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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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  • Activities & tours

    Camp Epic - Timber Trail Shuttles, Hire, Glamping

    Shuttles, bike/ebike hire and glamping accommodation on the Timber Trail - one of New Zealand's Great Rides.

  • 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

    Tongariro Mountain Bikes

    Southern Lake Taupo has some of the best mountain bike country in New Zealand. We know trails that ride through stunning scenery, immersing you in native forest and along side magnificent rivers full of trout and can be relaxing or challenging.

    $65 - $299
  • 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
  • Airport shuttles

    FourB - Great Lake Trails Shuttles

    Shuttle transfers for all sections of the Great Lake Trails in Taupo including booking the water taxi transfer from the Waihaha section in the Western Bays of Lake Taupo.

    $45 - $150 Book now
  • Cycling & Mountain Biking

    FourB - Waihaha Road & Boat Transfer Package

    The Great Lake Trail Waihaha-Waihora section Including return road transfer, scenic boat transfer and bike hire to enjoy one of the best one day trails in the North Island. Some previous trail riding is important as it is an intermediate trail.

    $295 - $325 Book now
  • Cycling & Mountain Biking

    Tree Trunk Gorge Guided Mountain Bike

    This is a short but beautiful track that weaves its way through native forest and includes a short steep climb, a picturesque river ford and some wooden bridges. This is an intermediate trail with lots of fun to be had.

    $115 Book now
  • Custom transfers

    Mangakino Shuttle Service

    Enjoy the Beautiful Scenery of the famous Waikato River Trail as you Bike or walk in an ever-changing, Breathtaking landscape, for just a few hours, or travel more of the trail over 2 to 5 days. Shuttle, Bike Hire and accommodation available.

    $20 - $60
  • Cycling & Mountain Biking

    FourB - Timber Trail All Inclusive Package

    Timber Trail 2-day all inclusive package. One night in Taupo, one night in the Timber Trail Lodge, meals and luggage transfers ex Taupo.

    $649 - $799 Book now

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