Take it easy on family-friendly outings or challenge yourself on hilly back roads and bush laden tracks. Rich in community spirit, the Motu Trails are an awesome way to explore this beautiful corner of the North Island/Te Ika a Māui.
The easiest and most popular ride is the Dunes Trail(opens in new window), which is a scenic trail along the coast from Ōpōtiki. It follows a smooth path through gently rolling dunes, offering swimming and picnicking, and ice cream at Tirohanga Beach Store. It’s 20km return, but you can easily turn back earlier for an even shorter ride.
This trail joins the Motu Road, an intermediate ride to remote settlement of Matawai(opens in new window), which is 67 kilometres inland. Following the original coach route through to Gisborne, the spectacularly hilly road rolls up and down through farmland and native forest, with amazing views along the way. A drop-off at Matawai offers a much more downhill journey.
These two trails link with the Pakihi Track(opens in new window), a classic New Zealand mountain bike ride suitable for advanced off-road cyclists. It’s an unforgettable journey which includes 20km of old pack track, which twists and turns through lush native forest and a hidden valley.
The Dunes Trail is suitable for most riders, while the Motu Road and Pakihi Track require more fitness and skills. E-bikes are welcome on all trails, but be aware that some lifting may be required on the Pakihi Track.
The Rere Falls Trail Heartland Ride is best suited to reasonably fit riders with some cycle touring experience.
The Dunes Trail, Motu Road and Pakihi Track can be combined into a 91km loop.
There are plenty of options for day rides, return rides and bonus options adding in other backroads and local paths.
Ōpōtiki and Tūranganui a Kiwa/Gisborne are the main trail towns and great places to stock up on trail snacks or enjoy local restaurants and accommodation.
The Motu Trails offer all-season cycling. The higher elevations of the remote, inland sections mean that riders need to check the forecast before beginning and carry warm, wet-weather clothing.
The trail is well signposted, but riders heading into the hills should carry a map as well as plenty of water, food and a cellphone (although coverage is limited in some areas). Always tell someone where you are going.