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The Motu Trails is one of the 22 Great Rides on the New Zealand Cycle Trail, stretching between Opotiki in the Eastern Bay of Plenty and Matawai, which is 70km from Gisborne.
If you enjoy nature and escape, you’ll love it here. This part of New Zealand has a small population. There are large areas of original forest and the beaches are spectacular. The region is a haven for many rare species. The Motu Trails Great Ride consists of three main options (plus many linking trails). You can ride just one of these trails, or join them together into a hilly 91km loop.
Dunes Trail (grade easy)
This trail is ideal for all ages and levels of experience. The wide gravel trail twists 10km over sand dunes to the east of Opotiki.
The Dunes Trail is all off-road with spectacular ocean views, including of White Island (Whakaari). You return the same way, unless you are riding the 91km loop.
Motu Road Trail (grade intermediate)
The Motu Road is a spectacular historic road that climbs to over 750m altitude. It is 65km long and includes 48km of gravel. You pass through sensational forest.
The Motu Road is open to vehicles but numbers are typically very low. This road was once a highlight stage in the World Rally Series.
Pakihi Track (grade advanced)
This is an awesome adventure on a 21km historic singletrack through incredible forest. After the 21km, you have 9km of pretty gravel road, and 14k of sealed road and riverside trail back to Opotiki.
The Pakihi Track is well-formed so not very technical. However, it has steep drop-offs to the side and can get slips and windfalls so it is rated as advanced.
A good option for riding the Motu Road and Pakihi Track is to get a shuttle dropoff to Matawai (elevation 500m) Motu (elevation 450m) or the hilltop (750m). Many people ride the Pakihi in one day (45-65km) with a shuttle dropoff.
There are many good places to stay in Opotiki, Motu, Gisborne and Whakatane. See the Motu Trails web site.
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