Aiming for Great Ride Status

Aiming for Great Ride Status
  • Written by
  • Dyani Van Basten Batenburg

The world-famous network of mountain biking trails in Rotorua’s Whakarewarewa Forest consists of trails suitable for nearly every age, experience and fitness level. So, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the nearly 200km would be enough to satisfy all types of riders.

But, what they say about builders’ houses always being under construction can be also said about the trail builders in Whakarewarewa, which means a brand new, must-ride 33km trail – one that offers variety, culture and views – has just been opened.

Whakarewarewa Forest Loop

As the name implies, the new Whakarewarewa Forest Loop is a circular route, one way, through its famous namesake forest.

The 33km trail ranges from Grade 2 to 3 and has been designed to be accessible for people of almost all ages, abilities and fitness levels. You don’t have to be a professional rider; as long as you’re a confident rider, you’ll find the variety of uphill, downhill and flat sections interesting, fun and fairly easy to navigate.

If you’re on an e-bike, the trail should take you around two-and-a-half- to-three hours. On a regular bike, you should allow up to five hours to complete the loop. Of course, these times will depend on your pace and how often you stop at strategically placed points along the way that reveal stunning views.

If you find you’re running low on water or energy bars, you’ll be happy to know that along the trail there are three spots to purchase food and drinks, and four taps to refill water bottles, as well as three accessible toilet blocks.

The next NZ Great Ride

The trail planners and builders have really outdone themselves on this one, and it’s hoped the trail will be the next to earn New Zealand Cycle Trails’ Great Ride status.

Story boards along the trail feature interesting stories and information on the region’s Māori culture, and you’ll be riding among iconic stands of California redwoods and geothermal features. The slightly more technical downhill sections also provide a bit more excitement than other trails in the Great Ride network.

With high quality facilities available – bike rental outlets and services, bike wash stations, shower and toilet blocks with accessibility features, and coffee and food vendors – there’s really no good reason to skip this trail.

How to get started

Similar to a roundabout, there are multiple trail entry and exit points, but it’s recommended to start at Te Pūtake o Tawa carpark or Waipa

carpark as both hubs offer the facilities mentioned above, especially if you need to hire bikes, including electric ones. Plus, there’s plenty of parking at these two locations.

Clearly marked one-way trails allow you to go with the flow, including a few detours noted (read: shortcuts!), and you’ll have mobile phone coverage throughout most of the trail, should you need it.

Whakarewarewa Forest Loop is a fantastic addition to the existing trail network, offering yet another way to enjoy the forest recreationally, and hopefully an opportunity to tick another NZ Great Ride off your list.

Subscribe for news, giveaways & updates

Subscribe to our newsletter for more inspiration, exclusive online-only stories, the latest events and more.

By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from henry magazine. Click here to view our Terms & Conditions. Easy unsubscribe links are provided in every email.


henry provides a professional, potent, and affordable print advertising solution for any business, connecting the Taupo & Bay of Plenty regions and consumers. Reach and connect with the increasing flow of people, business and travel across these towns.

Advertise in henry magazine


henry is printed every quarter, at the beginning of each season. We produce 30,000 copies per quarter – meaning every issue has a shelf life of 3 months.

Read more


Follow us on

Copyright © 2024 ninetyblack ltd | All rights reserved