Allan likes to share his special interest.

30 | Hauraki Rail Trail

When we arrived, he had already spent three hours working on the Kingston Flyer. He has been at it for nine months and still has some finishing off to do. Replicating the original locomotive was something he always has had in the back of his mind “because his mother came from there” he said. He started sweeping floors at Farmers Trading Company back in 1958 and then moved up the ranks until he was building the department store’s display models. The talented modeller’s love for making things was possibly passed down to him by his grandfather, who carved merry-go-round horses. When the Hobson St, Auckland, Farmers shut down, Allan didn’t want to see his “cow jumping over the moon” display end up in a rubbish dump, so he bought it. Having to buy back something he built makes him smile. The “cow that jumped over the moon” display delighted children for decades in the Farmers Christmas Display. It can be seen in Allan’s indoor railway display, along with three running trains, one a NZR Claytons steam powered railcar, models of Paeroa’s main street and the surrounding countryside. The Karangahake Gorge is under construction.

Aroha Mountain Lodge Phone Greg 021 250 2679 or 07 884 8134


Greg and Linda Marshall would like to help you organise your perfect stay in Te Aroha. All of their accommodation options are conveniently located next to Te Aroha Domain Spa’s, the Cycle Trails, Walking tracks and local Township. Aroha Mountain Lodge - caters for up to 6 couples, can include breakfast and has off-street parking. Hot Springs Lodge - right next door to the main lodge has another 3 en-suited rooms available. The Love Shack - a very private 2 bed-roomed fully self-contained cottage with off-street parking. The Chocolate Box - semi self contained cottage, caters for up to 8 (2 king beds and 4 singles). The Goldminers Cottage - semi self contained cottage, caters for up to 6.

Go in the draw to Win a Marmot Jacket worth $199.95 RRP All you have to do is like Us on Facebook and get Your Friends to Like Us on Facebook at Hauraki Rail Trail Magazine And go in the draw to win a Marmot jacket worth $199.95 RRP

Hauraki Rail Trail Magazine Email your details to Entries close: 31st March 2014 | 31

Paeroa to Waikino and on to Waihi Paeroa to Waihi is undoubtedly one of the most picturesque cycle rides in New Zealand. The spectacular Karangahake Gorge is the star of the show, with a host of wonderful characters to meet along the way, some first class eateries to indulge in and this cycle trail gets a standing ovation rain or shine. The Met Service forecast had no sunny icons the day we rode but some clear skies were visible, so we decided to go. I drove from Tairua, Duncan from Miranda we met i Thames and we took one car to Paeroa. At the Hauraki Rail Trail counter in the Paeroa I-site, we met Sam, as in Samantha, who happily organised us onto our bikes. In the foyer, between the L&P café and the Paeroa I-site, we gleaned all sorts of snippets of information about the town. Who knew that “World Famous in New Zealand” seven-metre tall Lemon & Paeroa bottle, began its life as a replica rocket? We didn’t. Paeroa was busy “rocketing to the moon” in its 1976 Christmas Carnival. Now I have to mention from the outset of this journey, that the seats on the bikes we hired from the Hauraki Rail Trail were as comfortable as sofas - truly, no sore bum for this chick. Railtrailers who want to hire bikes can rest assured they are a good ride. Duncan was excited about the adventure and came prepared with a torch, an apple and mining lights in his daypack. Little did we know that by the end of the day we would miss the famous Windows Walk. Auckland 136km Paeroa 8km.

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Waikino 0.5km


Heritage Walkway Bridge Tunnel 8 Historic Quartz Crushing Battery Site

Karangahake 1 7









Waitawhe t a R i ver



Fine Wines, Fabulous Cuisine in lovely 32 | Hauraki Rail Trail Indoor/Outdoor Environment,

Accommodation in Converted Hayloft. Moresby Road, KARANGAHAKE




Walkway Entrance



m Ohi ne ur i R i ver SYMBOL KEY

Off we cycled, all smiles in anticipation; past colourful town murals, the Paeroa hotel, numerous shops selling antiques and collectibles, cafes, restaurants; and headed with gusto for the start of the Trail. Paeroa - Antique capital of New Zealand – Oh how I wish I had time to fossick and sift through your treasures. Turning right after “McDonalds”, we rode over the Criterion Bridge that spans the 28 kilometre Ohinumuri River. Our first wow moment and photo op of the day marked the beginning of the trail – a gorgeous pink cherry tree in blossom. Duncan noted his first recordable comment for the day, “Now we are on the Rail Trail proper, on the purpose built carriageway, I must say I am very impressed. It’s about two and a half metres wide, with a very fine gravel, and it is easy to cycle on”.



