Planning on riding the Twin Coast Cycle Trail? Contact us for help in planning your itinerary and booking your trip.
The Twin Coast Cycle Trail - Pou Herenga Tai comprises of 87 kilometers of easy cycling linking the inner harbour of the Hokianga to Opua in the beautiful Bay of Islands. This trail is steeped in historical significance for early New Zealand history. The trail is noted for its hand-carved wooden pou, which bring to life the stories of the people and place.
The trail passes through some of New Zealand's earliest European and Maori settlements. The full route is now open, providing great options for short day excursions, or a leisurely two-day experience for people wanting to complete the whole route. The trail can be riden in either direction. We describe it here in four short sections, heading east to west.
Opua to Otiria (16 km)
This easy section is a great one for families, with an optional journey on Gabriel, a vintage steam train. After setting off from the port of Opua with a coastal section and pleasing views over the Bay of Islands, the trail soon leaves the coast and follows an old rail line to Taumarere, where you have the choice of cycling on alongside the track, or jumping abroad the Gabriel for the final 3 km into Kawakawa. After checking out Kawakawa's famous Hundertwasser toilets, continue alongside the active rail line for 6 km through to Otiria
Otiria to Kaikohe (27km)
This section takes you over some beautiful historic rail bridges that have been restored for use on the trail. The route follows alongside Ngapipito Rd, with a short detour of 500m currently in place where you use the road before jumping back on the trail. After passing the Kaikohe Aerodrome, you have just 6km left into town (Kaikohe), which provides accomodation options for those riding the trail over two days. Kaikohe features sites of early Maori-European contact and conflict. Be sure to check out Heritage Kaikohe with its museum of early settlement and transport.
Kaikohe to Okaihau (14km)
This section follows an old railway track was built on the ancient pathways and trails the Maori used to travel from coast to coast. The same trails were used later by the missionaries. Early into the day's ride, you'll reach an 80m tunnel, part of the old rail corridor. Beyond the tunnel the trail continues north, skirting past Lake Omapere - Northland's largest lake which is also significant in Maori mythology. It is not much further to the village of Okaihau, a hub of early agricultural settlement and development. There are still a few shops here for grabbing a well-earned snack or drink.
Okaihau to Mangungu Mission (30km)
This is the hardest of the sections on the trail (Grade 3), but rewarding for those willing and able to complete it. There has been a lot of investment to build new boardwalks through mangroves and coastal wetlands. It follows the Utakura River on its decent down to Horeke on the inner Hokianga Harbour. Don't end it here though! Another 3km will get you out to the Mangungu, a Wesleyan mission house from the 1830's and an important site for the Treaty of Waitangi.
There is plenty of history to discover right along this trail of discovery in the Far North, a ride suitable for most abilities.
Note: Although generally fine, there have been some reports of bike theft, so we recommend locking your bikes when you stop for a break.
The tourist mecca of Paihia is the easiest and arguably nicest place to access the trail from. We suggest you book yourself in at one of the hostels/hotels in town, and after a day exploring Paihia and Waitangi, set off on your journey!
You can grab a bus from Auckland to Paihia, an approximately 4 hour journey, leaving regularly from Auckland.