10 Must-Do Bike Trails in Rotorua© Tourism New Zealand
10 Must-Do Bike Trails in Rotorua

10 BEST Bike Trails in Rotorua šŸš“ [2024]

© Tourism New Zealand
Article Single Pages© NZPocketGuide.com
Article Single Pages© NZPocketGuide.com
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Cycling and Mountain Biking in Rotorua

If there’s only one place in New Zealand where you’re going to do some mountain biking, it has to be in Rotorua. We know, that’s a pretty controversial statement considering there are some outstanding mountain biking regions throughout New Zealand. But when it comes to downhill thrills, Rotorua is a clear winner. Not only does the city have two mountain bike parks: Skyline Gravity Bike Park complete with a gondola and the Whakarewarewa Forest (also known as The Redwoods) packed with 200 km (125 mi) of mountain bike trail (no joke), but on top of all that, there are a few scenic trails thrown in the mix. Check out the list of bike trails in and around Rotorua below to find your perfect ride.

1. Whakarewarewa Forest Mountain Bike Trails (Grades 2-5)

The Redwoods, otherwise known as the Whakarewarewa Forest, is what put Rotorua on the international mountain bike scene! The mountain bike trails are some of the oldest in the country but have aged well with more than 200 km (125 mi) of exciting trails linking seamlessly together. What’s more, entry to the park is free and mountain bike hire is available, such as with Rotorua Mountain Bikes and Mohawk Ebike Tours. A popular option for families or newbies is The Dipper (Grade 2) which weaves between the redwood trees. Alternatively, intermediate to advanced riders will have a blast at the “Outer Core Network” which is clearly labelled on the mountain bike park maps.

Location: Entrances are from Long Mile Road, Lynmore, approximately 5 km (3 mi) from Rotorua city centre, and Waipa State Mill car park off SH5, approximately 6 km (3.6 mi) from Rotorua city centre.

10 Must-Do Bike Trails in Rotorua© NZPocketGuide.com

2. Tuhoto Ariki Trail (Grade 4)

Speaking of The Redwoods, a great ride for intermediate to advanced riders starts from the top of The Redwoods called Tuhoto Ariki Trail. This 5 km (3 mi) duel-use trail winds through native bush and is rich in history. The trail is named after the Māori tohunga (priest) who predicted the 1886 Mt Tarawera eruption.

Location: Start from Waipa State Mill car park off SH5, approximately 6 km (3.6 mi) from Rotorua city centre.

© Destination Rotorua

3. Western Okataina (Grade 3)

Mix mountain biking and stunning lake views on this 22.5 km (14 mi) trail through the Lake Okataina Scenic Reserve. The Western Ōkataina Walkway can be ridden in either direction with plenty of ups, straights to catch your breath, and exhilarating downhills. Be aware that this is a shared trail with walkers.

Location: Car park at Millar Road, Lake Okareka, approximately 4 km (9 mi) from Rotorua city centre.

10 Must-Do Bike Trails in Rotorua© NZPocketGuide.com

4. Whakarewarewa Forest Loop (Grades 2-3)

The Whakarewarewa Forest Loop offers an exciting yet beginner- and family-friendly bike trail in the famous Redwoods/Whakarewarewa Forest. Ride through a mix of native and pine forest taking in astonishing views of Lake Rotorua and Tikitapu along the way. The trail grade is mostly easy with a few short intermediate sections, but there are plenty of trails leading on and off the main loop if you want to shorten your trip. The trail is 33 km (20.5 mi) in total, taking 3-5 hours. Again, mountain bike hire is available with Rotorua Mountain Bikes and e-bikes with Mohawk Ebike Tours.

Location: Entrances are from Long Mile Road, Lynmore, approximately 5 km (3 mi) from Rotorua city centre, and Waipa State Mill car park off SH5, approximately 6 km (3.6 mi) from Rotorua city centre.

10 Best Bike Trails in Rotorua© Rotorua NZ - Graeme Murray

5. Maunga Kākaramea Loop (Grades 2-4)

Three mountain bike tracks link together to make a 7 km (4 mi loop at Maunga Kākaramea, also known as Rainbow Mountain. The Maunga Kākaramea Summit Track (grade 4) is a challenging uphill track to the summit of Maunga Kākaramea with epic panoramic views. From the top, enjoy a thrilling downhill blast on the Te Ranga Track (grade 4) leading to Kerosene Creek, a natural hot spring. The final traverse to the bottom is on the Maunga Kākaramea Loop (grade 2) for the final 3.2 km (2 mi) of the loop.

Location: Maunga Kākaramea car park via State Highway 5, approximately 25 km (15.5) mi from Rotorua city centre.

10 Must-Do Bike Trails in Rotorua© NZPocketGuide.com

6. Hot X Buns (Grade 4)

Another blast in The Redwoods comes in the form of Hot X Buns, a 2.7 km (1.7 mi) technical downhill ride. The trail is for bikes only so go at your own desired pace and enjoy!

Location: Long Mile Road, Lynmore, approximately 5 km (3 mi) from Rotorua city centre. From The Redwoods Visitor Centre, ride up Direct Road to reach the track start (it’s a demanding climb but worth it).

