Starting near Rotorua’s lakefront and dubbed Thermal by Bike, Te Ara Ahi passes four geothermal areas each with their own unique scenes and strange formations. Not only a leisurely way to get from A to B, this pathway is also enriched by fascinating Māori history, pretty lake and mountain views, and cafes along the way. Mountain biking enthusiasts can also detour into Rotorua’s world-famous Redwoods Mountain Bike Park.
Te Ara Ahi comprises three continuous sections ranging from easy to intermediate, with multiple access points and shuttles making it possible to tailor to suit riders’ abilities, interests and travel schedule. It’s a great way to get some fresh air and gentle exercise while sight-seeing around the area.
Starting at Prince’s Gate near Rotorua Museum, Te Ara Ahi follows the aptly named Sulphur Point Track along the lakeshore and past two major cultural and geothermal parks, Whakarewarewa and Te Puia. The cycleway continues past the world-famous Redwoods Mountain Bike Park, which has trails for every ability, then hugs the highway for around 21km to spectacular Waimangu Volcanic Valley, the world's youngest geothermal system.
From there the trail continues to pretty Lake Okaro, colourful Rainbow Mountain, and on to Kerosene Creek (Te Ranga), popular for its natural hot pools. There’s a fun, technical detour to the summit of Rainbow Mountain for skilled riders. The next attraction en route is Waiotapu where there’s a geothermal area, pub and honey factory, and Waikite Valley Thermal Pools that signal the end of the trail. Pre-arranged shuttles can transport riders back to Rotorua or Taupo.
View trail map here.