Bike the Great Lake!
Nothing gets the thighs burning like the cycling trails around New Zealand’s largest lake! With forest parks and lots of uphill and downhill fun, there’s plenty of challenges to be had in this outdoorsy region.
The town of Taupo will accommodate you with bike hire, bike shuttles and affordable accommodation. So take a look at our list of Lake Taupo bike trails for the rides that best suit your ability and sense of adventure!
A couple of tips:
- Grade two might be classed as easy, but this means there are still some climbs to do be prepared to exert yourself.
- Pick up a bike trail map from the bike stores or i-SITE in Taupo.
1. Great Lake Trail
Cycle the western shores of New Zealand’s biggest lake! This grade two trail gives you views across Lake Taupo and over to the Tongariro National Park. Either organise the trip yourself or book onto a guided tour.
Distance: 71km (44 miles), 2-3 days.
Location: Between Whakaipo Road (start of WK2 track) and Waihora.
2. Craters MTB Park
Mountain bikers will get their fix of technical trails through the forest in this purpose-built park. Not only that but there are trails for all abilities. To use the park you need a Bike Taupo membership, which you can get from a local bike store or the local i-SITE.
Distance: 50km (31 miles) of trails.
Location: Craters of the Moon, near Huka Falls.
3. Tongariro River Trail
Distance: 15km (9 miles).
4. Timber Trail
Ride on this historic path through native bush. You will cycle along tram lines and over a 140m (459ft) suspension bridge. The whole Timber Trail is a grade two overnight mission up to 80km (50 miles) long.
Distance: 80km (50 miles), 2 days.
Location: between Pureora and Ongarue.
5. Te Iringa
Those with a “go hard or go home” mantra should test their mountain biking skills on this grade five-track. Te Iringa is a walking track but famous for its technical riding.
Distance: 38km (24 miles) return.
Location: Kaimanawa Forest Park, starting along Clements Mill Road.
6. 42 Traverse
This grade three rugged and unmaintained 4WD track is one of the most popular on the North Island. 42 Traverse is best done in dry weather, as it can be a real mission on wet muddy ground!
Distance: 50km (31 miles).
Location: Between Owhango and Kapoors Road near Taurewa.
7. Waikato River Trails
Cycle up to 100km (62 miles) on this extended riding adventure along New Zealand’s longest river. The whole route is a challenge with up to grade three trails. For an easy section of the trail just ride between Arapuni and Little Waipa. There are facilities along the trail, as well as beautiful scenery.
Distance: 100km (62 miles).
Location: Between Horahora Road, Piarere and Atiamuri.
8. Tree Trunk Gorge
This grade three-track is a more adventurous ride with river crossings, rocks and through beech forests. Epic! Base yourself in Turangi for riding Tree Trunk Gorge.
Distance: 19km (12 miles).
Location: South of Turangi. Between Kaimanawa Road and Tree Trunk Gore Road.
9. Rotary Ride – Aratiatia
Conveniently, this ride can be started from the Taupo township. Bike to Spa Park, have a dip in the natural hot spring and continue to the impressive Huka Falls. From there you can carry on through bush and along farmland to Aratiatia Dam. Coincide your ride to the dam with the dam opening times to see the rapids: 10am, 12pm, 2pm (and 4pm in summer).
Distance: 30km (19 miles) return.
Location: Between Taupo and Aratiatia Dam.
10. The Great Lake Walkway – Lions Walk
For the truly lazy we don’t judge here take this easygoing ride along the lakefront from Taupo township towards Five Mile Bay. Just follow the pathway on the lakefront. Easy.
Distance: 20.8km (13 miles).
Location: Taupo to Five Mile Bay.