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.
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.
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!
Ngā Haerenga New Zealand Cycle Trails Official Website
A detailed description of this Great Ride, including maps and more information, can be found here.
Overall, these trails are smooth and flowing, but a number of moderate hill climbs make this intermediate (grade 3) Great Ride most suitable for reasonably fit riders with mountain biking experience. E-mountain bikes are welcome.
A mostly smooth, dry surface ensures enjoyable riding all year round, with winter days notable for crystal clear views of the snow-capped volcanoes. However, being so close to these mountains means temperatures can drop very quickly, even in summer. Make sure you check the weather and pack accordingly.
The trail is well signposted but remote in parts, so riders should carry a map, snacks, and be prepared for all eventualities.
Kinloch has a couple of places to get refreshments, and toilets are located at convenient locations along the trail.
Taupō is a brilliant place for biking, with a wide range of riding adventures including a trail to the famous Huka Falls. It’s also less than two hours’ drive to Tongariro National Park.