Opua to Kawakawa
A gentle outing from the marina at Opua along a historic railway line to Taumarere Station and back. You can also catch a vintage train a further 5 km into Kawakawa.
Distance: 7 km each way
Ride Time: 2– 3 hours
You can start this ride from Opua or Kawakawa. The start in Opua is from a carpark at the end of Baffin Street (around the back of the large boatyards). Navigation is foolproof. Just follow the smooth rail trail for 7 km to the deserted railway station at Taumarere. On the way you will ride around the coast, through a tunnel and over the longest curved railway bridge in the Southern Hemisphere. There is a carpark at the Kawakawa Football Club, just 200 metres from Taumarere Station. This last section is prone to closures as the tracks are upgraded. From Taumarere Station you can ride back to Opua or catch a train to Kawakawa and back.
Alternatively, start from Kawakawa township with a 5 km train trip to Taumarere Station. The train goes down the main street of Kawakawa, which is also State Highway 1. It costs $20 return for adults, and runs on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays.
Opua is a boaties’ heaven. It’s one of the oldest ports in the country and was once busy shipping farm products and coal to northern land. It is now used by recreational boaties, offshore cruising yachts and the occasional cruise ship. There are shops and a popular café beside the marina.
Paihia is the tourist heart of the Bay of Islands. Visitors will find everything they need at this beautiful beach town. Just up the road is Waitangi, where New Zealand’s founding treaty was signed in 1840.
Kawakawa is a vibrant little town, with cafes, art stores, the railway station and the outrageously funky Hundertwasser toilets.
Bike Hire: Top Trail Hire &Tours Ltd, www.toptrail.co.nz or phone 0274535176
Train Trip: The vintage railway trip costs $20 per adult and $5 per child. Check www.bayofislandsvintagerailway.org.nz for a timetable.
This is a small part of the 85-km Twin Coast Cycle Trail. The full trail will be completed in early early 2016. Other sections which are worth doing are Kawakawa to Moerewa (7 km one way and shown in yellow on the map) and Kaikohe to Okaihau (14 km one way).