1-3 Days 121 Km


  • Epic, empty beaches
  • Panoramic ocean & mountain views
  • Native forest & pretty countryside


Grade 2-4

Easy to Advanced

Rolling along Pacific Coast dunes and into the valleys and mountains beyond, this varied trio of trails explores the naturally stunning Eastern Bay of Plenty and Tairāwhiti Gisborne regions.

Motu Trails, Dunes Trail, New Zealand

Offering some of the most serene day rides in Ngā Haerenga Great Rides of New Zealand, the Eastern Bay of Plenty’s Motu Trails are accessed from Ōpōtiki, gateway to the scenic Pacific Coast Highway.

It is made up of three wildly different rides which run from the coast into peaceful countryside. Rere Falls Trail (opens in new window)cycle-touring route through to Tūranganui a Kiwa/Gisborne.

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.

Motu Trails Pakihi Track bridge, New Zealand

Ride experience

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.

Linking with the Motu Road at Matawai village is the Rere Falls Trail(opens in new window) Heartland Ride (103km; 1–3 days). This cycle touring route meanders along mostly quiet country roads through hilly backcountry on its way to sunny Tairāwhiti Gisborne. Highlights include Eastwoodhill Arboretum, stunning Rere Falls(opens in new window) and Rere Rockslide, and the wineries around Gisborne(opens in new window).

Ngā Haerenga New Zealand Cycle Trails Official Website

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

Motu Trails(opens in new window)


Motu Trails Rere Falls Trail , New Zealand

Need to know

  • 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.
Tairāwhiti Gisborne
Pakihi swing bridge, Motu Trails, Tairāwhiti Gisborne

Transport & tours

Opotiki’s Motu Trails Ltd(opens in new window) offers shuttle drop-offs for small groups, while Motu Trails Hire & Shuttle caters for larger groups. Gisborne’s Cycle Gisborne offers a wide range of guided and supported trips, bike hire and more. 


Ōpōtiki offers a range of accommodation, cafes, a supermarket and other visitor services. Other options are dotted on and around the trail, from seaside holiday parks to lodges and farm stays.

Motu Community House(opens in new window), inland on the trail, is a great self-catering option in the restored village post office.

Accommodation providers partnered with the trail are listed on the Great Rides of New Zealand(opens in new window) and Motu Trails(opens in new window) websites. 

Useful links

Ngā Haerenga New Zealand Cycle Trails(opens in new window)

Motu Trails(opens in new window)

Ōpōtiki NZ(opens in new window) 

Tairāwhiti Gisborne(opens in new window)

Great Rides app - Motu Trails(opens in new window)

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