Tongariro Bike Trails

Short, Day & Multi Day Rides

There are a variety of Tongariro bike trails in the Tongariro region, the areas around Taupo township, the western bays of Lake Taupo and around the mountains toward Ohakune which vary from flat ground short rides and day rides to multi day leg burners! Many of the trails follow beautiful bush tracks, with views of lakes, rivers and mountains. Some trails are shared with walkers and even fishermen.

Turangi & Tongariro River Trails Riverstone Recommendation

The Turangi township and surrounds have an extensive network of public cycle paths connecting with public park space, often with large swathes of big trees that put on spectacular display of colour in the autumn and spring. You can begin the the  Tongariro River Trails from the town, and there is also a scenic easy ride of 5km to Tokaanu Village and the Tokaanu Hot Pools.

The Kaimanawa Forest Park (10km drive) offers a range of more challenging bike trails that can be combined for a full day trip from Turangi. Other day and multi day rides are covered below including the Waihaha Trail, W2K and Great Lake Trail parts of which can be combined and could include the use of a water taxi transfer.

Waihaha Track Riverstone Recommendation

Time: Walking 3.5hrs, Cycling 1.5hrs (one way)
Distance: 14km
Grade: 3
Begin: SH32 Waihaha bridge car park, 40min drive from Turangi

From the Waihaha River car park, follow the river down toward the Waihaha Bay before crossing a swing bridge and following the river down before gently climbing to the cliffs above and returning from the end of Waihaha Road. The trail has great views of the Waihaha River canyon and Tieke Falls. It is surrounded by Tanekaha dominated native bush and large outcrops of weathered volcanic rocks. Return via the same track, organise a shuttle from the Waihaha Road end, or continue on to the Waihaha-Waihora track and the Great Lake Trail.

Timber Trail

Cycle Time: 2 days
Distance: 83km
Grade: 2-3
Begin: Pureora Vilage SH30 or off SH4 from the Ongarue-Waimiha Road

The Timber Trail which is part of the NZ Cycle Trail, follows the old Ongarue tram-lines and has eight large of the largest and highest suspension bridges in NZ, offering great views over pristine native forest and valleys of the Pureora Forest. Shuttle services also allow sections of the trail to be ridden as day rides.

Learn more…

Great Lake Trail Riverstone Recommendation

Time: 2-3 days
Distance: 71km
Grade: 2

The Great Lake Trail  follows the north western shores of Lake Taupo for 70km and is part of the New Zealand Cycle Trail.  A water taxi can ferry riders, bikes and walkers to four access points along the trail with shuttle operators connecting with the more inland sections, making a variety of trips possible. There is no trail between Waihora Bay and Kawakawa Bay so a water taxi ride will be required if you wish to complete the entire section between Taupo and Waihaha.

Track Sections

1 W2K (Whakaipo Bay to Kinloch) and Headland Loop (14 to 24 km)

2 K2K Orakau (Whangamata Road) to Kawakawa Bay and Kinloch (18 km)

3 Kawakawa Bay to Waihora Bay – no track, shuttle ferry required

4 W2W Waihora Bay to Waihaha Bay (Western Bays Rd end) (31 km)

Whakaipo Bay to Kinloch (W2K)

Time: Walking 4.5hrs, Cycling 2hrs (one way)
Distance: 14km

The W2K section  of the Great Lake Trail from Whakaipo Bay to Kinloch can can be ridden or walked in either direction as an out and back trail (14 kilometers each way).  From Taupo take the turnoff for Kinloch or continue to Acacia Bay and take the Mapara Road to Whakaipo Bay. A further 9km loop, known as the Headland Loop, can be added taking you all the way out to the Whangamata Bluffs and stunning lake views.

