This fun, mostly easy trail loops around Whakarewarewa Forest – Rotorua’s beloved backyard and a world-famous mountain bike mecca with rides for all.
Opened in 2021, the newest Ngā Haerenga Great Ride of New Zealand was created to share the Whakarewarewa Forest, home of the best mountain biking all year round. This trail has a bit of everything, as it passes through a variety of amazing forest singletrack, offering wonderful vistas of Lake Rotorua and Tikitapu, and multiple coffee stops, hot tubs, Māori carvings, and storyboards that share the area’s long and fascinating history.
Suitable for confident riders of most ages and abilities, this loop is a relatively easy way in to theworld-famous mountain bike park(opens in new window), which boasts over 200km of purpose-built trail from easy to extreme. It’s also an ideal trail for e-bikers and new riders looking to upskill.
Starting points include the buzzy Waipa biking hub, home to a cafe, bike hire, and seductive Secret Spot hot tubs and beer garden. Another is Te Pūtake o Tawa carpark, where impressive carvings share the stories of the local Tūhourangi people whose pathways the trail often follows. Spectacular pou whenua, linking mana whenua Ngā Hapū e Toru to their land, can also be seen near the Redwoods Visitor Centre.
A few gentle climbs are even easier on an e-bike, and offer vast panoramas over Lake Rotorua and surrounds. Other notable viewpoints take in lakes Tikitapu and Rotokākahi, places of peaceful contemplation and connection to Te Ao Māori (the Māori world).
The varied forest has its own stories to tell, with fiery volcanic eruptions and mighty redwood trees featuring in its riveting past. The visitor centre offers a chance to delve deeper.
With a legacy of over a 150 years of welcoming visitors, Rotorua is at the heart of New Zealand tourism, boasting spectacular geothermal and Māori cultural experiences; 18 pretty, freshwater lakes; as well as world-class mountain biking.
Ngā Haerenga New Zealand Cycle Trails Official Website
A detailed description of this Great Ride, including maps and more information, can be found here.
This grade 2–3 (easy to intermediate) e-bike-friendly trail is wide and mostly smooth with a surface of fine gravel and natural volcanic pumice. Although mostly gently undulating, there are a couple of short climbs.
Whakarewarewa Forest is an easy 15-minute ride from Rotorua’s CBD.
The trail is well signposted and often close to main highways, and there are toilets and other visitor services (including refreshment stops) dotted along the way.
Whakarewarewa Forest is a great for all-seasons cycling and walking thanks to free-draining volcanic terrain and a forest canopy that provides shelter from both hot summer sun and cold winter winds.