Nikau Caves

Nikau Caves
Starting point Papakura Autobahn
Distance 172-173 km
Gravel About 12 km, optional
Petrol Available at Hampton Downs, Huntly, Glen Murray, Mercer and Pokeno
Toilets Available at Huntly, Nikau Caves, Port Waikato, Mercer and Pokeno
Lunch Nikau Caves Cafe

Nikau Cave is a commercial glowworm cave in the Waikaretu Valley, near the coast south of Port Waikato. I’ve never visited the cave itself, but there’s a cafe set in very appealing surroundings which does good food and coffee. The sealed road to Nikau Cave is a nice twisty country road with a few uneven surfaces and narrow parts to keep one on guard.

There is also a road from Port Waikato to Nikau Caves which has about 12 km of gravel, running through rugged countryside with extensive limestone bluffs.

Suggested route

1. Route with no gravel

2. Route including some gravel roads.

Suggested routes

  Papakura BP at the Motorway Service Centre  
  ↓43.3 km  
  Take the Glen Murray motorway exit. Turn right at the roundabout onto Glen Murray Road  
  ↕1.0 km  
  Turn right once over the river onto Te Ohaki Road  
  ↕13.0 km  
  Turn right at the T-junction onto Hetherington Road  
  ↕22.5 km  
  Turn right at the T-junction onto Highway 22.
  ↕22.0 km  
  Turn left onto Waikaretu Valley Road  
  ↕17.7 km  
  Nikau Cave Cafe is on the right  
  ↕17.7 km  
  Return along Waikaretu Valley Road and turn left onto Highway 22 For the gravel alternative, turn right coming out of the Cafe onto Waikaretu Valley Road, which becomes Port Waikato-Waikaretu Road, and then Tuakau Bridge-Post Waikato Road.
  ↕23.0 km  ↕52.2 km
  Turn right onto Mercer Ferry Road  Turn left onto River Road across the Waikato River
  ↕9.7 km  ↕3.2 km
  Turn left after you cross the Waikato River, and follow the slip road to join SH1 north. Turn right onto Whangarata Road, which becomes Pokeno Road 
  ↕6.7 km  ↕8.2 km
Pokeno has several places which sell ice cream. It's a good place to end a ride. Take the Pokeno motorway exit. Arrive in Pokeno

To ride this route in reverse, if you are staying on sealed roads, exit from the motorway at Mercer, skipping Pokeno. If you are taking the gravel option, exit from the motorway at Pokeno and turn right onto Pokeno Road. At the end of the ride at Rangiriri, look for signs for Auckland as it is a little more complicated in this direction.


Nikau Caves Cafe View from Nikau Caves Cafe
Nikau Caves Cafe View from Nikau Caves Cafe
Limestone Downs
Limestone Downs