The Hauraki Rail Trail is one of the Great Rides of the New Zealand Cycle Trail system, using an abandoned railway system in the Hauraki Gulf plains and the Coromandel Peninsula. It runs from Thames, New Zealand south via Paeroa to then branch either east towards Waihi (via the Karangahake Gorge) or south to Te Aroha. Notably in the Karangahake Gorge, the rail trail passes through a 1,100 metres (3,609 ft) long tunnel, which has been fitted with electrical lighting.
In 2013 the trail was described as the most popular cycle trail in New Zealand, despite only having been open for less than a year. From January 2013 to April 2013, monthly cycle counts on the busiest section (Karangahake Gorge) averaged over 7,000 cyclists a month. The trail was particularly popular with the “baby boomer” and family clientele from Auckland and the wider Waikato, with 24% of users coming from Auckland, 15% from Hamilton, and a large proportion of users being older riders – based on a University of Waikato survey. Both local businesses and Council agree that the trail had a significant economic benefit for the region, and had already become a major promotional asset for tourism.