Rotorua is known as the mecca of Mountain Biking – there is so many fantastic trails and tracks to do, it can almost be overwhelming as to where to begin. Here is our recommendations for those first time Mountain Bikers, from kids to adults!
Small Children, balance bikes, even the stroller!
Explore the Redwoods Forest on the Mokopuna Track, a 3.6km loop which cuts underneath the Redwoods Treewalk. It’s a lovely wide and flat trail, easy for the kids just starting out and you can absolutely take the stroller along too! The easiest place to start is at the car park by the Redwoods I-Site, but you can easily jump onto the loop from the top of long mile road too. It’s a great family friendly loop with toilets nearby at the I-Site centre and the Eastwood café just down the road for a coffee afterwards.
First time Mountain Bikers
There is lots of beginner trails for mountain biking in the forest and a great place to start is at the Waipa Carpark where there are lots of Grade 1 & 2 options. For an easy loop, head into the forest and turn right onto Tahi, this a great warm up trail and a fun way to ease into the forest. Follow through into Creek (Grade 2) and then turn off and jump into The Dipper or you can continue on Creek which will spit you out on Nursery Road. Take a spin around The Dipper (fun for all ages!) and then take Tahi back down to the Carpark.
Alternatively, from Waipa Carpark you can follow the Verry Safe Trail down alongside Waipa State Mill Road and this will take you down past Planet Bike (great coffee!) and spit you out at the bottom of Nursery Hill opposite the Mill. From here you can cruise through the Purarenga Track which goes alongside the beautiful Purarenga stream with lots of small punga trees. Afterwards we enjoy a loop around Yellow Brick Road (Grade 2) and then you can jump on Ball and Chain to change it up on your return back to Planet Bike and take the Verry Safe Trail back to the Waipa Carpark.
Or you could do both with a coffee stop and cinnamon scroll at Secret Spot in between!
Something a little longer, but worth it for the views
If you have some riding confidence and are looking for a bit of a longer ride then we highly recommend the Forest Loop! Fairly new to Rotorua, this trail loops the entire forest and is 36km of Grade 2/3 trail with stunning views along the way. Officially starting at the Waipa Carpark it winds up through geothermal forest to the top of Nursery Hill, then climbs along the Tokorangi Ridgeline to a lookout over Lake Rotorua and the city. From there, it winds down to Tarawera Road and along towards the Blue Lake where you can stop for a swim or coffee, and along a newly built trail alongside Lake Rotokakahi. Coming around the back of the forest and joining up with the Te Ara Ahi Cycletrail which brings you alongside the main highway and back to the Waipa Carpark.
The loop is fantastic as there are several spots where you can drop in and out, meaning you don’t need to do the whole thing in one go! Easy to change it to a 12km, 20km or 36km Ride to suit your ability and fitness.
Have a read of these great alternatives to mix up the forest loop from Ride Rotorua – Read here!