The Lake Arapuni Section of the Waikato River Trails is 36km long and can be accessed from a number of points. The southern half of this Trail at the Waipapa Dam end is a little isolated.
From the north, you can access the Trail from Arapuni Village or Dam and, in the south, from the Waipapa Dam. This section from Arapuni Village includes a 5km lakeside section, 15km of country road, followed by 16km of lakeside trail.
This last 16km is largely on forestry areas where there is no road access, and from the start of this last section there is a 2km downhill trail with numerous switchbacks; its a whole lot of fun on the downhill and a challenge for those with moderate fitness on the uphill.
5km from Waotu South Road, or 11km from Waipapa Dam, is the 80m long Mangawera suspension bridge – an absolutely stunning place! The bridge is 42m above the water, so those with a real problem with heights may be challenged.
Included in this section is a delightful off road experience through a very special piece of native bush, Jim Barnett Reserve. The Reserve is off Waotu South Road about mid point between Arapuni Village and the Waipapa Dam. For over 20 years work in the Reserve has included pest elimination and extensive replanting. The cycle trail through the Reserve includes old tram lines and the opportunity to observe up close mature native trees and unique bird life.
The road section of this Waikato River Trails is not recommended for walkers. The Lake Arapuni Section of Trail is an advanced grade with a couple of steeper climbs and 1km from the Waipapa Dam is a short flight of steps where carrying your bike will be required.