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“Top Trail were great”

Top Trail Hire and Tours
Ranked #2 of 4 things to do in Kaikohe
Attraction details
Auckland Region, New Zealand
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Top Trail were great”
Reviewed 13 October 2013

We are a family of 6. Our 3 older ones aged 6 (a fit little girl),8 & 10 managed the 14 km very well. The 10 year old and I finished the last 6km easily. We put the 3 year in a seat behind my husband.
It was all good - Ray brilliant and the bikes were top notch.

Scenery is ok - its better to look at it as a family bike ride - no roads so its safe, and achievable.
Fit families could probably go both ways.

Visited October 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank MezzoF2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ray C, Manager at Top Trail Hire and Tours, responded to this review, 10 January 2014
Thanks for the review. Ray
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44 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Auckland
Level 4 Contributor
34 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Great ride and excellent service”
Reviewed 8 October 2013

Wonderful time had by our family group. Ray was very friendly, helpful and knowledgable. Dropped off at the trail head and picked up again at the other end - top service and look forward to doing the tour again when new sections are added!

Visited October 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank AklYogiBear
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ray C, Owner at Top Trail Hire and Tours, responded to this review, 9 October 2013
Thank you for your review. Some more trail is scheduled to be finished early 2014. Cheers Ray
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cambridge, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
57 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“The best is yet to come!”
Reviewed 7 June 2013

Reading other reviews I wonder if we did the same trip! Yes Ray is an excellent front man, yes the bikes & gear were excellent too BUT the trail was not very special & as an overseas visitor the scenery that we saw whilst following the trail was underwhelming in the extreme. Apart from an old rail tunnel there was nothing on this section that captured the mind. NZ is fantastic & we love it (spending 13 weeks there in total) but this really was not good value for money & as one of many, many trips we did on our travels we could not highly recommend 75 NZD each for this, sorry! Maybe when more trail opens up things will improve. Great idea but........

Visited March 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Peter F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ray C, Owner at Top Trail Hire and Tours, responded to this review, 10 June 2013
Thanks Peter. It is good to get your review. I guess it just goes to show that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I am sure that the other reviewers have been genuine in their appraisal and praise of our trail and some have found the trail to be wonderful.
However in so saying I accept that everyones experience will be different.
As to the value of the product , your day included an hours ride in a certified bus, quality cycles and helmets and our assistance ,advice and attendance for the duration of your time with us, Im sorry that you did not see the value in what we provide. Ray.
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Halifax
Level 6 Contributor
109 reviews
37 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 154 helpful votes
“Great ride, great service, prices not flexible enough”
Reviewed 29 April 2013

There is currently a ~20km section of trail that has been completed between Kaikohe and Okaihau. Our original intention had been to start and finish at Kaikohe. We had our own car to transport us to the trailhead where we would start and finish; we just needed bicycles.

We failed to plan ahead, thinking that we could show up at a trail head and rent a bicycle from a local outfitter, as would be possible on the Hauraki or Otago rail trails. We drove first to Kaikohe and were surprised to discover no local outfitter near the trailhead. Undaunted, we drove to Okaihau where we also discovered no rental options.

When we arrived in Okaihau and discovered that there was also no local outfitter, we called to talk to TopTrail who we knew were located just OUTSIDE of Kaikohe.

TopTrail was excellent and we highly recommend them. They were friendly, flexible, efficient, and dependable.

TopTrail charges a very reasonable $30/bike/day. They charge an additional $25/person shuttle fee. In our view, their application of this shuttle fee needs some review.

When we spoke to TopTrail about their rentals and pricing, it turned out that whether we did an out-and-back ride from the nearest trailhead at Kaikohe or an out-and-back from the far end of the trail at Okaihau, they were going to charge us $25/bike on top of the rental fee for shuttle service. In other words, even if we did an out-and-back ride by accessing the trailhead nearest the rental shop AND transported ourselves to the trailhead, we were expected to pay $25/person to have them shuttle their own equipment to the nearest access point.

This didn't sit well with us.

