The Trail

What to expect

Following a dedicated cycle path, the awe inspiring heritage trail offers riders an invigorating experience along a truly spectacular coastline. The wide, smooth path traverses Podocarp Forest, Nikau Palms and expansive beaches, as riders journey back in time to the days of Māori Pounamu gatherers and the glittering gold rush era.

The breathtaking route meanders an enviable mix of rugged cliffs, crashing seas, wildlife, forest, suspension bridges, boardwalks, pristine wetlands, shelters and interpretive signage brimming with remarkable stories and local secrets.  With views from mountains to sea the trail will traverse highlights such as Carters Beach, Cape Foulwind and Tauranga Bay.

Who is the Trail suitable for?

The Grade 2 family friendly cycle trail will be suitable for most ages, fitness and abilities. Once complete, the Trail will have the convenience of accommodation and eateries along the way.  Multiple access points, bike hire, luggage transfers and shuttle options will enable visitors to incorporate overnight stops.

The future of the Trail

The Trail has been built to The New Zealand Cycle Trail Guidelines for a Grade 2 track, and is aligned to the Ngā Haerenga Great Rides primary objectives of creating jobs, building a high quality tourism asset and maximising the range of complementary benefits that the cycle trail network provides to a wide range of New Zealanders.  Once complete it is hoped the Kawatiri Cycle Trail will receive Great Ride Status.

Click the white circles on each stage for more detail.


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Buller Bridge to Carters Beach

Crossing the Buller Bridge, you will set off along the river boundary past farmland and then into a lowland forest wetland via a boardwalk. After crossing the Martins Creek Bridge you will be alongside a historic Māori archaeological site which dates back to the 1300s. From there it is a gentle meander through more wetland, a golf course and then out into the Carters Beach Domain.

Kawau Carters Beach to Cape Foulwind

Leaving the sleepy seaside settlement of Carters Beach, you will then head west through farmland and with a gentle climb up to Cape Foulwind, ending up high and dry at the former site of the cement works.

Omau Cape Foulwind to Tauranga Bay

This section takes you along the old cement works haul road to Omau where you meander along the stunning clifftops before traveling around the Granite headland and dropping down into Tauranga Bay at the Seal Colony carpark.

Tauranga Bay to Okari River

Tauranga Bay is a stunning picturesque sandy beach bay with headlands at each end. Stop for a surf or travel the length of the beach and then jump over into the 9 Mile or Okari Beach which follows the coastline down to the Okari River. Here we head up onto a high bush terrace with stunning 360 degree views to end up crossing the Okari River inland.

Okari River to Virgin Flat Road

After crossing the Okari, you will now gently head downhill alongside the forest edge and weave your way down and around to link up with Virgin Flat Road on a flat wide terrace.

Totara Virgin Flat Road to Hands Road

This is an easy travel route down Virgin Flat Road and then into Tanglefern Road heading back towards the coast to meet the Big Totara River. After crossing the Totara, you will join Hands Road along the riverbank.

Rahui Hands Road to Nile River

Following the riverbank, you will head south quietly along Hands Road and then into Beach Road before climbing up alongside Parsons Hill. Beach Road continues to meander alongside the shoreline until you meet up with the Nile River.

Waitakere Nile River to Constant Bay

Cruise over the Nile River suspension bridge and gently work your way up through bush until you are along Rotten Row in the Historic gold mining town of Charleston. After stopping for refreshments, drop down to the stunning Constant Bay.

Tauhinu Constant Bay to SH6 (4 Mile Road)

Leaving Constant Bay, you will gently climb up through the historic goldfields area, straddling the rocky clifftops before heading inland across a wide Pākihi Terrace. There are some stunning views and amazing wildlife throughout this final stage, as well as plenty of heritage features to learn about.


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Elevation Profile for the Kawatiri Coastal Trail