Now protected as the Whirinaki Forest/Te Pua-a-Tāne Conservation Park, the forest is now the realm of the birds, and visited by hikers, hunters and mountain bikers who penetrate this remote wilderness via a network of trails. Passing through the heart of the park, the 35 km Moerangi Mountain Biking Trail follows old hiking routes for much of the way, as well as newer sections built especially for mountain bikers.
A remote and rugged ride, the Moerangi Mountain Biking Trail offers deep immersion into a landscape of amazing forest, rivers and ridges. There mightn’t be any jumps, berms and table-tops, but Mother Nature has created a series of varied, natural obstacles and hazards such as fallen trees, slips and steep drop-offs that will keep riders on their toes.
Along the way are three historic huts including the nine-bed Moerangi Hut, located around the halfway mark. It’s a great option for bikers wishing to turn their ride into an overnight adventure, a reward of which is the chance to hear the North Island brown kiwi calling out after dusk. During the day, other fascinating birds may be seen or heard, such as the yellow-crowned kākāriki, kākā, whio (blue duck) and kārearea (New Zealand falcon).
The trail is best started from the Okahu Road end – approximately 100km southeast of Rotorua – so that most of the undulating terrain is tackled first. It also means the ride finishes with the long, thrilling descent from Moerangi Saddle (955m), following a ridgeline down to the Whirinaki River.
The trail ends are 37km apart by road. FourB offers 2-day all inclusive packages. These include one night in Taupō, one night in the Timber Trail Lodge, meals and luggage transfers.