10 Must-Do Bike Trails in Rotorua© Unsplash

7. Skyline Gravity Bike Park (Grades 2-5)

Choose from six stomach-flipping trails on a 12 km (7.5 mi) network at the Skyline Gravity Bike Park. There’s something for everyone with grades 2-5 starting from a height of 532 m (1,745 ft)! What’s more, the gondola-assisted bike park means you can enjoy the downhills again and again, without having to bust a gut to get back up.

Location: Fairy Springs Road, approximately 5 km (3 mi) from Rotorua City Centre.

10 BEST Bike Trails in Rotorua šŸš“ [2024]© Nick Lambert - Destination Rotorua

8. Hatu Patu (Grade 5)

One of the most advanced trails to tick off the bucket list is the Hatu Patu trail. While the trail is one 1 km (0.6 mi), it descends a total of 160 m (525 ft)! Choose this ride for a real challenge with its off-chamber benching and roots. Find this trail in The Redwoods.

Location: Accessed off the Tuhoto Ariki trail (see above for directions).

10 Best Bike Trails in Rotorua© NZPocketGuide.com

9. Tokorangi (Grade 3)

The final Redwoods Forest bike trail worth mentioning is the Tokorangi trail. This fast-flowing track is suitable for intermediate riders looking for something fun but not too gnarly. The trail starts high on the Tokorangi ridge and flows through a logged area into lush native forest.

Location: Long Mile Road, Lynmore, approximately 5 km (3 mi) from Rotorua city centre. Tokorangi is linked to the As You Do Trail.

Destination Rotorua© Destination Rotorua

10. Whirinaki Mountain Bike Trails (Grade 2-4)

If you’re willing to travel a little further out of Rotorua for a true wilderness adventure then it’s worth taking on the Whirinaki Mountain Bike Trails. There are two epic mountain bike trails to choose from; the Moerangi Track (grade 3-4) and the Whirinaki Mountain Bike Track (grade 3). The Moerangi Track is a 35 km (22 mi) single track with a few forestry road sections. The trail is getting well-worn so look out for big drops here and there. The whole ride is about 5-7 hours, but if you take your time there are backcountry huts to stay in along the trail. The Whirinaki Mountain Bike Trail (grade 3) is an easier option with 16 km (10 mi) of trail to enjoy. Allow five hours to complete the trail.

Location: Ruatahuna Road, at the end of Fort Road off State Highway 38. Approximately 89 km (55 mi) from Rotorua.

Tourism Bay of Plenty© James Jub - Destination Central Otago

Frequently Asked Questions About Bike Trails in Rotorua

And for all those nitty-gritty details, here are some frequently asked questions about cycling and mountain biking in Rotorua.

Is there a cycle track around Lake Rotorua?

Although there is no fully dedicated cycle trail around Lake Rotorua, there is a mix of cycle/walking trails with road connections in between. Allow 2-3 hours to complete the 44 km (27 mi) journey around the lake.

What is the new bike trail in Rotorua?

The newest addition to Rotorua’s impressive collection of bike trails is the Whakarewarewa Forest Loop, which is a 33 km (20.5 mi) easy-going trail through the Whakarewarewa Forest (The Redwoods).

Where can I mountain bike in Rotorua?

Rotorua is famous for its world-class mountain biking, with the Whakarewarewa Forest (The Redwoods) being the prime location for mountain bike enthusiasts. The forest features over 200 km (125 mi) of purpose-built trails that cater to all levels of riders, from beginners to advanced. Key areas include:

  • The Redwoods: Offering a network of trails with varying difficulty levels, set amongst magnificent Californian Redwoods.
  • Skyline Rotorua: Accessible by gondola, these downhill trails provide adrenaline-pumping action with stunning views over Lake Rotorua.
  • Te Miro Mountain Bike Park: Offers a variety of trails and is constantly evolving, with new tracks being added regularly.

These areas provide a mix of technical challenges, fast descents and scenic trails that have made Rotorua a must-visit destination for mountain bikers from around the globe.

More About Rotorua

In between riding in The Redwoods or up Maunga Kākaramea, spend some time checking out these 20 Awesome Places to Visit in Rotorua and stay in one of the 15 Best Hotels in Rotorua. Otherwise, check out these experiences nearby:

Finally, find out all you need to know about cycling in New Zealand with our Cycling & Mountain Biking in New Zealand Guide.

Sources:

The information in this guide has been compiled from our extensive research, travel and experiences across New Zealand and the South Pacific, accumulated over more than a decade of numerous visits to each destination. Additional sources for this guide include the following:

Our editorial standards: At NZ Pocket Guide, we uphold strict editorial standards to ensure accurate and quality content.

About The Author

Robin C.

This article has been reviewed and approved by Robin, who is the co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. With more than 15 years of experience in the New Zealand tourism industry, Robin has co-founded three influential tourism businesses and five additional travel guides for South Pacific nations. He is an expert in New Zealand travel and has tested over 600 activities and 300+ accommodations across the country.

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