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The area boasts over 90 kilometres of internationally-renowned trails, all located in a forest full of towering redwood trees. Rotorua offers a unique mountain biking experience for both beginners and experts alike.
Right on the doorstep of the city, the Whakarewarewa Forest – affectionately known as ‘The Redwoods’ - is home to more than 60 different trails that vary from Grade 2 (gentle climbs, suitable for beginners) to Grade 5 (killer climbs with tough drop-offs, for experienced riders). The forest’s diverse blend of riding surfaces and spectacular scenery has made it a favourite mountain biking haunt for both locals and visitors.
Uniquely New Zealand
The forest itself is part of the Blue and Green Lakes and the Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve. During rides, you’re likely to catch glimpses of the Rotorua region’s beautiful lakes, geothermal activity and huge Mount Tarawera, which stands sentinel above the city. Some of the trails have been given very kiwi names – make sure you give ‘Be Rude Not To’ a go, as well as ‘Hot Cross Buns’. Very experienced riders can attempt the ‘National Downhill Taniwha’, a technically challenging track named after the mythological Maori creature that resembles a huge sea monster.
Lush forests and towering trees
The master crafted trails in the forest wind through some of the country’s most spectacular forest scenery. Towering above the forest canopy are huge stands of Californian Coastal Redwoods, accompanied by Larch, Eucalyptus, Douglas Fir and Radiata. Lush ferns carpet the forest floor, and the song of native birds accompanies riders as they go.
Relaxing après trail
South of Rotorua is Kerosene Creek, a natural hot spring that’s located in thick, lush native forest. Complete with a pretty waterfall, enjoying a soak in Kerosene Creek is a novel way to relax weary muscles after a day on the trails. Rotorua is a geothermal wonderland with plenty to see and do – make sure to incorporate a day or two exploring the surrounding area during your visit.
We’re keen mountain bikers at First Light Travel, and the Redwoods are home to some truly world-class trails – it’s one of our favourite places to hop on a bike. We’d love to help tailor-make an itinerary that takes in some of the best mountain biking New Zealand has to offer. Get in touch and we’ll do all the leg work, giving you more time to hit the trails and soak up New Zealand by bike.