Oh i ne mu ri R

9 iver


Waihi 5km Tauranga 65km




Unforgettable rural experience. Many interesting & varied animals, panoramic views. Picnic areas. Farmstay available. 240 Rahu Rd, KARANGAHAKE. Ph: 07 862 8843


GOLDEN OWL ACCOMMODATION 7 Personal and comfortable, sleeps 6, double, twin & bunk rooms. Self cater. Cnr SH2 & Moresby St, KARANGAHAKE. Email:

Voted one of the...

great New Zealand touring route

Auckland Hamilton

Waihi Tauranga Rotorua Taupo

Gold Mining Heritage site. Spectacular Bush Walks. Popular Attractions and Accommodation.

A Gem in the Southern Coromandel

Wellington | 33

Coromandel, NZ Images supplied by Tourism Coromandel

The Karangahake Gorge is on State Highway 2 between Paeroa and Waihi. Site of the original gold rush in 1875 and steeped in gold mining history, it’s now a more peaceful location offering visitors a perfect place to explore. Follow the old railway formation and walk the popular Karangahake Gorge Historic Walkway alongside the sparkling Ohinemuri River. Seek out the gold trails in the spectacular Waitawheta Gorge. The Gorge offers something for everyone; outdoor pursuits, fishing, cafes, a winery, vintage railway and a rich heritage reward today’s visitor. Allow time in your travels to Stop & Explore...

Chez Nous B & B Homestay

Voted one of the...

Set in an attractive garden this comfortable modern home is an easy walk to shops, cafes and restaurants. Queen twin rooms with guest bathroom greatand New Zealand touring route double $85 and single $65 41 Seddon Avenue, Waihi 3610 Ph: (07) 863 7538 • Mob: 022 314 3188 Email:

Waikino Tavern Auckland Hamilton

Waihi Tauranga

Situated in the Waikino Gorge close to the Battery,Rotorua Waikino Railway Station and the Rail Trail. Taupo Gold Mining Heritage site. Ride over the Swing bridge to the historic Waikino Hotel Spectacular Bush Walks. Wellington it is the perfect place to stop and enjoy a quiet Popular Attractions and Accommodation. meal with a wine, beer or coffee

Full of historic memorabilia this is a great place to take a break or stay the night

Phone: 07 863 8381

• 8541 State Highway 2, Waikino

A Gem in the Southern Coromandel | 37

Coromandel, NZ Images supplied by Tourism Coromandel

The Trail is bounded by farmland lush with verdant, green grass, post and rail fences; and a herd of Friesian cows, heads down, munching away. Past a natural therapies Reiki healer working from home and some exceptionally pretty Mercury Bay Weed that blanketed the drains. Mature Japanese cedars act as shelter from the mild wind. Spring has come early with a proliferation of fragrant Port Wine Magnolias in bloom. Past an abandoned farmhouse, probably built a hundred years ago when the fertile plain was covered in mature Kahikateas. Number-8-wire decorating style is on view, blue teapots hanging in trees, multi-coloured lanterns adorning verandahs and the ubiquitous All Black Rugby World Cup flag, albeit in tatters, hanging on a front fence. A farmer passed us on his dirt bike, dog in tow, acknowledging us with a friendly wave as we pedalled alongside Angus yearlings, undisturbed by our passage. Further on, the farmer encounters us again, this time stopping to chat. He told us he had to move his stock from the riverbanks to higher ground once this year when the westward flowing river flooded. He also told us there are a good number of rainbow and brown trout in the river. Approaching the natural gorge in the land, the sides of the trail slowly steepen and thick carpets of Ponga grace the sloping valley hills. The silver undersides of this tree fern can be used to mark routes through the bush. If cyclists get lost, (highly unlikely on the Hauraki Rail Trail) upside down fronds placed in a circle in a clearing are recognized as a signal for help, readily seen by searching aircraft!

38 | Hauraki Rail Trail

We stopped to chat to a Paeroa couple who ride the Trail up to three times a week, weather permitting. They recommended we go to the Waikino Station Café to try the raspberry tarts and the ginger crunch with “big bits of ginger in it”. The Karangahake Gorge tunnel lay ahead on the bend of the river. Cycling over the bridge we noticed numerous rail relics and remnants of the Talisman mine on the riverbank. We dismounted before entering the mine, on what was once the Paeroa-Waihi railway line, and noticed a drop in temperature.

As we entered the dark and dimly lit 1.1 km tunnel the air was cold. Droplets of water seeped from between cracks in the longitudinally laid bricks of the ceiling. The wheels of our bikes turned slowly, the sound crackly like riding over thin ice. The lights cast a dark orange glow around us and we felt like children happening on an adventure mystery. We headed for the Falls Retreat Bistro for lunch, stopping first to breathe in the sight of the beautiful, staircase Owharoa Waterfall nestled in the heart of the Gorge. This is where an epiphany struck - we had missed the “Must do” Windows Walk. Disappointed but

Waitete Restaurant & Cafe

Experience fine dining and enjoy our cuisine made with fresh produce, locally sourced where possible. Delicious homemade Ice Cream. We have a menu to satisfy all tastes and are fully licensed.

