Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023


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Nikau Loop & Kaiwhaniwha Caves

Hamilton, Waikato

Submitted by Anna O'Brien

Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023


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Grunt Factor: 8 ?

Gnarl Factor: 8 ?








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Front country - easily accessible


Totally/mostly flat

Native bush


Run Makeup


Farm Road / 4WD Track

Easy Single Track

Average Uphill Gradient: +4.1%

Average Downhill Gradient: -4.1%


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Estimated Times to Run







Very easy to navigate. Follow the 4WD track alongside the river for 2.5km. (This track can also be cycled). Green signs clearly mark the route. The Nikau loop is a pleasant single track through native bush, mostly flat and non-technical. The Nikau loop is approximately 1.5km, so complete as many loops as required before returning along the 4WD track beside the river.
A small detour to the dark and interesting Kaiwhaniwha caves takes only a few minutes, but is worth it to climb through the 20 meter cave, at least once.
Toilets can be found at the Kaiwhaniwha campsite at the end of the 4WD track, just before the native bush section, as well as at the start of the track.

Kaiwhaniwha caves are an interesting small detour. 20 meters to clamber through, quite dark and muddy, likely to get wet feet.

Off-road parking for 40+ cars on a remote rural road.

31 km

32 minutes




Very patchy.

Whistle, First aid kit, Cellphone

Take own water.

Can be muddy during winter. Runnable all year.

The Nest
765 Franklin Street, Pirongia
Good food, coffee and service

Punnet Cafe
337 Newell rd, Tamahere
Great range of food, including raw and gluten free. Cabinet and menu food. Nice ambience.

Trail Legend

Karen Koch

Karen Koch

has completed Nikau Loop & Kaiwhaniwha Caves 4 times in the last year.

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Trail Reviews

Easy loop, recovery session a day after thrashing the legs on some hills up above this trail.

Brendon Pascoe

April 18, 2022

Great trail especially with kids

Ashley Potter

September 5, 2020

Fun place to run and explore. The cave is cool there is a camping area as well

Renee Altham

June 3, 2018

A good trail for the summer to escape the sun...plenty of shade apart form the first and last 2km. A nice little adventure through the cave too! Possible without a torch if you are comfortable feeling your way in the dark but a phone torch is fine! Feet will almost certainly get wet whatever the weather. Easy to mix up the Nikau Loop, add in the short track to the campground and loop back to add kms. You can also add on by going up the tracks towards Pirongia but they are VERY gnarly - tree roots and mud even in hot dry summers.

Anne-Louise Robertson

February 6, 2018

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