The trail is part of the Hauraki Rail Trail which includes legs from Thames to Paeroa (33km), Paeroa to TeAroha (21km), and Paeroa to Waikino (14km one way or 28km return).
I'd already ridden the Waikino leg a couple of times (on my own and with my family) and wanted to tick off the northern leg.
I started the trail from Paeroa. I parked in the same place I used before and simply started heading north on the old embankment past the skate park, crossed over the highway, followed the mix of trail and on road riding down Taylor Ave, until the track turned off proper from the road by a large parking area.
The track is very flat, quite straight, and maybe a bit boring if you only look 5 meters ahead of your front wheel. Lucky the surrounding scenery is good!
As I rode, the early morning mist slowly burnt off and the views opened up to farmland and distant views of the Coromandel Range. Behind me were the Kaimais with Mt TeAroha leading.
The track faithfully followed the old railway embankments north, only deviating in a couple of places where there used to be river crossings or the odd road crossing. A short dog-leg to the highway at Hikutaia gives the first refreshment stop at the 'Convenient Cow' cafe. Onwards!
I continued up the the highway at Kopu, from there I could have continued to Thames but decided I wanted a coffee. I was feeling a bit under the weather with a cold looming, plus my intense training regime of desk work hadn't paid off in fitness. I turned around and found a pleasant tail wind behind me.
Being a weekday the track had a few people out for a spin, one guy was probably near 80 years old and lived nearby, he said he got out on the track maybe 4-5 times a week. I hope I'm still able to bike when I get to his age!
I stopped for a coffee at The Cheese Barn - a short 500m deviation off the trail at Wainui Rd, Matatoki.
From there is was another 19km back to Paeroa. At several places people have set up some outdoor furniture track-side which is a nice touch.
The track itself is gravel, and probably could do with a bit more bedding in, it will only improve over time. One of the couples I talked to on the track had previously had a puncture from some sharp gravel. There are a couple of bridges that have been built for the trail, the last one near Kopu is a nice design. Further back towards Paeroa I stopped for a while and watched trout rising downstream of a bridge - very peaceful!
I enjoyed the ride - it didn't have the interesting diversions of the Waikino leg, but it was with such a flat and straight ride I got into one of those cycling zen modes where I was concentrating on pedalling perfect circles, and wishing I had a lockout on my rear shock! In comparison to what we had a few years ago in the way of bike trails, the Hauraki rail trail is a welcome addition that will hopefully pay off for the local communities it passes through.
All up I did 52km on the bike.
This track is now included in the NZOpenGPS maps.