Paeroa is one of those iconic towns so etched into Kiwiana history that to pass through or around means you are missing out.
We however had planned to stop here on a trip up to Coromandel in order to ride the Hauraki Rail Trail through the Karangahake Gorge, 24kms to Waihi. We had done this ride around 7 years prior and were keen to revisit.
We parked up at the Northern end of town next to the L&P cafe, and one of the towns classic giant L&P bottles and followed the path alongside the town to reach the trail head. The cafe serves L&P (obviously) and had a good range of food and clean bathrooms.
Leaving from the cafe, the trail is well sign posted along the way and there are several maps available online.
The first major landmark to come across is the Crown Mines that are worth a look on foot if you have the time. Then you come to the big bridge crossing the Ohinemuri River and Karangahake Gorge road before the disappearing into the impressive 1100 meter tunnel. The tunnel seems to be well lit these days so we didn’t need a torch like last time.
On the far side as you exit the tunnel to another more solid looking bridge, you have a well placed rest stop to take in the impressive beauty of the Gorge. There is another side trail here that leads down the river if you feel like exploring.
Continuing on, the trail sidles alongside the river popping out of the gorge through farmland, though, the trail is pretty well lined with forestry.
After a few more kms you will come across the Victoria Battery where gold was recovered from the mines and a train museum that is also worth a look.
From here just a short while away is the Waikino train station (which wasn’t running at the time we visited) we made the train trip to Waihi the last time we visited and it was an interesting alternative way to Waihi if your legs are tired or if you have kids in tow (watch out for the teddy bears along the way).
With no train to catch, we pedalled on towards Waihi on what I think may have been a a new section since the last time we visited, an easy through the area with some great spots next to the river to check out the scenery before arriving at the Waihi Train Station.
The ride is pretty easy with no major climbs, the surface is smooth and wide catering for any rider skill level. This is the go-to “adventure” trail I recommend to people with kids or beginner rider skill levels.
From Waihi Station we called Adventure Bike Hire & Shuttles to whisk us back to Paeroa, they turned up in no time and for a very reasonable fare had us back at our car in Paeroa ready to continue our trip up to Hahei.
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