Rotorua and Taupō have a lot of things in common, crystal clear lakes, stunning forests and a geothermal landscape creating a unique natural playground. It’s here where you’ll find some of the best mountain biking in New Zealand, the perfect blend of bike parks, scenic rides and backcountry bliss. You might need more than a week…
With over 180km of trails in the Whakarewarewa Forest alone, you could spend a whole week here without riding the same trail twice. Make the most out of your time with the public shuttles, load up your bike on a trailer and take the bus up to one of the high points in the forest. Then you can devote all your energy to the downhill ready to do it all over again!
There are a number of great local businesses where you can make sure your bike is ready for action, hire bikes, book a guided ride to show you the ropes or even lock in a lesson to brush up on your skills before the week ahead!
After a full-on first day, head to Secret Spot Hot Tubs to relax with a beer and a shinny dip (a mini hot pool just for your feet!) right at the edge of the forest. There’s even a sneaky secret bike entrance and racks aplenty to store your steed.
The team at Aura Accommodation will ensure you have everything you need for an epic stay in Rotorua. Situated close to the action in town, just a stone’s throw from Eat Streat and the Lakefront, there’s secure bike storage, geothermal heating, hot mineral pools and even a steam box thermal cooking area. The team know the trails well, so can point you in the right direction for your ride!
For some native goodness and a taste of the backcountry, a day trip to Whirinaki Forest is next on the list. The 16km Whirinaki Forest Loop provides some great riding among the native giants, your cheers and laughter competing with the raucous calls of the native kaka!
Or for something slightly higher up the epic scale, the Moerangi Track is a big day adventure ride, taking in 35km of stunning trail through a Jurassic Park like environment! Feeling flash? Helibike Rotorua takes it to the next level, dropping you in at the top ready for a seriously fun descent!
Chill out tonight at the Good Eastern Taphouse. A favourite with local riders, they even offer warm fuzzies with their karma meals. For every one of these sold, they make a donation to the Rotorua Trails Trust, who keep the trail network in tip top condition.
After a couple of big days in the saddle, the gondola uplifts at Skyline Rotorua Mountain Bike Park will come as a welcome relief! Home to the Crankworx World Tour, the trails start from the super fun and flowy intermediate Hipster and work all the way up to downhill tracks the pros dream about!
Then, head into town and check out Eat Streat to refuel. There’s something for everyone and a great atmosphere to soak up and share stories of your adventures so far! For a taste of local beer, Brew Bar is the home of Croucher Brewing. You know you’re in a biking city when you can indulge in award winning beers with names like Enduro Pale Ale.
Zippy Central Café is something of an institution among the Rotorua riders. Start the day here with a caffeine fix to set you up and a bagel or brekkie to ensure you’re fully fuelled for today’s adventure on the way to Taupō.
The climb to the summit of Rainbow Mountain will put your legs and lungs to the test. Starting on the grade 2 Te Ara Ahi, part of the New Zealand Cycle Trails, you’ll soon peel off onto the dual use Te Tihi O Ruru and wind your way up the coloured clay past crater lakes and steaming vents to a panoramic lookout at the summit. Take some time to catch your breath and suck in the views, and then drop on into Te Ranga, a fast, fun and feisty adventure right down to the bottom.
Head on over to Waikite Valley Thermal Pools for a bit of recovery before setting off for Taupō. The thermal spring water comes straight from the source here and all that mineral goodness will leave you refreshed and rejuvenated ready to continue your ride!
Check in to your stunning one bedroom suite at The Anchorage Resort – lakeside, with amazing views across the bay. Relax beside the lake or take a dip in the onsite heated pool and spa, the perfect spot to complete your days adventures. This evening you are spoilt for choice when it comes to dining opportunities. Highly recommended is The Brantry, an award winning restaurant with a reputation for top quality New Zealand cuisine. Other divine dining options are Vine Eatery, Bistro Lago, The Bistro & Plateau Bar & Eatery.
The Great Lake Trails are one of the 22 Great Rides in New Zealand (84km, Level 3 intermediate). You could easily spend a few days here, hopping between sections, using the water-taxi to connect back to Kinloch in style. From Kinloch, you can head in either direction, the K2K trails take you to Kawakawa Bay, a favourite with rock climbers, or W2K flows over to Whakaipo Bay, with an optional Headland Loop at the highest point if you’ve got extra fuel in your tank!
If you were to pick one section, ride the incredibly scenic Waihaha section (30km). Discover towering volcanic rock cliffs, spectacular views and a waterfall hidden deep in the Waihaha Valley. The trail has been built with flowing corners and fun downhills and some short switchback climbs to keep you honest.
Finish your ride at the breath-taking Kotukutuku Beach for a well-earned rest on the lakefront, before your transfer with Bay2Bay Water Taxi back to Kinloch.
Local Tip: The Tipsy Trout in Kinloch is the perfect spot for an après- trail brew and a bite to eat. A comprehensive cabinet selection, along with a brunch and lunch menu offers a great range of dishes, with gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian and vegan options available. Closed Monday & Tuesdays.
Take in the sights of the mighty Waikato River with a selection of rides collectively known as the Huka Trails. These trails provide some stunning lookouts over the river and wind out past the famous Huka Falls. For a longer ride, you can follow the river to Aratiatia Dam. Time it right and you’ll even get to see the release of the gates and watch an empty valley flood with water before your eyes. These trails provide access to Craters Mountain Bike Park if you want a sneak peak of what’s in store for your final day!
Finish your epic day, relaxing and watching the sun set with a well-earned drink and scrumptious wood fired pizza at 2 Mile Bay Sailing Club, just a short walk from your accommodation this evening.
Finish your week with a whip around Craters Mountain Bike Park. Home to around 50km of trails to suit all abilities, Craters provides awesome all-weather riding, the free-draining pumice soil here keeps the trails in tip top condition even after a stint of wet weather. To ride here you need to be a member of Bike Taupō. Visitor memberships can be bought online or at a number of locations across town.
Local Tip: If you are feeling hungry Kefi at the Hub is perfectly located on the Huka Trails and at the Craters Mountain Bike Park carpark for a post-ride treat.
After an epic week on wheels Wairakei Terraces provides the perfect post-ride relaxation. Soak away those aches and pains in mineral rich, thermal waters as you recount your adventures and start planning your next ride at the adults only Wairakei Terraces.