The Twin Coast Cycle Trail gives you the opportunity to explore, discover and enjoy an area rich in cultural heritage with natural and eco beauty. Discover the history of Māori and European settlement of the area. Take a leisurely ride or walk through the countryside. Enjoy rural farmland and communities along the way.
Nearby are many areas of outstanding natural beauty within a unique coastal environment with many things to do. The area has up to 2000 hours of sunshine each year and some of the best weather in New Zealand.
Things to Do
Bay of Islands Vintage Railway, Kawakawa
Location: Follow State Highway 1 into Kawakawa from the Bay of Islands. The Kawakawa Railway Station is on the right as you enter the town. The railway line itself runs down the middle of the main street.
The old railway ran between Kawakawa and Opua. The historic rail track, trains and coaches are being restored and the vintage train runs from Kawakawa along the main street and out into the countryside as far as Taumarere (approx 4km). The long term vision of the Rail Trust is to restore the line, and extend it to run over fourteen bridges, through one tunnel and right through to Opua on the east coast.
Be sure to take a ride on Gabriel, the vintage train, which departs from the railway station at one end of the town and runs down the middle of the main street. It was built in 1927 is the only one in her class left in the world.
Pause for refreshments at one of the many eateries.
Ngawha Springs, Ngawha
Location: 5km to the east of Kaikohe
Take a short side trip to the famous Ngawha Springs. A great spot to “take the waters” and relax in the unique, natural thermal springs. Ngawha (pronounced “nah-fah”, and meaning hot pool) Springs valley is situated east of Kaikohe. This little settlement is home to natural coloured ‘mineral waters’ that are world renown for their healing properties. There is a hidden valley that offers visitors an insight into an area that has remained virtually untouched for over 100 years.
Early Māori would come and bathe their wounds in the natural pools formed from fissures deep within the earth. European miners came in the late 19th century to extract red cinnabar, the ore used to make mercury (quicksilver).
This area was once covered with magnificent Kauri forests which were long ago destroyed and buried by volcanic eruption. The last known eruptions in the Bay of Islands area took place between A.D. 200 to A.D. 700.
Aperahama Church, Kaikohe
Taheke Road, Kaikohe
Location: State Highway 12, approx. 1 km out of Kaikohe on left hand side of the road.
A visit to this historic church is well worth the short ride from Kaikohe. It is a Gothic revival church built by and thought to be named after Aperahama Te Awa, a prominent Māori churchman who died in 1884 and who lies buried in the churchyard. The first church built on the site in 1837 was visited by Samuel Marsden on his last voyage to New Zealand.
Heritage Pioneer Village, Kaikohe
Recreation Rd, Kaikohe
Phone: (09) 401 0816
Location: Right in the centre of Kaihohe
A great place to stop and explore when you go to Kaikohe. It is a 19th century Northland community recreated with all its colourful atmosphere, history and detail. Be sure to visit the glasshouse which features one of the best displays of begonia in New Zealand.
The Pioneer Village is part of an evolving, dynamic museum that tells the story of the whole community, from the days of first contact between Māori and European, to our more recent shared history.
Lake Omapere Horses, Lake Omapere
556 Te Pua Rd, Kaikohe, RD2
Phone: 021 227 5667
Location: A short distance from Lake Omapere.
Experience Māori culture and history on horseback – ride the lakeside! Seated upon well-mannered and calm horses you will hear about local Māori lore and legend on a unique educational horse trek through stunning rural Northland scenery around beautiful Lake Omapere. Treks leave twice daily 10am and 1pm. Bookings are essential.
Adventure Puketi, Puketi
476 Puketi Rd, Puketi
Phone: 09 401 9095
Mobile: 027 449 9206
Discover giant kauri trees in the Bay Of Islands Puketi sub-tropical rain forest. Your Department of Conservation (DOC) approved guides will show you through the tranquil natural beauty of this ancient forest. Enjoy the native flora and fauna. Take a night walk encounter – observing nocturnal wildlife such as wetas, kiwi and more.
Puketi & Omahuta Forests, Okaihau
Location: To the north of Okaihau. The best approach to the Omahuta Forest is from State Highway 1 (you’ll find the turnoff signposted a few kms south of Mangamuka Bridge).
Puketi and Omahuta are located between the Northland coasts of Hokianga Harbour in the west and the Bay of Islands on east. The Cycle Trail does not take you into these forests but there are great views from the track. If you want to visit the forests, it’s just a short drive or local tour operators will take you there.
These forests form one of the largest remaining continuous areas of native forests in Northland. The forests are a treasure house for native plants and animals, including populations of kiwi, kokako, kaka and lesser short-tailed bats. The area offers a range of recreation opportunities including tramping, camping and hunting. See the magnificent kauri trees, watch birds and enjoy the breathtaking scenery. Before human influence, New Zealand’s only land mammals were two species of bats. Small populations of both these species remain in Puketi and require protection.
In the past, Puketi was central to the lives of Māori and early European settlers. Its plants and animals provided food, shelter and clothing. In the late 19th century and first half of last century, its huge kauri trees supported thriving timber and kauri gum industries. The forest is now protected as part of Northland Forest Park and is administered by the New Zealand government Department of Conservation (DOC).
Hokianga Harbour, Hokianga
Discover the tidal mangrove marshes in the Hokianga Harbour which cover thousands of acres and are a rich breeding ground for harbour and open sea fish. The area is vital for swamp birds nesting in the mangroves and surrounding bush.
Mangungu Mission Station, Horeke
107 Motukiore Road, Horeke
Phone: 09 401 9624
Location: On the shores of the Hokianga Harbour Mangungu Mission Station is approx. 2km from the township of Horeke.
Visit Mangungu Mission House. Built in 1839, this historic Wesleyan Mission is also significant for its connections with the largest signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, New Zealand’s founding document. Situated on a hillside with a stunning view over the Hokianga Harbour, it is the western terminus point for the cycle trail.
Eftpos & credit card welcome.
This property is cared for by NZ Historic Places Trust.
Wairere Boulders, Horeke
70 McDonnell Road, Horeke
Phone: 09 4019935
Location: The Wairere Boulders are at the end of McDonnell Road, Horeke, 14 km off State Highway 1 (Rangiahua turnoff) and 14 km past State Highway 12 (Take the turn-off). Just follow the very visible road signs.
This surprising geological find on Felix and Rita’s farm near Horeke is very close to the cycle trail and well worth a visit. It is drawing tourists from around the world. The stunning rock formations lay hidden until a Swiss couple stumbled across it, thanks to their goat.
Felix and Rita Schaad bought the overgrown land in 1983 not knowing it had a hidden secret. It was four years after they had moved into their remote valley farm when the couple stumbled over the ancient treasure trove while out catching wild goats with their dog. Approaching the goat, Rita says they found rocks piled on each other looking like a river of stones.
There are thousands of boulders stacked on top of each other, some around 30m high. They look like a stream of rocks and boulders flowing down towards the Hokianga Harbour.
After discovering their humble home was hiding a geological piece of paradise, it was always their intention to show it off to the world. Their dream was only realised six years ago when the determined couple began building pathways by hand through their jungle oasis.
It took 3 million years for nature to create the Wairere Boulders, the only known severely eroded Basalts in the world. Geologists call it a ‘geological nightmare’. The valley features easy walks and tracks that lead you over, between or under the boulders. Walking times are between 40 minutes and 2 hours.
No card facilities; cash or cheque only.