Skirting the forested fringes of New Zealand’s largest lake, this intermediate Great Ride blends fun, flowing riding with spectacular natural features and ever-changing views over a volcanic wonderland.
Not far from the resort town of Taupō, this trio of lakeside trails on Ngā Haerenga Great Rides of New Zealand(opens in new window) network offers multi-day adventure or scenic day rides.
Explore wetlands, gorges and waterfalls, swim in the lake and a picnic at tranquil beaches. Soak up panoramic lake views across to the maunga (mountains) of Tongariro National Park. And enjoy the flow of brilliantly built singletrack with the added bonuses of an optional boat trip and some lakeside relaxation at Kinloch village.
Three trail sections – Waihaha(opens in new window), Kawakawa(opens in new window), Whakaipo(opens in new window) – offer an array of rides from a couple of hours to several days.
Heading along the shore, over headlands, through forested valleys and into unique rock gardens, they reveal a remarkable volcanic wonderland formed by one of the biggest volcanic eruptions in history(opens in new window). All within a short drive of Taupō.
All three sections can be cycled over two to three days linked with shuttles and a taxi-boat. Alternatively, choose a day ride suitable to your skills, fitness and interests.
The stunning lakeside settlement of Kinloch is the most popular start point. Various ride options from there include the Headland Loop(opens in new window), which climbs gently to a series of epic lookouts then delivers an invigorating descent back down again.
More ambitious riders can double-down on the Otaketake–K2K Loop(opens in new window), a day-long ride full of flow, forest and birdlife, and ever-changing views out over the lake. But there’s plenty more to explore – whether you’re looking or a challenge or just want to soak up the scenery.
The spectacular Waihaha section can be rounded off with a super-scenic boat trip from Waihora Bay back to Kinloch with Taxicat Adventures, view spectacular waterfalls along the way!
A detailed description of this Great Ride, including maps and more information, can be found here.
Taupō is big into biking, which makes it easy to get all the advice and services you need for a great ride. Bike hire and transport to various start points are available from Adventure Shuttles(opens in new window), FourB Bike Hire & Tours(opens in new window), and Pack&Pedal(opens in new window) offers a range of services including shuttles and cycle tours, both independent and guided. Taxicat Adventures(opens in new window) runs the boat taxi between Waihora, Kawakawa Bay, Whakaipo Bay and Kinloch.
Taupō makes a great base for this Great Ride and others in the area. Many cycle-friendly accommodation providers are official Great Lake Trail partners(opens in new window), but there are plenty of other accommodation options(opens in new window) in and around this popular resort town.
Ngā Haerenga New Zealand Cycle Trails