the Beauty of Waikato River
and the stunning Lake Karapiro along the Te Awa River Ride
|Day One:||Ngaruawahia to Hamilton Gardens|
|Optional Add-On:||River Cruise from Hamilton Gardens to Mystery Creek|
|Difficulty grading||Easy / Shared Path|
|Day Two:||Avantidrome to Lake Karapiro|
|Optional Add-On:||Have a Go Track Riding Session, Avantidrome; Camjet Tour;
Kayaking at Lake Karapiro; Float Experience, Cambridge
|Difficulty grading:||Easy / Mainly Shared Path|
2 nights’ accommodation at Podium Lodge
2 x Breakfast
2 x Snack Bags
Transportation to Ngaruawahia and return from Hamilton Gardens
Transportation return from Lake Karapiro
E Bike hire including helmet, lock, water bottle, maps, detailed daily riding instructions
Back-up support service if required including breakdown
Optional Extras: River Cruise | Avantidrome Track Session | Camjet Tour | Kayaking at Lake Karapiro | Float Experience, Cambridge
From $539 per person
Day One : The Mighty Waikato
Departing from Cambridge at 10am, our shuttle takes you to the foot of the magnificent Hakarimata Range in the heart of Ngaruawahia. For those with extra energy, we will leave at the earlier hour of 9am so you can take on the challenging 1349 steps to the top of the “Haks”. While wiping your brow, on clear days you’ll enjoy truly spectacular views south over the Waikato River basin, where you will soon explore.
Your Te Awa adventure begins south at “The Point”, where New Zealand’s longest river the Waikato meets the Waipa. You will start your cycle journey south along “Te Awa” while glimpsing precious views of Turangawaewae Marae, home of the 7th Maori King. Passing by Ngaruawahia Golf Course, you’ll arrive at the spectacular Perry Bridge – an newly built iconic landmark of Waikato District. Make sure you read about the history of the area and the special significance of the flax patterns on the bridge.
You will continue your journey south crossing Horotiu Bridge, first constructed in 1920 and rebuilt in 2003. After enjoying the Horotiu River section, we recommend you take a short detour for a coffee stop at the Horotiu Coffee Club – while there check out the Perry Bike Park or try a few exercises on the Life Fitness Park. From there you will rejoin Te Awa, passing by the region’s largest pa site, Maungaharekeke Pa. Mangaharakeke was named after the native flax that grew in the gullies near the Waikato. You may view the three pou by taking a short walk up the hill.
Your next section takes you past Fonterra’s Te Rapa dairy factory, which opened in 1968 and has had a massive impact on dairy production and the economy of the Waikato region.
After riding up picturesque Meadow View Lane, you will take a roadside section past the Waikato Regional Equestrian Centre where you will rejoin the river. Soon after you will approach Hamilton Mountain Bike Park (where keen mountain bike enthusiasts are encouraged to take on a loop of the 11km track) before reaching the Hamilton suburb of Pukete.
After a brief road section you will re-join the river at St Andrews. This section towards Hamilton CBD is truly spectacular, with boardwalks and beautiful wooded groves (please take care as some sections are narrow).
As you approach Hamilton City you will be spoiled for choice of activities – visit the Waikato Museum, enjoy some local shopping. A “must do” is to visit the three public art works in Hamilton’s southern precinct – Riff Raff, Sapper Moore-Jones, and the spectacular water feature “Tongue of the Dog”. We also recommend you venture up to Victoria on the River, enjoy the view and sample one the city’s charming cafes for lunch (there are many in this area; please see our lunch stop cafe guide).
Reuniting with your trusty cycle, we recommend crossing the river via Ferrybank Park over Victoria Bridge (Hamilton’s oldest), venturing back to the historic Memorial Park. Here you will see the Potter children’s garden, Spitfire fighter plane, artillery gun, Anzac Memorial, a preserved Rangariri ship and a recent addition, the War Horse sculpture.
You’ll complete your journey along the eastern bank towards Hayes Common, where you may have time for a mid-afternoon coffee or wine. Soon you will arrive at the world-famous Hamilton Gardens. Extending over 50 hectares, these gardens feature more than 20 different collections offering a window into the story of civilisations, their arts, beliefs and lifestyles. Allow an hour or two to meander through the intriguing gardens, and enjoy a deserved late afternoon refreshment and snack at Turtle Lake Cafe.
Our shuttle will collect you at 4pm (or at a time we arrange) and take you back to your accommodation.
Day Two : The Home of Champions
Start the day with breakfast in bed – or in Podium Lodge’s Hub. Or you may wish to sample the delicious brekky menu at The Bikery at Avantidrome.
Ride two minutes across the road to the world-class velodrome – the Avantidrome – for a once in a lifetime experience. If you have booked an Avantidrome tour or a “Have a Go” track experience register at the Avantidrome reception, but be sure to look around upstairs at the velodrome’s steep embankments.
You’ll then head south past the Gallagher Bike Track and Perry Playground towards Cambridge, where there are a variety of cafes and tourist stops. Next to the town hall we have the iSite information centre informing visitors of every event and sight worth seeing in the district. Time permitting, take a stroll around Lake TeKoutu, or along Cambridge’s bustling Victoria Street. Notice the street plaques adorning our many district world and Olympic champions, and pop into Cambridge History Museum as you make your way towards the high level bridge.
From the bridge you will follow the map along Shakespeare, Raleigh and Carlyle streets until you re-join Te Awa. From here you will journey out to Karapiro, passing by many horse studs and country estates. Upon arriving at Karapiro you may wish to venture across Karapiro Dam, taking seven years to build in the 1940s. Returning to Karapiro, take Gate 1 and cycle along the internal road past the Sir Don Rowland’s Centre, named after the pioneering businessman and director of the 1974 Rowing World Championships.
Here on the embankment you will find Podium Cafe; time for a rest and refreshment or perhaps lunch. From Podium Café you will head south past the NZ Rowing High Performance Centre where our Olympians train on a daily basis. Follow the trail to the boardwalk section until you arrive at the rowing race start pontoons. This is your turnaround point.
Our shuttle can collect you or you may decide to cycle back to your accommodation – we can direct you to a number of other wonderful Cambridge attractions for your return trip.