We don't mind paying for a shuttle when we need to be transported, when our personal belongings need to be transported, or when we want the convenience of leaving rental equipment at a distant location. Indeed, when we completed the Hauraki Rail Trail, we used Sherpa bus service to shuttle our belongings ahead of us to our accommodations mid-way along the ride and to pick us up at the end of our 2-day one-way trip. Likewise, when we completed the Otago rail trail, we used a shuttle service to drop us at the far end of the trail so that we could ride the trail back in a single direction. We had no problem with paying for any of these services; it made sense. But it did not make sense to us that TopTrail expected us to pay a shuttle fee even if we started/ended at the end of the trail nearest their shop.

Paying them to shuttle their own equipment back-and-forth from a far endpoint (Okaihau) makes sense; paying them to shuttle their own equipment back-and-forth from their nearest access point (Kaikohe) does not. Being shuttled to/from a distant endpoint is a convenience that should be paid for; receiving rented equipment at the nearest access point is not a convenience but an expectation and should be included in the rental rate.

Given that we were expected to pay the full $25/person shuttle cost regardless of where we started our out-and-back trip, we stayed put in Okaihau.

There was another tour group finishing in Okaihau and so the outfitter was coming to pick up their bikes. We arranged to meet with TopTrail to be assigned bikes and make our payment. In this regard, they were extraordinarily flexible and we thank them for this. From the bikes that were otherwise being returned to the shop, they fitted us out, took our payment, and we were on our way very quickly.

Again, starting and finishing in Okaihau, I didn't mind paying the shuttle fee because the operator had to come to the far end of the trail to pick up his bicycles, even if we didn't need a lift. But this fee should have been waived if we'd done an out-and-back ride from the trailhead nearest the TopTrail shop in Kaikohe.

Hopefully, they'll review this shuttle pricing.

Shuttle pricing aside, the TopTrail bicycles were well suited to the trail and were in excellent condition, with everything functioning smoothly.

The trail itself was quite pretty, even if still short at this time. The scenery is spectacular, the topography is interesting, and the trail is much more fun to ride than many rail-to-trail tracks, with a bit more up-and-down than is usual and a nice surface. There were some cattle gates but most could be sailed through without dismounting.

Be aware that several kilometers outside of Kaikohe, the Maori landowners are protesting the usurping of their lands for the trail project. We elected to respect their dispute and hope that their concerns can be resolved in a way that keeps this trail open.

Visited April 2013
Helpful?
Thank IntentToTravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ray C, Owner at Top Trail Hire and Tours, responded to this review, 30 April 2013
Thank you Halifax for your review. I am pleased that you enjoyed our trail, our bikes and our service.
I am happy to take on board your view that we could look to be more flexible with our pricing.
As you can understand there are a lot of different ways that people can do the ride ie. own bikes, our bikes, full transport, no transport, part transport and in your case bike transport only plus bike hire, etc

In order to have our pricing as simple as possible we have set a range that we felt included most options. I treated your hire as a delivery of cycles from our base to Okaihau and then a pickup of our bikes in Okaihau and return to base. Usually this requires the transport of the people involved as well.

As the trail grows in length the dynamics of shuttle distance and length of ride will continue to change. Also as it grows in numbers as well I am sure that we can improve our price/value offering.

At the end of the day we want all our customers to fully enjoy their experience.
Ray.
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Bay of Plenty
Level 4 Contributor
38 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Expansive rural scenery with tunnel a highlight”
Reviewed 9 April 2013

Ray picked me up from Pahia around 9.30am. I was dropped off at the start of the trail, just outside Kaikohe. Ray adjusted my rental bike seat and I began my journey. The trail is slightly uphill most of the way with some flat areas towards the end of the trail.
There is a waterfall enroute, although this summer, it was more a trickle. There is no sign so be observant while cycling if you want to see the waterfall. It is to the left hand side of the track. There is a small informal route where people have walked before, flattening the grass.
You will pass Lake Omapere enroute to Okaihau.
The trail finishes at Okaihau, a small rural town with a few shops including café and small grocery store. When I finished I phoned Ray and he came and collected me some 40 minutes later and returned me to Paihia around 3pm.
Good photographic opportunities as you go at your own pace.
An enjoyable day out cycling. No toilets enroute other than Kaikohe and Okaihau.

Visited February 2013
Helpful?
Thank Catherine S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ray C, Owner at Top Trail Hire and Tours, responded to this review, 11 April 2013
Thanks Catherine. Much appreciated. Ray.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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