With the looming closeness of summer and Christmas holidays, it seems the perfect time to explore Waikato and the stunning river walks and bike-rides on offer. Set out by yourself or take family and friends. Follow our guide for some of the best spots.
Nestled alongside the mighty Waikato hides the shared paths of the Hamilton City River Rides as part of Te Awa – The Great New Zealand River Ride. Enjoyed by cyclists, walkers, runners and our four-legged friends alike, these picturesque pathways are among the city’s most popular parks.
The well signposted tracks can be accessed at multiple points along the river, running on both the west and the east sides of the waterway and provide great links to the city’s bridges and other parks. The west side stretch between Pukete in the north, where they link with nearby Hamilton Mountain Bike Track in Pukete Farm Park, all the way down to Hamilton Gardens in the south.
There are park benches and grassy areas along the track on both sides for those who want to stop to let a bike go past, or sit and watch the boats and birds go by.
- Ride from the city’s CBD down to the stunning Hamilton Gardens for a stroll and a bite to eat – you can even hire your bike from the Gardens or from Novotel Tainui Hamilton.
- Memorial Park on the east side of the river was established as a WW1 memorial and is a key feature of the river paths. With a roll of honour, the anchor of the decommissioned HMNZs Waikato and a replica spitfire plan, the site makes for a great stop on your trip along the trail.
- Parana Park on the east side next to Memorial Park, is a particular favourite among families. The children’s park and playground makes for a great spot to stop for a picnic, with a paddling pool, interactive sculptures, a small amphitheatre and a unique kowhai theme throughout.
- The northern end of the trail is perfect for those looking for a more serious ride. It connects with Hamilton Mountain Bike Track on Pukete Farm Park and offers a largely flat track surrounded by native trees with tight twists and turns for more advanced riders.
- There are six road bridges crossing the river along the paths, some of which were built in the early 1880s. These bridges, along with a service bridge further north of the city can be used by cyclists and pedestrians and make a scenic crossing over the river.
GOOD TO KNOW
- 10km either side of the river
- Accessed on multiple points along the trail
- Grade 1 or 2 (Easy and family-friendly)
- Dogs are welcome on these trails
- Bike hire is available from Novotel
- Tainui Hamilton and Hamilton Gardens