1-3 Days 88 KM

Highlights

  • Cycle beside lake Taupō
  • Waterfalls, gorges and forest
  • Diverse scenery

Proximity

Grade 3

Intermediate

Skirting the forested fringes of New Zealand’s largest lake, this intermediate Great Ride blends fun, flowing riding with spectacular natural features and ever-changing views over a volcanic wonderland.

Taupō
Great Lake Trails, Taupō

Not far from the resort town of Taupō, this trio of lakeside trails on Ngā Haerenga Great Rides of New Zealand(opens in new window) network offers multi-day adventure or scenic day rides.  

Explore wetlands, gorges and waterfalls, swim in the lake and a picnic at tranquil beaches. Soak up panoramic lake views across to the maunga (mountains) of Tongariro National Park. And enjoy the flow of brilliantly built singletrack with the added bonuses of an optional boat trip and some lakeside relaxation at Kinloch village. 

Ride experience

Three trail sections – Waihaha(opens in new window), Kawakawa(opens in new window), Whakaipo(opens in new window) – offer an array of rides from a couple of hours to several days.  

Heading along the shore, over headlands, through forested valleys and into unique rock gardens, they reveal a remarkable volcanic wonderland formed by one of the biggest volcanic eruptions in history(opens in new window). All within a short drive of Taupō. 

All three sections can be cycled over two to three days linked with shuttles and a taxi-boat. Alternatively, choose a day ride suitable to your skills, fitness and interests. 

The stunning lakeside settlement of Kinloch is the most popular start point. Various ride options from there include the Headland Loop(opens in new window), which climbs gently to a series of epic lookouts then delivers an invigorating descent back down again. 

More ambitious riders can double-down on the Otaketake–K2K Loop(opens in new window), a day-long ride full of flow, forest and birdlife, and ever-changing views out over the lake. But there’s plenty more to explore – whether you’re looking or a challenge or just want to soak up the scenery. 

The spectacular Waihaha section can be rounded off with a super-scenic boat trip from Waihora Bay back to Kinloch with Taxicat Adventures, view spectacular waterfalls along the way!  

New Zealand Cycle Trails Official Website

A detailed description of this Great Ride, including maps and more information, can be found here.

Great Lake Trails(opens in new window)

Need to know

  • Overall, these trails are smooth and flowing, but a number of moderate hill climbs make this intermediate (grade 3) Great Ride most suitable for reasonably fit riders with mountain biking experience. E-mountain bikes are welcome. 
  • A mostly smooth, dry surface ensures enjoyable riding all year round, with winter days notable for crystal clear views of the snow-capped volcanoes. However, being so close to these mountains means temperatures can drop very quickly, even in summer. Make sure you check the weather and pack accordingly.  
  • The trail is well signposted but remote in parts, so riders should carry a map, snacks, and be prepared for all eventualities.
  • Kinloch has a couple of places to get refreshments, and toilets are located at convenient locations along the trail. 
  • Taupō is a brilliant place for biking, with a wide range of riding adventures including a trail to the famous Huka Falls. It’s also less than two hours’ drive to Tongariro National Park. 

Transport & Tours

Taupō is big into biking, which makes it easy to get all the advice and services you need for a great ride. Bike hire and transport to various start points are available from Adventure Shuttles(opens in new window), FourB Bike Hire & Tours(opens in new window), and Pack&Pedal(opens in new window) offers a range of services including shuttles and cycle tours, both independent and guided. Taxicat Adventures(opens in new window) runs the boat taxi between Waihora, Kawakawa Bay, Whakaipo Bay and Kinloch.  

Accommodation

Taupō makes a great base for this Great Ride and others in the area. Many cycle-friendly accommodation providers are official Great Lake Trail partners(opens in new window), but there are plenty of other accommodation options(opens in new window) in and around this popular resort town.  

Useful links

Ngā Haerenga New Zealand Cycle Trails 

Great Lake Trails 

Love Taupō 

plane Find & book flights

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