With 55 km of well-crafted single-track winding through a pine plantation, Taupō’s purpose-built MTB park is a playground for riders of all levels.
Conveniently situated a short hop from the lively resort town of Taupō, Craters Mountain Bike Park boasts some of New Zealand’s best single-track. With 55 km of trail in all, passing through a mix of mature and new growth trees within Wairakei forest, its free-draining, grippy terrain offers fantastic year-round riding for beginners through to experts. It is definitely a highlight of mountain biking in New Zealand's North Island.
Hallmarks of this mountain bike park are fast, flowing downhills and perfectly formed berms, along with some big jumps and steep territory on the more advanced trails. A series of uphill trails reward riders with fine views of Lake Taupō and the surrounding countryside, as well as thrilling descents on the way back down.
The Craters Mountain Bike Park has so many options that riders of all levels could spend all day here without covering the same ground. A good circuit for beginners and intermediates, starting from the car park, is to follow short ‘n’ sweet Hammer It, the fun flow and berms of Scragg’s, SH Fun and Bumble Bee, followed by the undulations of BBC and Tourist Trap. If that doesn’t whet your appetite you just aren’t hungry enough.
Other highlights include Outback – an epic, old-school piece of intermediate single-track that takes riders to the far reaches of the park on a series of good honest climbs and fast descents. Hardcore bikers have several options including the white-knuckle jumps and drops of the ominously named Cole’s Killer.
Several off-road bike trails lead to the park from central Taupō, or it’s a ten-minute drive to the main car park. All Craters Mountain Bike park users must be members of Bike Taupō – the local advocacy group to which the park owes its existence. Seven-day membership for visitors is available for a modest fee at one of the local bike shops, where maps, bike hire and the latest trail information can also be obtained.