Rere Falls Trail, cycling from Motu to Gisborne

Rere Falls Trail is a journey into heartland New Zealand. This is a Heartland Ride of The New Zealand Cycle Trail, connecting to Motu Trails.

Rere Falls Trail is a Heartland Ride under Nga Haerenga, The New Zealand Cycle Trail. It connects to Motu Trails, one of New Zealand’s 22 Great Rides.

Over 100km, Rere Falls Trail takes you on sealed and good gravel back-country roads from Gisborne to Matawai (or the other way around). Along the way, you climb from Poverty Bay’s magnificent vineyard-rich plains up to high-country farms and through pockets of remote forest.

As with all the trails of Nga Haerenga, there are many ways you can experience Rere Falls Trail to suit your fitness and taste. Here are three ideas.


> > Eastwoodhill Arboretum to Rere rockslide: 1 day 28km

Eastwoodhill Arboretum is the national arboretum of New Zealand, nestled in the Ngatapa Valley, about 35km from Gisborne. From the arboretum, it’s about a 28km out-and-back to visit Rere Falls and Rere Rockslide, with sealed, undulating road all the way.

Rere Falls is about five metres high and 20 metres wide, very impressive.

Three kilometres further up the road from the falls, Rere Rockslide is a 60m long rock slope that has been formed over thousands of years. You can slide down on an inflatable or board, or by just sitting on a sheet of plastic.

A superb weekend, especially with family or a group, is to drive to Eastwoodhill, take a wander or jeep tour around the arboretum’s trails then stay overnight in their bunkhouse or tourist accommodation. Next day, cycle up to the Falls and Rockslide with a picnic. Cycle Gisborne can arrange your bike hire.


> > Eastwoodhill to Gisborne: 1 day 35km

Aside from a few undulations and one swift downhill on sealed road, the 35km from Eastwoodhill Arboretum to Gisborne is flat and easy cruising.

Cycle Gisborne offers the perfect way to make this relaxed journey. You can choose from guided-group and self-guided trips, termed the Eastwoodhill Express. These see you shuttled from Gisborne to Eastwoodhill, where you can wander the arboretum, or take the jeep tour.

When you’re ready to ride, you get on your bike and cycle into Gisborne’s wine country via award winning wineries. Wine tastings and a vineyard lunch is included in the package.


> > Motu to Gisborne (or vice versa), 2 days 120-130km

If you’re seeking a neat two-day Rere Falls Trail ride with a bit of challenge, Motu makes a super start (or finish) point.

Stay the night at Motu Community House. That way, next morning, you’ll find it easy to make a prompt start and visit Motu Falls, where there’s a spectacular suspension bridge offering a high vantage point over the falling water. The ride out-and-back to Motu is a flat 10km. Alternatively, if you have a vehicle, you can drive.

Ride to Matawai passing relics of the old Gisborne to Moutohora railway line. From Matawai, head towards Opotiki, then Te Wera road, where you’re on seal for several kilometres before the gravel begins.

It’s a big, dramatic landscape that feels very largely unchanged from when it was first farmed 110 years ago.

Wharekopae hill is over 4km long and drops you from the highlands down to Rere Rockslide and Rere Falls, then Eastwoodhill, which is a great stopover. That day is about 80km, or 90km if you visit Motu Falls.

Day two, spend the morning relaxing or wandering in the arboretum, then ride on to Gisborne (35km).

An easier version of this ride is to get a group drop-off at the intersection of State Highway 2 and Te Wera road, then ride to just Eastwoodhill or Ngatapa (one-day 65km) or on to Gisborne (two days).

You’ll find more information at or at Instagram is Motu Trails Cycleway. Questions, email or message