Waikato River Trail Maraetai Package
This package includes a one-way shuttle on each day and accommodation in Mangakino so you can ride the trail over two days.
Trail grades are based on technical difficulty only.
This video was produced by the regional tourism organization Destination Great Lake Taupo. It helps to provide a little insight into the Waikato River Trail, however, it's important to note that the video does not provide an accurate representation of the physical and technical difficulty of the trail and was largely filmed at one short section of the trail. It only includes footage of some of the southern section.
About this Package
The Waikato River Trails are a series of tracks that link with a few road sections to form a 105km trail that follows the southern banks of the mighty Waikato River. The trail rides well in either direction. The North end is at the southern reaches of Lake Karapiro near Arapuni and the South end is near the Atiamuri SH1 bridge.
The Waikato River Trail is one of the most varied cycle trails. Riders will find a constantly changing environment as they cycle the trail. Some sections have a very rural feel while others are in remote bush, there are small towns along the way and the ever present river is not only beautiful but also packed with history and home to the industry of power generation.
This package enables cyclists to ride the trail over 2 days. You can drive to your overnight accommodation in Mangakino and park there. We will shuttle you to the start of your ride on Day 1 and from the end of the ride on Day 2 back to your car and accommodation. Our package include all the necessities to make your adventure enjoyable, easy to plan, and easy to book.
$175 per person if you book 4 or 5 people
$155 per person if you book 6 or 7 people
$145 per person if you book 8 to 11 people
Min 4 people for the shuttle & accommodation package
Min 2 people for the package if you add bike hire (special pricing applies)
Two one way shuttle are included in this package. On day 1 we will shuttle you from your accommodation to the start of the ride near Arapuni and on day 2 we will shuttle from the end of your ride at Atiamuri back to your car and/or accommodation in Mangakino. This means you will ride the trail from North to South (upstream).
We can also arrange logistics so that you ride the trail from South to North (down stream).
We also offer round trip transport from Taupo as an optional extra.
Contact us for more information about logistical options. We are happy to discuss the pros and cons of each ride direction.
Accommodation at the Maraetai Lodge in Mangakino
This is for the night in between the two riding days. We can add extra nights accommodation before or after your ride if you like. The Maraetai Lodge is self catering accommodation with shared facilities. There are options for double, twin or bunk rooms. There is a fully equipped kitchen and a spacious covered deck with tables for outdoor dining. We can also provide other accommodation options, contact us for details.
Emergency Locator Beacon
We prioritise safety on our tours and make use of great technology.
Great service from guides who know the trail
We know that communication is important in planing a cycling adventure. We also know you need accurate information about the trail itself. We are riders and guides w know the trail and the logistics intimately. We can answer any of your questions.
Hard tail (front suspension only) $120 for two days
High-end full suspension mountain bikes $240 for two days
E-bikes (electric mountain bikes) are available in hard tail and full suspension models. Contact us for more details
Our bikes are high quality and are serviced between every use. They come standard with flat pedals, but we can fit Shimano SPD pedals for you on request
Round trip / two-way transport
We provide round trip transport from Taupo or other Central North Island locations. We will shuttle you to the start of the trail on day 1 and shuttle you back to your accommodation at the end of day 2. Because of the proximity to he trail, and the huge range of accommodation and dining options, Taupo is a great place to spend the night before or after your ride.
Alternatively you can have round trip transport from Taupo (or other locations each day) if you prefer not to stay in Mangakino.
Extra nights of accommodation
We can include extra accommodation in Mangakino or Taupo for the night(s) before and/or after the the ride. Ask us for options.
Having a guide is a great way to maximise the enjoyment of the ride. Our guides will not only show riders the way, they will also brief riders on upcoming trail segments. A guide can explain some of the history and geography of the area. Our guides know the emergency access points and where the hazardous parts of the trail are. Contact us for details and pricing.
We can pick up your group from Taupo, Rotorua, or Auckland airports. Contact us for pricing.
Throughout your 2 days on the Waikato River Trail you ride through a constantly changing environments. Some sections have a very rural feel while others are in remote bush, there are small towns along the way and the ever present river is not only beautiful but also packed with history and home to the industry of power generation.
Day 1: 65km • Grade 2 – 4
On the morning of your first day of riding our shuttle will meet you at your accommodation in Mangakino at 8am. It is a 1hr shuttle trip the the start of your ride at the Little Waipa reserve near Arapuni. After a briefing you will set off on your ride. Just 6km into your ride you will come to the small village of Arapuni where you can make a small detour to the very inviting Rhubarb Cafe (open Wed to Sunday) before continuing into a more technical part of the ride, then onto a road section. The most remote part of the Waikato River Trail is on Day 1 as you pass through the area Waipapa Dam. You can ride directly your accommodation in Mangakakino and enjoy a quiet evening at the lodge or the Mangakino Lakefront reserve.
