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The Waikato River Trails - 'the Taniwha' track - Taupo Accommodation

Riverside Apartment in Taupo is the ideal base when biking or walking the Waikato River Trails

Located just 40km from the Atiamuri end of the Waikato River Trails, Riverside Apartment is an ideal holiday home to rent while cycling, walking (or even running!) the WRT. Easy road access can be gained to each start point and mid-points along the trail at Arapuni, Waipapa, Mangakino and Whakamaru.

Both apartments at Riverside have a double garage so it's easy to securely store your mountain bikes and car below the apartment. Book the best accommodation - you won't regret the drive to get back on the trail as our river views are stunning and the quality of the accommodation is (in our view) significantly better than what is available on the trail itself. For the best rates, guaranteed, book Waikato River Trails accommodation directly with Riverside Apartment.

Map of the Waikato River Trails

1. Karapiro Section - Pokaiwhenua Bridge to Arapuni Village

Grade 2-3 (Easy to Intermediate). Distance - 11.5km.

When traversing the Waikato River Trail from north-to-south, the trail starts at the Pokaiwhenua Bridge carpark. This section is gently undulating and will appeal to most riders, even those of low or moderate levels of fitness. Riders or hikers will pass through the Little Waipa Reserve where toilets can be found and across the Huihuitaha wetland boardwalk finishing at the Arapuni Swingbridge, some 400m from the Arapuni village.

2. Arapuni Section - Arapuni to Waipapa Dam

Grade 4 (Advanced). Distance - 36.0km.

From north-to-south this section of the Waikato River Trail starts at Arapuni and passes the impressive Arapuni Dam. Running alongside the river some great views are enjoyed until Jones Landing (where toilets are available) at which point the trail then follows Lake Arapuni Road to Jim Barnett's Reserve (more toilets and parking available). The road takes you to the intersection with Waotu South Road before the trail rejoins the river. Crossing the Mangarewa Bridge which is suspended some 42m above the stream below brings you to the final point of interest, the Tumai steps which have wooden tracks built in so you can push your bike up (or down) them.

3. Waipapa Section - Waipapa Dam to Mangakino

Grade 4 (Advanced). Distance - 19.0km.

Custom built, forestry and native bush trails connect this 19km section with a short 3.5km final stretch along the road in the direction of Mangakino. Obstacles and steep climbs give plenty of challenge in this demanding section of the 'Taniwha'.

4. Maraetai Section - Mangakino to Whakamaru Dam

Grade 3 (Intermediate). Distance - 12.1km.

Food and drink stops at the 'Bus Stop' and 'Hui Hut' cafes in Mangakino and the Dam Cafe in Whakamaru mark the start and end points of this moderately technical section with the 70m long Mangakino Stream suspension bridge in the middle.

5. Whakamaru Section - Whakamaru Dam to Atiamuri

Grade 3 (Intermediate). Distance - 23.5km.

From north-to-south (which in fact is more like west-to-east in this section) beginning at the Whakamaru Dam the Whakamaru Section is one of the most scenic on the WRT, as the river is almost always in sight. The Lake Whakamaru Reserve with its pines and the stunning Ongaroto Bluffs provide some of the highlights on this moderately technical section. Finishing across the lake is the magnificent Pohuturoa Rock.

Notes and more information

Cellphone coverage is only in place for about 40% of the entire trail. Ensure that the blue bi-directional markers are followed as it is possible to get lost when on the trail! Many of these markers have GPS positions, likely cellphone signal quality and a unique number - remember that in NZ the emergency services phone number is 111.

For updates, more information and trail maps please visit the Waikato River Trails website.