Festive 500 2020 Day 2 - Hauraki Rail Trail

Words by Jacky Lee on December 27 2020
Festive 500 2020 Day 2 - Hauraki Rail Trail

Kriss and I got up for our 7 AM breakfast, provided by our Bed and Breakfast hosts. We made sure to order a few extra pieces of toast because we knew we had a big day ahead of us. The itinerary for the day was to ride to Waihe Beach, with Hauraki Rail Trail along the way. From the website, it seemed like the terrain was going to be gentle, and sounded like a great day to enjoy whatever the trail had to offer without feeling like we had to rush for time.

After a big breakfast, we departed the accommodation around 8 AM. We decided to head up to the Thames War Memorial because we noticed that on our balcony the night before.

Leaving the town centre of Thames, we didn't need to do any navigation, the cycle lane was separated from the main roads and every few kilometres there were big colourful signs that point us to "Hauraki Rail Trail". The condition of the trail was easy, gentle with light gravel. I ran a size 28 Panracer GravelKing SS Plus+ Folding Gravel Tire without any hiccups.

The trail took us into Paeroa 35 KM in. We made an obligatory coffee stop and paid a visit to the most famous beverage landmark - World's Largest L&P Bottle.

49 KM in, we came across the Victoria Battery. The Battery was constructed by the Waihi Goldmining Company from 1897 to crush ore from the Martha Mine.  Drawn by steam locomotives, 40 skip wagons each loaded with one tonne of quartz ore were hauled to the Battery site.  There would be 14 trains daily.

Past Waikino we kept rolling on into Waihi, then Waihi Beach. We stopped at Flat White Waihi Beach for lunch and ales. As soon as we sat down inside, it started raining buckets. We counted our blessing for such perfect timing. We took our time with the pizzas and carbonated alcoholic beverages. As soon as the rain stopped, we mounted our saddles and began retracing our way back to Thames.

Due to the heavy downpour, the trail's light gravel turned into gnarly mud. My tires because a massive drag in this condition because it keeps digging into the mud.

Due to the patchy rain, mud and drop in temperate, no pictures were taken on our way back. We got back to Thames around 5:30. We hosed down our bikes and walked straight into the shower to wash away all the mud away.