Open 7 Days including Public Holidays Breakfast 8.30am weekends only Lunch 11am - 3pm • Dinner 6pm to late All menus available on our website

07 863 8980 • 31 Orchard Road, Waihi

just 5 mins from the Waihi Railway Station

Enjoy the rural tranquillity in secure surroundings With its well established trees, rocky stream With its well established trees, rocky stream and and well-tended grounds and facilities, Waihi well-tended grounds and facilities, Waihi Motor Camp Motor Camp is a haven of peace in a rushed is a haven of peace in a rushed world. Located off the world. Located off the main road moments main road moments from Waihi township the Camp from Waihi township the Camp is free of is free of traffic noise and easy to get to. traffic noise and easy to get to. A collection of tame animals, sheep, lambs, small collection of tameand animals, sheep, lambs, pigs,Aassorted chickens ducks are an unusual small pigs, assorted chickens ducks are feature of the property. You are free and to walk among unusual feature the property. You are theman and even take part inoffeeding them. All animals free walk from among them and even take part aretofenced accommodation sites. in feeding them.

Our Facilities include....

Fully fenced Swimming Pool • Well appointed kitchen with all appliances BBQ and covered outdoor seating area • Internet access Very clean toilet and shower facilities with a disabled toilet Showers/hot water included in tariff • Laundry with automatic washer and dryer

6 Waitete Road, Waihi • Tel +64 7 863 7654 • Fax +64 7 863 6759

Waihi Motor Camp is located 2 minutes from the centre of Waihi, just off Sate Highway 2.

Email | 39

Photo by Helen Wilson undaunted, our attention was then drawn by swallows as they dipped and dived in front of us, and we were reminded we were hungry. The first bite of my margarita pizza was sublime. Duncan had wood-roasted rolled Terakihi in a parmesan and herb crust, served with smoky baby potatoes, vegetable escabeche and glazed shrimp. He said, and after tasting it and I concurred, “It was mind-blowingly good”. With knowledgeable, friendly service, smiling chefs working in an open kitchen and loads of fresh produce on the benches, and with Buena Vista Social Club playing in the background – need I say more?

40 | Hauraki Rail Trail

The weather started to look a bit iffy. We rode the short distance to the Victoria Battery, a destination in its own right. “Railtrailers” could easily spend a day exploring the vast system of walkways the stunningly beautiful Karangahake Gorge area offers. Like on an historic trip back in time, we cycled around the battery, slowly putting the pieces of the mining puzzle together. From the battery we rode to the Goldfields Vintage Railway & Waikino Station Café to sample the raspberry tarts, which I report were divine. We only had time for one more adventure so we continued on, then headed up Waitekauri road, left at Victoria Hall, to visit the garden of artist Christine Burnes. Her mosaic garden in Banks Lane is an on-going artwork, overlooking the Ohinemuri River and the cyanide tanks at Victoria Battery. Christine is currently working collaboratively creating panels for a memorial bridge, replacing the walking bridge that washed away in the 1981 flood. With the weather closing in, we called the Hauraki Rail Trail’s Sherpa Shuttle to pick us up. Josh came within ten minutes and retrieved us from the Falls Retreat, where we had retreated to wait by the wood burner, glass of pinot noir in hand. The daughter of the Bistro’s owners, two-foot high Molly, was running around in her red riding jacket. Her beaming smile reflected our total enjoyment of the day’s ride. In the shuttle were a couple from the South Island, the highlight of their day was… the Windows Walk.

Helter Skelter up Banks Lane Mad on English history, bedecked in tattoos, Christine Burnes free-styles, creating and growing her garden art with bits and pieces people drop off to her, or broken bits and old plates she picks up at Op shops. She just creates, incorporating ideas as they pop into her head. She lives with her husband Robin on Banks Lane, off Waitekauri Road, Waikino. Banks Lane is named after mining manager Mr Bank, whose original mining homestead employed butlers and servants and “all sorts at the turn of the century,” Christine said. “What you have around here is abandoned titles, where miners once set up their bivouacs.” Christine built the rustic fence down to the second level in her quirky garden, overlooking the Ohinemuri River and the Victoria Battery’s cyanide tanks. Steps to the road remain from the times milk and bread were delivered. An elderly lady who previously lived in the house told Christine she used to hear the thumping sounds as stampers pounded ore across the road. When gold became uneconomic to mine, the once bustling town reverted into a village inhabited by retirees from the old era. In the 1970’s an influx of crafts people gravitated to Waikino, drawn by cheap

Christine Burnes “Venice” artwork housing and magnificent scenery. Tourists flocked to the area to try out healthy homemade food and buy locally made arts and crafts. Christine is currently working with other local artists on a Memorial Art Work that will soon adorn the Memorial Bridge, washed away in the flood. Her clay and mortar panel will depict Waikino’s old shops. She is also busy preparing pieces for the 13th annual Labour Weekend ARTWaikino Exhibition to be held at the historic Victoria Hall.

