Whakarewarewa Forest “The Redwoods”****-MTB

5 km southeast of Rotorua

“Rated as one of the Top 10 Mountain Bike Rides in New Zealand by www.rearpatrol.com USA.”

“Rotorua has been identified as one of the world’s cycling hotspots by Velogear”, check out on Velogear Ride Advisor, Australia’s #1 Cycling Guide

Grades 1-6 , Time 1 hour to 2 days Distance up to 130km.

Track conditions: 70-80% single track, 20-30% forestry roads.

Described as the ‘Disneyland of mountain Biking; Whakarewarewa (aka The Redwoods) contains some of the best purpose-built mountain bike trails in New Zealand. There are lots of facilties at the trail head, and enough trails weaving through the forest to keep you entertained for a weekend or more. Rotorua has good cafes, shops, bike shops, cultural centres and thermal pools to relax in after a great ride as well as a huge selection of well priced accommodation. Check out  accommodation at www.bnblive.com .

How to get there: Head out of Rotorua towards Taupo ( there are cycle lanes beside the road).After 1km, just on the edge of Rotorua and at the far end of the large Te Puia car park, you will find the Hemo Gorge track signposted ( it is part of the Te Ara Ahi Trail above). This track is grade2 and leads to a large field on the far side of the main mountain bike car park beside Waipa State Mill Road. This entrance to the Redwoods has a cafe, shops, toilets and skills area.

Route: The trail map shows all the forestry roads and mountain bike tracks.Every track is signposted at the start and finish, and grade from 1-6  on the signposts and the trail map. The sheer number of possibilities can be bewildering.Here  are some suggestions for starting off, but remember, this is a production forest, and from time to time tracks will be closed for logging.  For fun, easy single tracks close to the main car park, head out on Tahi Trail, blast along all of the Creek Track( there are a couple of signposted easy/hard options: ( take the easy option). Turn left at end of Creek Track to ride up to the map at the junction of Radio Hut Road and Nursery Road. At the end of Challenge Roadside go left onto Pohaturoa Road for 200 metres, then right into Dipper.Ride all of Dipper, then rocket home on the second part of Tahi Trail. That 12km ride should take 1-1.5 hours.

For experienced riders, there is a 25-km loop consisting of grade 2-4 tracks. Start with Tahi Trail and Creek Track again.Then go right into Nursery Road and into Mad If You Don’t. Hang a left at the end, beside the water tanks and head along Puarenga the Hill Road to the shuttle pick-up point where there is a map and water fountain. Go left onto Pipeline Road, then left again into Nice Road, and right into Sweet & Sour. When you hit Red Tank Road, go left into Dragon Tail, then left into Red Tank Road again, right onto Wash Road, left onto Spruce Road, then dive into LionTrail. At the end of Lion Trail, head up Katore Road to a viewpoint for a rest before heading down Corridor followed by Tokorangi. This will merge with Turkish Delight, which takes you to Radio Hut Road. At the end of Turkish Delight, turn left, the right to go up to Challenge. At the end, head left down Pohaturoa Road fro 200 metres, then right into Dipper, which becomes the Tahi Trail. At the end, go 30 metres up the road and finish off with Rosebank. If you for some crazy reason only have One day in Rotorua, we recommend you extend the 25-km loop above by adding  on the legendary Tuhoto Ariki, Hatu Patu and Spit Enz.  There’s lots more to list here, including some advanced downhill tracks, While most of the area is covered in exotic production forest, the epic Tutoto Ariki delves deep into some fantastic, New Zealand native forest.

Notes:  There is mapboard at the car park and several key intersections around the forest. The most difficult sections of trails are marked with ‘XXX’ signs. Southstar Shuttle Services provides $10-per-trip shuttle rides to the main downhill tracks ( or $40 for a six-trip pass-see wwww.southstaradventures.com . Also visit riderotorua.com/trails.php for lastest trail info. Pick up a trail map from the shop at the mountain bike car park, i-site, visitors centre on Long Mile Road or any bike shop in Rotorua.

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