2-Day Bike Tour

Waikato River Trails


Embark on a self-guided cycle tour on the Waikato River Trail, and relax knowing your hardtail mountain bike hire, shuttle transfers, accommodation and some meals are covered!

Trail Sections: Atiamuri – Mangakino – Waipapa – Arapuni 

Duration

2 Days

Ages

8+

Price

From $459 per person

Activity Grade

Intermediate & Advanced
(Grades 3 & 4)


Begin your ride at Atiamuri, the southernmost point of the Waikato River Trail. This 26km section is almost always in sight of the scenic and expansive Lake Whakamaru. 

Watching over you just after the Atiamuri Dam is the stunning half-million-year-old Pohaturoa volcanic plug, a magnificent historically significant feature. 

The Waipapa section combines high quality custom-built trails through native bush, along with long flowing forestry trails. 

Arapuni village is a favourite spot for coffee and lunch, a cafe located only 400 metres from the historic Arapuni swing-bridge. This amazing structure soars over the top of a working power station built in the 1920s and is an absolute must. 

The Karāpiro section goes through native bush with short climbs and downhills to a unique wetland, where you cycle on a 500m-long boardwalk, all alongside the edge of the Waikato River and Lake Karapiro. 

The final few kilometres of trail follows open farmland and pastures before finishing at the Pokaiwhenua Bridge carpark.


Day 1 - Atiamuri to Mangakino

38km, 5 to 6 hours

Meet at Riverside Adventures base (396 Horahora Road, Piarere) you can leave your car where you will be transported to begin your 2 day ride at Atiamuri, the southernmost point of the Waikato River Trail. 

This 26km section is almost always in sight of the scenic and expansive Lake Whakamaru. Watching over you just after the Atiamuri Dam is the stunning half-million-year-old Pohaturoa volcanic plug, a magnificent historically significant feature.

The trail then hugs the lake through pine forests and native bush, adjacent to farmland. Across the lake sheer bluffs rise from the water to provide an amazing backdrop. 

Once you arrive at Whakamaru Dam, it is only a short ride to The Dam Café in the village for a well-deserved break and some lunch. The trail is moderately technical with some short steep areas and corners to navigate and is graded level 3 INTERMEDIATE.

After lunch it is onto the second part of the ride through to the hydro village of Mangakino. This 12km section has great views along Lake Maraetai and just before the village is the 70m long Mangakino Stream suspension bridge. The Waikato River Trails Trust has recently planted several thousand native trees along the edge of the lake on this section of trail. Stay at one of our wonderful Bed and Breakfast options in Mangakino. We recommend the Citizens Club for a hearty meal after your first day of adventure. 

Day 2 - Mangakino to Riverside Adventures Base

Mangakino to Waipapa Dam - 19km, 2 to 3 hours
Waipapa Dam to Arapuni (45min shuttle)
Arapuni to Riverside Adventures Base - 12kms, 1-1.5 hours

This morning you will bike from Mangakino to the Waipapa Dam. This section is for those looking for a little adventure as there are no alternative routes off the trail once you begin.

The Waipapa section combines high quality custom-built trails through native bush, along with long flowing forestry trails. There are some steep areas giving this section its ADVANCED grading. There are historic sites at the start of this section where construction of the Maraetai Dams took place, information panels are situated in the area to share some of the stories.

The Waipapa section is more remote than others but should not be missed. You also have the option of adding a 20km ride from Waipapa Dam to the Mangarewa Suspension bridge and return. 

The Arapuni section from Mangarewa Suspension Bridge to Waotu South Road is now permanently closed. There is now an on road section from Waipapa Dam to Arapuni Dam which is mostly sealed with a short section of unsealed road. The gradient includes some long steep climbs. 

We will transport you from the Waipapa Dam to the Arapuni Dam to start the final ride. The Karāpiro section is the most popular of the entire Waikato River Trail. Rhubarb Café ** in Arapuni village is a favourite spot for coffee and lunch, located only 400 metres from the historic Arapuni swing-bridge. This amazing structure soars over the top of a working power station built in the 1920s and is an absolute must-visit on the trail.

The Karāpiro section takes a route through native bush with short climbs and downhills then on to a unique wetland and over a 500m long continuous boardwalk, all alongside the edge of the Waikato River and Lake Karāpiro. The final few kilometres of trail follows next to open farmland and pastures before finishing at the Pokaiwhenua Bridge carpark.

There is a 300m section of road from the Pokaiwhenua Bridge back to our base and your vehicle.

There is a 15 minute drive from our base to your accommodation at the luxurious Hidden Lake Hotel & Apartments with a restaurant onsite or you can choose from the wide range of eateries close by. 

There is an option to add on the Twilight Glowworm Kayak Tour this evening.  

** If either That Dam Cafe in Whakamaru or Rhubarb Cafe in Arapuni are closed we will provide a packed lunch 

Day 3 - Activity Time

After you have enjoyed a breakfast and checked out of the Hidden Lake Hotel you will be set to go for your last day of adventures. 

You have the choice of any of the below options of places to explore while you are here in the Waikato.

 

Options in the afternoon of Day 3 if the shorter ride is chosen:

The extra ride sections:

Waipapa Dam to the Mangarewa Suspension Bridge - 10km one way.
From the Waipapa Dam end the trail quickly hits the Tumai steps – sorry to say but this means you will need to push your bike! The reward at the top is the awesome view down to the Waikato River. 9km further along is the 80m long Mangarewa suspension bridge, 42m above the stream below. As the trail ends at the northern end of the bridge, you will need to return to Waipapa Dam.

Arapuni Dam to Jones Landing - 3km one way.
At the Arapuni Dam you can cross the road and head towards Jones Landing. This is a technical trail for riding and is more suitable for walking.  Along this journey make sure you pop up to the lookout to see over Jones Landing and Lake Arapuni below.

Package inclusions

  • All shuttle and luggage transfers over two days
  • Hardtail mountain bike hire for two days
  • One nights accommodation at Thompson's B&B in Mangakino
  • Meals: one breakfast and two lunches (vouchers provided for lunch both days) 

Pricing

From $459pp

Optional extras

  • e-bike upgrade $240 per person
  • Single supplement POA
  • Support vehicle POA
  • Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari tour $38 per person
  • Hobbiton Movie Set Tour $89 per person
  • Daytime Karāpiro kayak tour $89 per person
  • Private twilight kayak glow worm tour $149 per person