Relax in our Hot, Natural Thermal Pools

Thermal Pools

Free to Staying Guests Open Daily Public: 10am to 7.30pm Staying Guests: 8.30 am to 7.30 pm 07 863 5600 1 Athenree Rd, Athenree, Bay of Plenty | 41

Waihi artist Jacqui Martin painted this artwork of the cyanide tank ruins at the Victory Battery.

I returned on the next fine day and met Principal Trail Operator for the Hauraki Rail Trail, Peter Maynard, at the Goldfields Railway in Waikino. He sorted me out with a bike and we got on the brand new extension to the trail - from Waikino to Waihi. Connecting Waihi into the trail was always on the cards. Southern Coromandel’s Heart of Gold offers a plethora of attractions, from riding the Goldfields vintage railway, to visiting nearby Waihi

The Waikino Station is an example of railway architecture from the early twentieth century and the scene has been set well, with a collection of old leather suitcases lining the boarding platform as you enter. The Station Café replicates what it would have been like to sit in an old railroad café, it is “old-time” homely, with its roaring fire, lace-edged curtains and wooden floor scattered with carpets. 42 | Hauraki Rail Trail

Peter Maynard chatting with the guys finishing the bridges before the trail officially opened.

Beach, with its ten kilometres of sweeping white sand. From Waikino, the beautifully curving trail hugs the true left bank of the Ohinemuri River, on an historic ‘Rake Line’ once used to transport ore from Waihi to the Victoria Battery. Rail relics, from carriageways to sleepers, can be seen along the

track. Through stands of Totara, regenerating bush and weeping willows on the riverbanks, this is the perfect trail to pack a picnic. There are plenty of lovely spots along the river to stop and have lunch, thanks to the farmers, who gave easements over parts of their land, to allow the trail to follow the river. Fly fishermen could try to land a big rainbow trout. Rumour has it an eight pounder was caught up the river. We chatted to a couple of fly fishermen desperate to get a crack at the action before the trail opened. Guided fly-fishing in the area is an option for those who forget to pack their rods. | 43

The 1981 Waikino Flood

Waikino Hotel In 1981 a huge torrent of water picked up the Waikino business district and washed it downstream through the Karangahake Gorge. All that was salvageable was the Waikino Hotel and the local community hall, both of which remain operational today. Although the old hotel may look like it is still drying out from the flood, it is well worth the effort to stop and go inside. The Waikino Hotel has an incredible history to discover, at the bar once waist-deep in water. Publican at the time, Dave Honore and his wife Malou remember the flood well. They have photographs taken from the hotel during the flood. The post office, art and craft shop, and tearooms across the road were completely swept away by the overflowing Ohinemuri River. Dave said he understood, “The water came up 20 metres and went through the tunnel like a hose, spilling out the other end like a waterfall. The Waikino hotel was originally towed in two pieces through the Karangahake Gorge by a team of bullocks. One of those bullocks, reputedly named “Bluey”, died on the railway. His horns hang on the wall in the historic Hotel, along with a photo of Malou, waist-deep in water at the bar.

44 | Hauraki Rail Trail

The trail meanders through softly undulating farmland. Remnants of the masonry Blackpool Dam and parts of a water race associated with the functioning of the Victoria Battery are points of interest. It crosses eight bridges, including Black Bridge, just past the dam – the longest suspension bridge on The Trail. The Waihi Goldfields Railway station is the last stop before cycling up Wrigley Street and turning right into Waihi Township. Volunteers have maintained and operated this nostalgic 6.5km train ride for many years, bringing smiles to the faces of thousands of visitors to the region. Plans are underway to add a steam locomotive, Peter said, which will attract enthusiasts and Thomas the Tank Engine fans. “With six small wheels, a short stumpy funnel, a short stumpy boiler and a short stumpy dome, the fussy little engine” on its way, may not be blue with red lining, but its whistle will be louder, that’s for sure. Look for Waihi’s icon, the cornish pump house, to find the Waihi Visitors’ Centre on Seddon Street. Downstairs is an excellent free display that tells

Dry Times You might think a Waihi miner would be entitled to a cold beer after a day’s hard work, but not so in 1908. The town was voted dry at the licensing polls and the prohibition of liquor was enforced until 1925. During this period, thirsty souls had to travel to either Hikutaia 22miles away or Katikati 18 miles away for a glass of their favourite drop. Not surprisingly the home brew business thrived.

