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Great Lake Trails

The Great Lake Trails are a journey of volcanic discovery through lush native forest, past sparkling waterfalls, over deep gorges and down to the crystal-clear waters of Lake Taupō. Ride all the sections of these flowing, purpose-built mountain bike trails in two epic days.

Get ready for an epic biking adventure! These trails, crafted by bikers since 2006, wind along the stunning shores of Lake Taupō with breathtaking views of the Tongariro mountains. Ride through lush native bush, enjoy serene lake views, and marvel at powerful waterfalls. The trails are shared with friendly walkers, runners, and their dogs.

Trail Stats

  • Total Distance
    75 Km
  • Total Time
    9 - 12 hrs Cycling
  • Ability
    Grade 3 | Intermediate
  • Trail Type
    Forrest | Pumice | River | Dirt

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Elevation

Enjoy the Great Lake Trails with a mix of steady climbs, thrilling descents, and flat sections. Waihaha offers narrow, flowing trails with fun climbs and declines. Kawakawa features smooth downhills through wetlands. Whakaipo blends climbs, descents, and flat paths. Perfect for a scenic ride with technical turns and fun switchbacks.

Elevation

Elevation | 555m

Climb | 34.8km*

Descent | 29.7km*

Flat | 9.1km*

*All trails total combined

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Riding the Great Lake Trails

The Great Lake Trails are a journey of volcanic discovery around the rim of Lake Taupō, a supervolcano formed after one of Earth’s largest known eruptions. The volcano ejected pumice over the land, gifting the area with free-draining soils perfect for all-season riding.

Flowing, purpose-built mountain bike trails will take you through lush native forest, past sparkling waterfalls, towering volcanic cliffs, and over deep gorges. Striking rock formations depict the area’s fascinating volcanic history, and a stop at Echo Rock will have you thinking you’re standing near a waterfall. Ride to elevated lookouts with spectacular views of snowy volcanic peaks and down to secluded swimming beaches to cool off in the crystal-clear waters of Lake Taupō.

Consistently rated highly for rider experience, the Great Lake Trails boast exhilarating downhills, fun switchbacks, and cambered berms to deliver true singletrack heaven for riders. The trails were built by mountain bikers, for mountain bikers, realising the pipedream of a community that lives and breathes cycling.

The Great Lake Trails traverse some of the most remote areas of the lake shore on a stretch of land between Waihaha Bridge in the west to Whakaipo Bay in the north. A boat shuttle links the different sections of the trail, providing pick-ups and drop-offs from various picturesque bays along the trail.

The Great Lake Trails will take you into a truly ancient area that is interwoven with Maori history and storeys from a time past. You can feel the history surrounding you as you ride into the forest, and the landscape unfolds to reveal stunning views across the water to the majestic volcanic mountains of the Tongariro National Park. Dramatic scenery combines with serene lake views, powerful waterfalls, native bird songs, and incredible trail quality to deliver an unforgettable experience.

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Highlights

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The Great Lake Trails are proud to be part of Ngā Haerenga - The New Zealand Cycle Trails network.

Complete the Great Lake Trails survey

Help us improve your trail experience. Complete our survey to be in the draw to win a $200nzd Torpedo7 voucher.

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Explore the Supervolcanic Great Lake Trails

Whether you're exploring the Great Lake Trails or looking for more Great Rides, the Taupō region offers unforgettable rides amidst the supervolcanic landscapes and lush wilderness. With over 30 individual trails and more than 380 kilometers of riding paths, your adventure through this biking paradise is sure to be exhilarating and memorable.

The Great Lake Rides Other Great Rides NZ

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Bike shuttles, guides & tours

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  • Cycling & Mountain Biking

    Chris Jolly Outdoors - Guided Biking

    Take a tour of the Biking Capital of New Zealand with Chris Jolly Outdoors. Lake Taupo offers some of the most stunning scenic bike trails, and a guided bike tour is the perfect way to enjoy the experience.

    $1 - $1,800 Book now
  • Cycling & Mountain Biking

    Supervolcanic - Waihaha - Road and Boat Transfer Package

    Got your own bike? Supervolcanic. Ride the Epic Waihaha section of the Great lake Trail with this transfer package from Kinloch.

    $149 - $159 Book now
  • Kayaking

    Taupo Kayaking Adventures Bike & Kayak Combo Tours

    Why not combine your mountain biking and kayaking trip into one fun adventure packed day? Enjoy the stunning scenery Great Lake Taupo and its surrounding area has on offer on both land and water.

    $120 - $510 Book now
  • Mountain biking

    Kaimanawa Descent (Heli Bike)

    The Kaimanawa Descent is Kaimanawa Alpine Adventures epic 23km Grade 3, purpose built heli biking trail. With the trail head over looking the volcanic plateau, descend through the Kaimanawa's with breathtaking views. It's a ride you wont forget.

    $350 - $450 Book now
  • Cycling & Mountain Biking

    42 Traverse Guided E-Bike Ride

    Known as one of the best adventure mountain bike rides in New Zealand. A 46km Grade 3 guided mountain e-bike tour through the Tongariro Forest. The 42 Traverse takes you into sub-alpine New Zealand with beautiful views of the surrounding mountains.

    $299 Book now
  • Cycling & Mountain Biking

    Adventure Shuttles

    Whether you want to hike it, bike it, taste it or just go see it Adventure Shuttles helps you get the buzz in the beautiful Central North Island.

    $30 - $1,000
  • Mountain biking

    FourB - Great Lake Trails 2-Day All Inclusive Package

    Part of the Super volcanic trail Network. Two nights B&B accommodation, meals and transport to mountain bike the Great Lake Trails over 2 days including the boat transfer from Waihaha on the first day and the K2K/W2K sections on the second day.

    $599 Book now
  • Cycling & Mountain Biking

    Huka River Trail Guided Geothermal E-bike Tour

    Enjoy a scenic e-bike tour and learn about our breathtaking Huka Falls, the mighty crystal clear Waikato River, Aratiatia Dam & Rapids. Finish with a ride past an incredible geothermal stream in Wairakei. (previous MTB experience is good).

    $299 - $399 Book now
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