Planning a weekend in Te Tai Tokerau to ride Pou Herenga Tai Twin Coast Cycle? Our Two-Day Itinerary is a helpful guide for how to ride the cycle trail from coast to coast over a weekend.
Travel to Northland and check in at your accommodation in either Kaikohe, Ōkaihau or Bay of Islands. See Official Trail Partner accommodation options here.
Make your way to Kaikohe (30 mins drive from Paihia, 26 mins from Kerikeri) and collect your bike from one of our Kaikohe based Bike Hire companies. Confirm time and location of shuttle pick up in Opua and check Bay of Islands Vintage Railway train schedule and current ticket prices.
Ride to the entrance of the Cycle Trail on Station Road, Kaikohe (opposite Kaikohe Refuse Centre).
Kaikohe to Kawakawa • Grade 1 & 2 • 34km • 3 – 4 hours
- Kaikohe is a medium-sized township with rich Māori and European heritage. Kaikohe is the hometown of Ngāpuhi.
- Just out of Kaikohe you will pass the Kaikohe Aerodrome built in 1942 as a US Marines bomber base. It is the largest grass strip in the Southern Hemisphere, used now by general aviation.
- The next 25km of the trail is a gradual decline through the Ngapipito Valley, pass rural activities of pine forestry and farming before reaching the historic wooden twin truss bridges at Tūhipa.
- The trail takes you along the back of the Moerewa township with the remaining primary industries still operating: a timber mill and freezing works. A feature of the former railway corridor is a 1km long causeway over paddocks, wetlands and waterways before arriving at Kawakawa.
- Arrive in Kawakawa! A bustling rural town with some big tourist attractions. The perfect toilet stop is the famous Hundertwasser toilets. Learn more about the world-renowned Austrian artist who designed these quirky toilets at Te Hononga Hundertwasser Memorial Park. In Kawakawa you will also find Bay of Islands Vintage Railway, cafes, a small supermarket, and plenty of craft and gift shops.
Kawakawa to Ōpua Via Taumarere & Te Ake Ake / Grade 1 • 11km • 1 hour
- You will need to take a train ride to get from Taumarere to Te Ake Ake to complete this part of your journey.
- The ride between Kawakawa and Taumarere is easy and ideal for inexperienced riders. The trail follows the southern edge of the Kawakawa River plain alongside the second oldest railway line in New Zealand.
- Between Te Ake Ake and Ōpua the trail continues alongside the river. This was once the main access way for Māori travelling to and from the area. Ponder the history and enjoy stunning estuarine scenery on your way to or from Ōpua.
If the train is not operating, or you prefer to stay on your bike for this whole section, there is an alternative road route.
Kawakawa to Ōpua Via Whangae & Oromahoe Roads / Grade 3 • 17km • 1.5 hours
- This is an alternative route on quiet country roads suitable for experienced riders. There are hills that require a reasonable fitness level, especially if riding from Kawakawa, but there is also plenty of downhill freewheeling.
- This route will take you through farmland and the beautiful Ōpua State Forest, with its stately Kauri trees and panoramic ocean views.
- The easiest way to ride this route is to start at the Top O’ The Hill reserve on the corner of SH11 and English Bay Road in Ōpua. Follow the signs along Oromahoe Road and Whangae Road, then cross the Kawakawa River plain to arrive at Te Hononga in Kawakawa.
Relax in the shuttle while your driver transports you back to Kaikohe.
Make your way to Kaikohe (30 mins drive from Paihia, 26 mins from Kerikeri) and collect your bike from one of our Kaikohe based Bike Hire companies. Confirm time and location of shuttle pick up in Horeke.
Ride to the entrance of the Cycle Trail on Station Road, Kaikohe (beside Kaikohe Refuse Centre).
Kaikohe to Ōkaihau • Grade 1 & 2 • 14km • 1 – 2 Hours
- The trail leaves on the west of town and is popular with walkers due to the gentle climb with spectacular paramount views and storyboards telling the history of the area. The trail climbs 280 metres above sea level at the highest point.
- The trail follows a disused railway corridor and nestled in a tranquil native bush setting is an 80m long curved tunnel built in 1915 – make sure to switch your bike light on as you pass through!
- Once through the tunnel, you will gradually descend to Northland’s largest lake, Lake Ōmāpere. Tuna (eels) harvested from Lake Ōmāpere and Utakura River catchment have long been an important food source for tangata whenua.
- Your next stop will be the township of Ōkaihau. Ōkaihau has fantastic eateries and boutique shops.
- Heading Southwest out of town for a few kilometres, the trail is beside the road. Be sure to stop at all the points of interest, churches and the war memorial gates with storyboards.
Ōkaihau to Horeke • Grade 2 & 3 • 28km • 2 – 3 Hours
- Starting from outside the Ōkaihau Community Hall cycle west along the ridge taking in stunning views of the Waihou Valley and historic sites along the way. Moving off the roadside enter farmland at what is known as the Macadamia Farm.
- Take in amazing views of the Utakura Valley as you head down the trail via a series of switchbacks to a beautiful part of the trail cycling alongside the Utakura River surrounded by bush clad hills.
- Snow’s Picnic Spot beside the Utakura River is a must-stop along the trail. Here you will find the Country Food Kiosk (closed in winter) offering delicious country-style food in a peaceful and restful setting.
- Coming out of the farmland, the trail follows the road, before you come to the 1km boardwalk through the Mangrove Estuary to Hokianga Harbour.
- Next stop is Horeke! At the old Horeke Fire Station, the trail shares the road for approx 3 km to the end of the trail at Māngungu Mission House – a national heritage site.
- Explore this important heritage site that overlooks the picturesque Hokianga Harbour as you wait for your shuttle. Māngungu Mission was the site of the third signing of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.