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Taupo Trails

Rotary Ride – Spa Park to Huka Falls

Time: 30min
Distance: 6km
Grade: 1
Begin: Spa Rd car park on the left past Taupo Bungy

After crossing the Otamuheke Stream be sure to take the mountain bike track rather than the walking track which follows the edge of the Waikato River. At the end of the trail return the same way or connect with extensive network of other trails in the area.

For the return loop cross over the river and head back to Taupo along the 2.5 kilometer Redwood Track which is also a gentle single track back to town on Huka Falls Rd.  When Huka Falls Rd meets State Highway 1 there is a cycleway along the edge of the highway to avoid the traffic.  Once you cross the control gates back into Taupo you can head left and ride all the way along the river and Spa Rd back to the start of the Rotary Ride.

Time: Cycling 45mins, Walking 2hrs
Distance: 7km
Grade: 1
Begin: Huka Falls

You could continue on from the Rotary Ride to Aratiatia Dam, returning the same way. In the summer (October to March) the flood gates on the dam open every 2 hours between 10am and 4pm.

From the Huka Falls bridge you can also ride up to the Helistar Hub Cafe where there is a tunnel under the roadway to the Wairakei Forest and Craters of the Moon trails.

Craters MTB Park Wairakei Forest

Craters of the Moon is a purpose built Mountain Bike Park offering 50km of varied terrain set amongst eucalyptus and pine forest with great views out over the lake and volcanic plateau. Please note that access requires you to join Bike Taupo who maintain the trails – its a small fee for the pleasure.

Lakefront Lions Walk

Time: Walking 2hrs, Cycling 45mins
Distance: 10km
Grade: 1
Begin: Anywhere between Taupo Boat Harbor & Wharewaka Point

The Lions Walk is a paved walkway starting on the lake side at the Waikato River outlet in Taupo and continuing to Wharewaka Point, where there is a good picnic area offering stunning views of Mount Ruapehu and the volcanic plateau. The DOC Five Mile Bay track is part of the Lions Walk, which then joins the Awaroa Track which continues on to the lakeside settlement of Waitahanui.

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Ohakune Trails

Old Coach Road Riverstone Recommendation

Time: Walking 4hrs, Cycling 2.5hrs
Distance: 15km (one way)
Grade: 2
Begin: Marshalls Rd, off Old Station Rd or Matapuna Road from SH4

The Old Coach Road track between Ohakune and Horopito links a number of fascinating pieces of New Zealand’s rail heritage in a journey through the spectacular Tongariro National Park.

You can do a return ride back to your vehicle, or a one way trip. Bike rental and transport to and from the track is available with several operators in and around Ohakune – enquire at the Ohakune i-Site.

The trail is part of the NZ Cycle Trail network which takes cyclists through the Tongariro and Whanganui National Parks, past the Hapuawhenua Viaduct, the famous Bridge to Nowhere, and many marae along the Whanganui River Road.

Tongariro Forest & 42nd Traverse

Time: 3-6 hrs
Distance: 44km
Grade: 3
Begin: Kapoors Road and State Highway 47 which is 18 km north of National Park Village. About 6 kilometers up Kapoors Road is a car park and a DOC sign marking the start of the track. Exit at Owhonga

The 42nd Traverse Mountain Bike ride in the Tongariro Forest to the west of SH42 between Turangi and National Park, is one of the most popular day rides in NZ. The track descends through remote native bush for 570 m, often with views back to the volcanoes of the central plateau. The ride begins at Kapoors Road (SH41 near the turn off to Whakapapa Village) to Owhango (SH4 30 km north of National Park). Anyone venturing into this area should consult the Tongariro Forest Adventure map.

Learn more…

Hiring Mountain Bikes

  • The bikes at Riverstone Backpackers are fine for the rides described above.
  • For even more robust mountain bikes try Tongariro River Rafting Mountain Biking who offer quality late model bikes, guided mountain biking adventures and a shuttle service to the more remote trails.
  • For rides closer to Taupo township there are a number of bike shops in the Taupo CBD who hire bikes.

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