‘Waihi’s Gold Story’. Upstairs I booked a guided tour with Murray Elliott from the Waihi Gold Mine Tour. With Murray’s help, the pieces of the mining puzzle finally came together. From the rim of Newmont’s Martha Mine, the colossal drilling rigs and dump trucks looked like Matchbox toys and tunnel holes in the pit’s walls, like dots. It is certainly a big hole, 960m long x 700m wide x 260m deep. Whether on foot, cycle or tour, the Pit Rim affords a dramatic view of the working, Modernday Martha Mine, that generates on average between four to six million dollars of gold per week. The Pit Rim also offers the perfect vantage point to soak up the spectacular vista of the surrounding area. Mount Te Aroha and the Kaimai Ranges can be seen, as can the southern end of the Coromandel Ranges and the sparkling ocean coastline. Smart phone users can scan QR codes around the rim, play hunt for gold, and enjoy a chocolate reward. To further coerce children or those fascinated with buttons; mention the massive underground machinery operated by remote control.

Massive Caterpillar 777C dump truck tyres stacked in what Murray calls the “Retirement Village” were a surreal sight. A small car would fit in the dumper of these big rigs, and there would still be room to open the doors and get out. At today’s prices one of these tyres costs upwards of $30,000. We parked in front of the processing plant and Murray explained what was going on behind the closed doors. 15 kg bowling-ball sized steel balls

Karangahake River Lodge & Campervan Park

Surrounded on two sides by the beautiful Ohinemuri River - popular with swimmers, kayakers and trout fishers alike. Set amidst parklike surroundings against the backdrop of Karangahake Mountain the Lodge & Cabins are built in a style similar to the historic gold processing batteries which functioned deafeningly during the gold mining period between 1885 and 1919.

Phone: 07 862 8481 Email: Web: 45 River Rd, RD 4 Karangahake | 45

spin around in grinders smashing the gold and silver laden quartz to a sandy consistency. A ball mill further pounds the mixture with golfball sized balls until the slurry is the consistency of talcum powder. When the balls have completed their job they are the size of marbles - at which point, they are spat out by the grinder, melted down, and recycled into big balls. Hence the saying, “Waihi has a heart of gold, and balls of steel�.

I checked out what was on offer arts-wise at Artmarket, also on Seddon Street. Of particular interest was a piece of mining history - a chopping board recycled from one of the Kauri struts that had propped up the original Martha Mine tunnels. I bought a golden railway nail for five dollars, as a memento. My day finished with a refreshing glass of beer, some hummus and flat bread, across the road at the Sterling Hotel. The walls of the historic pub are decorated with wild game trophies, a collection of old mirrors, and the original liquor license, from 1897. Even the ladies bathroom is wallpapered with old newspaper cuttings and advertisements. The lady sitting next to me on the barstool was the publican’s wife. Malou and David Honore had once owned the Waikino Hotel. They showed me some photographs from the 1981 flood, including one of Malou standing waist-deep in water at the bar!

Win 2 days bike hire for 2 Email us your favourite Hauraki Rail Trail photo. We will post the best on Facebook at Hauraki Rail Trail Magazine. The winning photo will receive a 2 day bike hire for 2 people from The Hauraki Rail Trail Entries close 31st March 2014 email all photos to:

Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 11, May 1969

Waihi New Zealand’s heart of gold































































Trail Head Goldfields Railway Station



























Whether it's exploring our gold mining heritage and the modern mine, getting out into the magnificent bush clad hills of the Karangahake Gorge, or just relaxing on the beautiful white sand of Waihi Beach, the Waihi region is a great place to experience our great outdoors. Waihi township is the heart of the area, and as you explore it you’ll find glimpses into our hard-fought, pioneering golden past at every turn. You’ll step back in time, and meander through years past in today's pleasant setting.

Gold Fever!

The Cornish Pumphouse

It was the quest for gold that first brought people to Waihi in numbers. In 1878 gold-bearing quartz was discovered on Pukewa spur. A decade later, Waihi was the fastest growing town in the Auckland Province with a population three times that of Hamilton. The mighty Martha Mine quickly became one of the most important gold mines in the world. Today, Waihi's huge working open pit gold mine is only metres from the centre of town, and you can walk right to the edge and stare hundreds of meters down into the chasm.

Waihi Gold Mine Tours Want to get inside the fence? Although mining operations are ordinarily off-limits to the public, on our tour you’ll get an ‘inside the fence’, up-close and personal peek inside the modern working gold mine. 48 | Hauraki Rail Trail

You’ll be fitted out with safety gear and get to view the mine workings from the best available vantage points. You’ll be shown every stage of the mining process and we’ll furnish you with facts, relate some colourful stories from the mine’s past and answer your questions. Why did many miners from yesteryear have no thumbs? How much gold is carried in each 100 tonne truck? To find out, and learn tonnes more, take your group on a Gold Mine Tour.

