Are dogs allowed on the Waikato River Trails?

The Trust has a policy of NO DOGS on the trails. The reason for this policy is to respect private landowners who are farming next to the trails.

If I am going to do the whole Trail, which way should I go? South to North, or North to South?

There is no right answer to this one. There are ups and downs whichever way you go,  The Trails are a genuine two-way trail, so there is plenty of room for everyone going either way.

How long will the entire journey take me if I do the 104km journey?

For most cyclist, 3-4 days and walkers up to 5 days.

Is the Trail suitable for my children?

Sections of the trail are suitable for children of all ages. These are the Karapiro, Maraetai and parts of the Whakamaru sections. Other sections; Waipapa & Arapuni are more suited to older teenagers.

It is recommended that children are closely supervised as:

  • Many parts of the trail are close to the Waikato River.
  • There are a number of steep parts of the trail where inexperienced cyclists can get up too much speed.
  • Some sections of the trail are quite remote; for instance the Mangakino Lakefront to Waipapa Dam (Waipapa section) and Waipapa Dam to the Mangarewa Suspension Bridge (part of the Arapuni section). Once in these area you are committed to returning or moving forward to the section end. Tired children (or adults) may find this challenging.
  • There are two suspension bridges 70m & 80m long on the trail, some children may find these frightening. These are in the Arapuni (Mangarewa Suspension Bridge) and Maraetai  (Mangakino Suspension Bridge) sections.
  • There are several staircases along the trail (in the Arapuni section) that if cycling would require you to carry your children's bicycles. The Ongaroto Bluffs staircase along the Whakamaru section has the option of travelling alongside the road as an alternative.

Is there mobile phone coverage on the Trails?

Mobile phone coverage is available on approximately 40% of the trails. There is better coverage on the Karapiro, Whakamaru and Maraetai sections, with Maraetai having the best coverage. The coverage on Arapuni & Waipapa sections is more limited.

What happens if I have an accident on the Trail?

Along the trail are numerous blue directional markers. Over 40 of these markers have information on them to help in the case of an accident. Each marker has a unique number and GPS co-ordinates. The markers also indicate the likely quality of cell phone service. In the case of an accident requiring emergency service response call 111 and describe the information on the closest marker to you. Emergency services have detailed maps and instructions to locate each of the labelled markers.

Can I get lost on the Trails?

Yes you can. Please follow the blue directional markers positioned along the trails. Take particular care in forestry blocks to follow markers.

Where can I find the nearest bike shop?

The bike shop closest to the Waikato River Trails are:

  • South Waikato Cycles and Lawncare, Rosebery Street, Tokoroa. Ph: 07 886 9299

Are there particular hazards on the Trails to be aware of?

  • Through heavy rainfall and day-to-day hydro operations, the lakes are subject to flooding, be aware that the lake levels can rise quickly.
  • On a number of trails adjacent to the lakes, there are steep drops, keep as close to the inside as possible.
  • Parents and caregivers must supervise children at all times. It is recommended that children are positioned between adults at all times.


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