If you're heading south you'll start at the gorgeous Mangakino lake front. The trail is easy and undulating as it ambles along the lake side and then crosses the 70 metre long swing bridge across the Mangakino Stream. There are beautiful views of the lake much of the way and after just 12km you'll cross the impressive Whakamaru dam.
This is the only section of the Waikato River Trails with villages at both ends so coffee addicts are in luck! Watch out for Whakamaru village before you cross the dam as it's just down the road and not on the trail.