Waihi’s iconic Cornish Pumphouse is a relic of the historic Martha Mine, and the only concrete Cornish Pumphouse in the Southern Hemisphere. It was built in 1904, from a design used in the tin mines of Cornwall, England, and originally housed pumping machinery for dewatering the underground workings. In 2006, as modern mining expanded, the 2000

Waihi — New Zealand’s Heart of Gold has a fascinating gold mining past and present... Get the ‘inside story’. Our ‘inside the fence’ tour is a must do if you want to get up close and personal to huge trucks, diggers and other powerful machines in a modern-day working gold mine.

tonne Category 1 heritage building was moved 300m from its original location to its current site. It now stands as a photogenic, sculptural landmark at the top of Waihi’s main street.

Waihi's Walking and Cycling Trails

Extend your Hauraki Rail Trail experience by exploring Waihi’s local mountain biking and walking trails — we have something for everyone. Martha Mine Pit Rim Walkway and Cycleway If you're wanting a spectacular, 'must see' walk or ride when you visit Waihi, then the Pit Rim Walkway is for you! The walkway begins opposite the Waihi Visitor Centre, under the shadow of the Cornish Pumphouse and rises gently to the edge of the open pit for your first glimpse into the chasm. The wide gravel path continues clockwise around the western end of the pit to the highest point on the north wall. Interpretative signs give interesting facts about Martha Mine and the view from the top of the north wall is simply breathtaking. The 4km loop track brings you back to the Visitor Centre via interesting heritage features and scenic park land. Union Hill Heritage Walkway and Mill Stream Walkway The Union Hill Heritage Walkway can be accessed from the Pit Rim Walkway or off SH 25 (Barry Road). This short trail will lead cyclists and walkers through the historic Waihi Battery site where you’ll find yourself immersed amongst a collection of significant mining heritage structures. The trail can be done as a short loop, returning via the

Mill Stream Walkway, or used as a link between the Pit Rim Walkway and Gilmour Lake or the Black Hill trails. Gilmour Lake and Black Hill trails After feeding the ducks, walking the lake’s scenic loop track or enjoying a picnic or the playground at Gilmour Lake, take a peaceful walk or cycle upstream along the banks of the Ohinemuri River. The 5km scenic riverbank track leads you around Black Hill through native bush, farm land and 100-year-old oaks, then back to Gilmour Lake. An option for the more adventurous hiker is the steep track up to the summit of Black Hill where you’ll be rewarded with widespread views of the Waihi plains and surrounding forest parks. If it’s a more ‘hard-core’ mountain bike experience you’re after, then the Black Hill Track can offer that as well. At the end of Clarke Street, cross the style and follow the yellow markers for an 8km twisting and turning, single-track experience through pine forest and native bush that will really get your adrenaline flowing.

Other local attractions worth a visit • Goldfields Railway scenic railway adventure: • Waihi Arts Centre and Museum: • Victoria Battery Tramway and Museum:

Waihi – New Zealand’s Heart of Gold really is a golden playground. Check out the Waihi Visitor Centre on Seddon Street for even more great things to do, and reasons to stay in Waihi. On the web: | 49







Photo by Barry Jesney


Photo by Barry Jesney This page sponsored by Waihi Beach Community Events & Promotions

50 | Hauraki Rail Trail

Imagine that… venturing down from the hills, lush farm lands behind you, Pohutukawa infused Native bush sprawling north to the Coromandel Peninsular, and there, before your very eyes… the sparkling Pacific Ocean awaits, crashing on to a 10km stretch of white sandy beach, a steadfast Mayor Island on the horizon guarding the Bay of Plenty. Spectacular New Zealand locations do exist and Waihi Beach is one of them. Just 11km from Waihi, this is a best kept secret everyone should set aside time to visit.

There is a real sense of community about Waihi Beach, the locals really look after visitors to the area, sharing their secrets and recommending local businesses. Waihi Beach is one of the safest surf beaches to learn to surf in the world which is probably why the population octuples in summer. Waihi Beach Surf Club and Coastguard operate ‘Swim between the Flags’ during the summer months providing a safer area for swimmers, with the local surf school giving lessons for those wanting to get amongst the waves. | 51

Opposite the Waihi Beach Hotel (Pub) you’ll find the Waihi Beach Fresh Produce Market. The market operates every Sunday, 9am – 12 noon during the summer months (labour weekend till easter). With a great selection of fresh, locally grown fruit and vege, baked goods, including gluten free, fresh dips & spreads and arts and crafts, there’s plenty for everyone.

At the halfway point, walkers arrive at picturesque and secluded Orokawa beach, perfect for relaxing, fishing or for picnicking beneath the over-hanging pohutukawa trees.

The coastal walk from the north of Waihi Beach to Orokawa Bay, a 90minute round trip which is well worth the effort. Orokawa Bay is a scenic reserve with 145 hectares of native bush containing native kauri and puriri trees.

