You may want to tackle the entire course in a day or more likely take several days to really experience the bush, forest and historic landmarks along the way.
The trails are suited to off-road mountain bikes, and are graded level 4 (advanced). The southern and northern ends of the course are mainly grades 1-2 - these include Lake Karapiro, closest of the lakes to Cambridge, as well as Lake Whakamaru and Lake Maraetai. Lakes Waipapa and Arapuni are graded 2-3.
The pathway passes through farmlands, reserves and across boardwalks, while stories of the local history are told on signposts beside the track. The trails are a wonderful chance to get away from the hubbub of city life and experience the freedom of the country.
The Waikato River Trails are listed among the 18 Great Rides under Nga Haerenga, The New Zealand Cycle Trail.
The best time of year to ride the trail is between September and May.
To access the trails from Cambridge, head south on State Highway One and turn off at Horahora Road. Go 5kms to the Pokaiwhenua Bridge car park which is the starting point of the Karapiro Trail.
Partners in the trails are the Waikato Rivers Trails Trust, the New Zealand Cycle Trail project, South Waikato District Council, Waikato Regional Council and Taupo District Council. Mighty River Power are the trail's major sponsor.
Connecting Cambridge to Karapiro is the recently completed Te Awa walk/cycle way which is just over 8km of dedicated pathway to the Mighty River Domain on the shores of Lake Karapiro.
Mostly flat, the cycle way runs adjacent to Maungatautari Road and is an enjoyable safe way to explore beyond the town.
Imagine a place where people can learn how important wetlands are, the human benefits they provide and the unique plant and animal communities they support.
Visit Rotopiko Reserve for a pest-free picnic. Enjoy easy walks, lake views, ancient swamp forest, rare plants and native birds.