Cambridge to Lake Karapiro - Waikato
A smooth path leads from Cambridge to Lake Karapiro Domain, where you can get an ice cream and watch the rowing, or enjoy a picnic. In the other direction, a short ride leads to a huge velodrome with a café, and a kids’ bike park.
Distance: 8 km to Lake Karapiro or 3.2 km to the velodrome
Ride Time: 30–60 minutes to Lake Karapiro, or 15–20 minutes to the velodrome
From Cambridge you must first decide your destination – the lake, the velodrome, or both! The off-road path to Lake Karapiro Reserve starts from the Leamington Rugby Clubrooms on Carlyle Street (opposite the end of Raleigh Street). To ride from town, head south on Victoria Street, cross the historic bridge and go left along Cook Street, then right at Shakespeare Street, and left down Raleigh (past the Cambridge Motor Camp) to Carlyle. A smooth concrete path parallels Carlyle Street. It turns left at Maungatautari Road and is easy to follow all the way to Lake Karapiro Domain, the national home of rowing.
Beyond the domain a big dipper leads to a wooden boardwalk that skirts the edge of the lake for a few hundred metres, offering great views of the rowers. Turn around at the end of the boardwalk and return the same way (beyond the boardwalk the path just climbs 100 metres before ending at Maungatautari Road).
The much shorter option is to head out to the Avantidrome for a coffee or to let the kids play at the bike park. Head off Victoria Street down Alpha Street, and if you are driving then park at the Gaslight Theatre just off Hall Street. This path is smooth and wide, but has a couple of short hills. There are two picnic tables on the way and the velodrome park is a popular destination for families with small children.
Lake Karapiro is the centre of rowing in New Zealand and you will probably see incredibly fit looking rowers commuting on the cycle path.
The indoor velodrome is called Avantidrome after its main sponsor Avanti. It is the official home of cycling in New Zealand and where most top track cyclists train.
Cambridge is a picturesque town with several great cafes and interesting shops in the main street (Victoria Street). Those on a budget may prefer the Leamington Bakery and Café, on Shakespeare Street.
Bike Hire: There is a bike shop at Avantidrome which has good rates for hiring a range of bikes. Contact the Avanti Bike Shop on phone 07 823 0713.
Donations: towards the construction of the trail can be made at givealittle.co.nz/donate/Organisation/teawariverride
There are two options nearby. The Hamilton to Horotiu Bridge ride or alternatively, head along Maungatautari Road to the small village of Arapuni and ride the Waikato River Trail north for 8 km to Little Waipa Reserve. This is the easiest section of this 100 km long trail (for more details read Classic New Zealand Cycle Trails).