Good coffee is very easy to find in the area with a dozen eateries within a 1.5km radius of the beach shopping area. From beach side to street side and up to the top of the hill there’s a vista for everyone and dining options to suit all budgets.

For the more adventurous, the William Wright Falls is roughly 1.5 kilometres inland from Orokawa Bay and spills over a 28-metre sheer rock face.

Absolute beachfront, luxury accommodation, at one of the most beautiful stretches of east coast in New Zealand – Waihi Beach

“When you truly love the paradise you live in, it is a wonderful feeling to share it. Four generations of my family have holidayed here at Waihi Beach, and I am passionate about the feel good nature of this special place”. - Jayne Jolly, Upperdeck 52 | Hauraki Rail Trail | 53

8 km


Convenient Cow

10 km

Waihi Pit Rim Trail 4km



Waikino Railway Gold Mining

Station/Cafe Karangahake Gorge WAIKINO 14 km

Tukaki Road Tirohia

Windows Walk

Victoria Battery Site

8 km


21 km

Station Road Mangaiti


Hot Pools & Glow Worms




Recharge your batteries with us…

The relaxing pace at Beachaven will have you recharged in no time. Experience a classic Kiwi Holiday Park and enjoy your stay in our recently refurbished cabins, self contained motel units or powered campsites. We offer something to suit every budget and great group stay discounts. A short stroll to the beautiful white sand of Waihi Beach. Give us a call today and see how we might be able to cater for you.

21 Leo St Waihi Beach P. 07 863 5505 E.

10% discount applies for all guests at Flat White Café on Shaw Road. You’ll find us 11kms east of Waihi township at the Northern end of Waihi Beach.

Phone For Reservations: 07 863 5505

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A great ride

A tale of two novice cyclists on the trail for a day

My name is Maria and with my girlfriend from Auckland Marilyn, we headed for the Hauraki Rail Trail in July. We arranged for her to come to my place, which is just north of Thames, early on the Saturday morning for an overnight stay. I was woken by a text from my soon-to-be riding buddy at 6.30am. The text said, “It’s really raining here, I think I’ll just stay home and stay in bed for the day.” “Not on your nelly.” I replied. I put my head out the door and could see stars where I live so as far as I was concerned, it was ‘game on’. Her husband reassured her it was just showers. So reluctantly she hit the shower, packed her bag and departed around 7.30am making a compulsory stop at the shops to buy ginger slice and energy bars.

Meanwhile, I organised myself and cooked a pizza for the upcoming day’s excursion. Lunch was sorted. All we needed to find on the ride was a hot coffee to keep us alert and focused. Not too sure what was the best attire for the occasion, I put on my thermal underwear, leggings with knee support strapping discreetly hidden underneath, running shoes, T Shirt and my trusty waterproof golf rain jacket. ETA was 9.30am. Marilyn arrived on time. She had on…. leggings, track pants, thick socks. Not too sure about under garments (because I didn’t ask), polar neck shirt, outward bound woolly fleece, snow gloves, winter jacket with hoodie and hand-knitted psychedelic scarf. Her pockets were filled with… sun glasses, lipstick, lip gloss, tissues, credit cards, mobile phone and hair brush.

I reminded her that she had to carry this weight with her on her bike. I also pointed out that I thought the bikes that we were hiring for the day from the Hauraki Rail Trail in Thames had bags on them and we would be able to carry our belongings in those bags. We decided to pack everything in the boot of the car just in case and could decide after we had taken possessionn of our bikes what we could carry with us and what we needed to leave in the boot.

Off we headed to meet up with Peter at the Hauraki Rail Trail, who would supply us with our bikes and helmets. On arrival Peter gave us a great run down on how to use the bike’s brakes and the gears. He adjusted the seats and helmets for us and gave us a great tip on when riding how to look ahead of you and not down in front of you, (this would stop you getting the wobbles). He instructed us on how to apply the brakes gently and the best way to place your feet on the ground after you had stopped. We thanked him for his help and wheeled the bikes out to load up from the boot. The much anticipated bags on the bikes we rapidly filled up with all the necessities of our journey. Marilyn was in front and I was behind. We headed off. I made the comment of how we should take a bet on which one of us would fall off and how many bruises we would have collected before the end of the day‌ little did I know. I became very confident and headed down the road just like a real bike rider. Marilyn stayed on the footpath (chicken). We hit (wrong choice of words)... we approached the bike trail at the end of the street.

