The Tongariro River Trail is one of the Taupo region’s most picturesque mountain bike trails. There are two large swing bridges, connected by tree-lined single track . The pristine Tongariro River is a magnate for fly fisherman from all around the world and you will see them wading out in the emerald waters along the river. For those that prefer to stay dry, the river trail is the best option. You can stop off at the fascinating National Trout Centre which is a trout hatchery and educational centre operated by the Department of Conservation.
The Tongariro River Trail is a mainly flat, easily ridden 15km loop track. It follows the banks of the world-famous trout fishing river from the township of Turangi to Red Hut Bridge and back. The trail can be ridden in either direction and has multiple entry and exit points, giving you many options for shorter rides making it ideal for beginners and family groups.
There are many places to stop on the way and view the Tongariro River, and some days when conditions are favourable you will see anglers trying their luck with the trout in the clear waters. You will find beautiful picnic spots along the trail and access to the river for a refreshing swim during the warm summer months.
The trail is mostly smooth and easy, as it travels up one side of the river, right past the National Trout Centre, to a large swing bridge. After taking in the views cross the bridge and follow the trail back down the other side, through low forest and occasionally beside farmland, all the way to Turangi. The centre, which showcases trout in their natural habitat, is a popular option for families or those interested in learning about New Zealand’s freshwater ecology.
This ride is a great adventure for those just starting out with mountain biking, or for families, but is equally enjoyable for experienced mountain bikers looking for a ‘cruisy Sunday afternoon’ type ride. It’s a fantastic way to experience the lush native bush surrounding the Turangi area and the trail has some fun sections where you can duck and dive between trees, enjoying the easy flowing corners of this purpose-built mountain biking trail.
The start of the trail can be reached by cycling from the Turangi town centre to the Taupahi Reserve, or you can drive to one of the many entry points along the way. Shuttle services and bike guides are also available if booked ahead. Most of these services can also arrange bike hire if required.
Useful Information and Links
The Tongariro River Trail is a shared use trail so you are likely to encounter anglers, dogs and walkers. Mountain bikers must give way to walkers. The Tongariro River is home to the endangered whio, the native New Zealand blue duck. For this reason it is important to keep dogs under control at all times.
Tongariro River Trail(opens in new window), Accommodation(opens in new window), Bike hire and Guides(opens in new window)
Nearby tracks and trails
42 Traverse, Whakarewarewa Forest Track, Skyline Rotorua MTB Gravity Park, Great Lake Trail