We can also reverse the itinerary so you ride trail from South to North. The trail rides well in either direction.
Day 2: 38km • Grade 2-3
On the morning of your second day of riding you can either self cater at your accommodation or visit the local cafe (open Wed to Sunday). Alternatively you can pedal off early and have breakfast at the Whakamaru Dam Cafe, 13km into the ride. The ride from Mangakino to Whakamaru is the easier part of the day but does include a few short steep hills. After you cross the Whakamaru Dam the trail sidles the banks between SH30 and the Waikato River taking in many spectacular views of Lake Whakamaru and Pohaturao hill. The trail is mostly well formed Grade 3 singletrack for the next 25km to the Atiamuri Waikato River Trail Car Park at near the SH1 Waikato River Bridge.
The Maraetai Lodge
This accommodation will be booked for night in between your two riding days. We can add extra nights accommodation before or after your ride if you like.
The Maraetai Lodge is in Mangakino village just a 5 minute walk from the lake or cafe. The Maraetai Lodge is self catering accommodation with shared facilities. There are options for double, twin or bunk rooms. There is a fully equipped kitchen and a spacious covered deck with tables for outdoor dining.
We can also provide other accommodation options in Mangakino or Taupo, contact us for details.
A moderate to high fitness level is required for this ride.
The shortest day is 38km and the longest day is 65km. You should expect to be on the trail for around 5-7hrs on Day 1 and 4-5hrs on Day 2 (this includes a little stopped/rest time on the trail).
You will need some off-road biking experience to safely complete this ride.
Most the Waikato River Trail is Grade 2-3, but there are some Grade 4 sections. If you are not sure what the trail grades mean, please visit our Trail Grades page. If you have no mountain biking or off-road cycling experience, this tour may not be the best choice, you should consider our Cycle Trail Tour.
The group size for this package can be anywhere from 2 to 10 people.
Singles may join other groups to share in transport if applicable to make up the minimum numbers. Ask us whether we have others going on the dates you are interested in.
On self-guided packages you are not expected to ride with the other people booked on the day. It is designed for “at your own pace” riding. You may simply like to catch up with the other riders and share some tales from the trail over a meal at your accommodation.
On fully guided exclusive tours (where you have a guide dedicated to your group), the guide will informally structure the ride so the group can stay together as much as possible. After all, cycling is a social activity, and we help to ensure it’s fun for everyone.
I see this package includes logistics/shuttles so we ride the trail from North to South (upsteam). Can we do the other way?
Yes. Ask us for details.
If we ride the trail from South to North (downstream) will to be mostly downhill?
No. The Waikato River Trail climbs and descends the river banks so many times you will not notice and significant advantage of riding in the downstream direction (South to North).
Can we have extra an extra night of accommodation at Maraetai Lodge included for the night before or after the ride?
Yes, let us know your preferred arrangement and we can include it for you.
Can take the shuttle from Taupo or do we need meet you at the trail?
Yes, if you like we can provide round trip transport from Taupo.
Can accommodation in Taupo be included?
Yes. We can book it for you at one of our preferred providers, but it will subject to a booking fee that is the equivalent of 10% of the Taupo accommodation price.
Can you recommend any accommodation providers in Taupo?
Yes. The Taupo Millennium Hotel, Beech Tree Suites Motel, and Huka Falls Resort are all great options. Taupo also has a great many holiday houses for rent that may suit your group. Check out www.bookabach.co.nz or www.holidayhouses.co.nz
What if I only want to ride 1 of the 2 days?
No problem. Just let us know when you book and we will discuss details. If you are concerned about distance and fitness levels, it’s best for you to skip Day 1 (the Norhtern section) because that is the harder and longer day. Alternatively there is an option for you to star the ride part way along after we drop off the rest of the group at the beginning. Contact us for details.
Which day is harder?
The first day is much harder due to the length and the grade 4 sections.
Which day includes sealed road?
The first day includes 15km of sealed road, it begins about 12km into the ride.
Can I hire a bike from you?
Yes. We have hard tail and full suspension models available and will help you choose the right bike for the tour. We can also supply E-bikes. All our bikes are high quality and very well maintained.
Should I hire a guide?
It largely depends on your level of cycling experience and what you aim to get out of the ride. There are a lot of different elements packed into our guiding service: safety management, historical and geographical interpretation, riding skills tips, mechanical support, emergency management, and more. We know how to help you get the most out of the ride. Contact us for more info.