We encountered walkers, riders, dog walkers, runners, netball players, rugby players, fishermen, boaties and people doing zumba. On we headed towards the Kopu bridges. We were not sure how far or how long we were going to ride but headed towards Paeroa and the Cheese Factory at Matatoki. Eventually we came across cattle grates and stopped at these because they were quite narrow and the series of parallel concrete tubes had quite wide gaps in between. Along came a guy from the opposite direction heading towards us and he had obviously done this before. We stopped to let him through. He didn’t even slow down when approaching the cattle grates and bowled straight over them, smiled and was gone. Well, we figured that didn’t look too difficult and beats getting off our bikes and walking over them every time we come upon one. The first one was a bit scary but after the third or fourth we pretty much had it sussed. We meet a lot of people on the rail trail. Everyone was friendly and said hello to us. We stopped at one road and a couple were getting their bikes off their ute. They were a nice friendly couple and we started chatting to them. They said they often started or finished at different points along

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the trail and had started going out every weekend. They enjoyed it very much. We headed towards the cheese factory and Matatoki. On our arrival we noticed several bikers (like us) relaxing with refreshments and enjoying the interlude. We decided on a much earned coffee and halved a carrot cake between us. Going back seemed faster, warmer, easier, somehow. I don’t know if this was an illusion but we felt now more experienced and confident, after all we had just done two hours riding.

We stopped for pizza (bliss) as I was determined my efforts of cooking it at 8am that morning was not going to be wasted. We headed off again. Marilyn was getting more confident and was quite away in front of me when it happened... I came over a cattle grid and I’m not too sure what happened. Instead of looking ahead of me, I was looking at the gears and started to twist and fall. It was quite a graceful fall. It was sort of like a slow motion swoon. I landed on the gravel, my bike on top of me (well half on top of me) and one shoe missing. I called

out to Marilyn who was oblivious at this point. She promptly turned around and came cycling back to me. The first thing she said to me was, “Don’t move a muscle. I have to get my camera out. Stay there.” This took an extremely long time as she couldn’t find it in her bag at first and was searching in her pockets as well. It didn’t help that she couldn’t stop laughing. I was repeating, “pass me my shoe, pass me my shoe.” She kept saying, “no don’t move, don’t move, I want to take a photo.” After the inevitable photo, she retrieved my shoe and I got the bike and myself upright. Then she asked me if I was hurt and apologised for not thinking of this question in the first instance. Fortunately I wasn’t. I felt a bit grazed in places but thank god had kept my gloves on the whole ride. The bike needed some attention though. The handle bars were not pointing in the right direction and Marilyn put the front wheel between her legs and straightened the whole thing up for me. She remembered doing that as a child she said. Even with our advancing years we woke up the next morning sprightly and keen to repeat our adventure and boldly go to pastures new. Thanks Marilyn. Job well done. You are now my official biking buddy.

Want to win 2 nights accommodation and 2 days bike hire for 2 people? All you have to do is write about your Hauraki Rail Trail experience in 500 words or less along with 2 photos to go in the draw to win. Email your story and photos to and we will post the best stories and pictures onto our Facebook page at Hauraki Rail Trail Magazine. The overall winner will receive 2 nights accommodation and 2 days bike hire for 2 people on the Hauraki Rail Trail. Closes 31st March 2014 | 59

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Hobbiton Movie Set Tours The Hobbiton Movie Set Tour is a visitor experience

In September 1998 Peter Jackson and New Line Cinema ‘discovered’ the Alexander farm during an aerial search for suitable film sites to portray Hobbiton. The fantastic views and rolling countryside of the Alexander farm closely resembled that of Middle-earth as described by JRR Tolkien. The farm was ideal. The large established pine tree, later to become known as the ‘party tree’, was already perfectly placed in front of the lake. The surrounding rolling farmland was untouched by 20th century clutter such as roads, buildings or power lines. A joint venture owned by Sir Peter Jackson and The Alexander family has been established to operate tours to the Hobbiton Movie Set. The farm is still run as a commercial operation by the Alexander Family.

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If the Shire is at the heart of The Lord of the Rings, then the Hamilton & Waikato region is at the heart of the Shire. Hobbiton Movie Set is located on a working farm and allows visitors not only to “walk in the footsteps of hobbits” but to also discover the true rural diversity of the area. It offers an interesting and entertaining experience incorporating the famous film set and a special insight into rural life.

Your tour starts with a drive through the picturesque 1,250 acre sheep farm with spectacular views across to the Kaimai Ranges and you will be escorted through the ten acre site recounting fascinating details of how the Hobbiton Movie Set was created, you can choose from several tours including farm stays and BBQ lunches, private/exclusive tours can be arranged, functions and special events are catered for.

Hobbit Holes, The Mill and other structures can be viewed and you will see how this beautiful piece of Waikato farmland was transformed into The Shire from Middle-earth. Specially brewed beverages are available at The Green Dragon Inn and as you complete your tour you will be returned to The Shires Rest Cafe with the opportunity to visit The Shire Store. | 63

Hauraki Rail Trail 13  
Hauraki Rail Trail 13  

A cycling magazine featuring the Hauraki Rail Trail and the surrounding areas Place to visit Where to stay Where to go