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Out and back on the Te Iringa Trail

by John Colthorpe

Long before berms were a thing and when a tabletop was literally the top of your dining table, mountain biking revolved around grabbing your map, planning a route along some dotted map lines and getting out there. 

With this in mind, we embarked on an adventure, following one of these black dotted lines on a map with no idea what to expect… 

It is like you have travelled through a wormhole and ended up somewhere in a past land. The deeper you get into the back country here, the more solitude you find - time to think, time to appreciate what’s around you, time to reflect on what life might have been like for early settlers to New Zealand. But don’t reflect for too long as there is a world class trail to ride here – a true backcountry epic. 

Te Iringa Trail Taupo - John Colthorpe

Giant ferns and ancient trees line a technical climb over loamy soil and roots which soon turn into a hike-your-bike up to the old burnt down Te Iringa Hut. Roots as big as small trees meander across the trail, without so much as a chain ring mark on them – an indication to the traffic these secret backcountry trails see. 

As an ‘out and back’ ride, you get a good chance to scope some lines for the upcoming descent. Moving on from the hut site, the trail climbs for a while before heading down. This section of the trail serves up flowing, fast fun across the ancient beech forest dirt -  the perfect hero dirt, sliding into corners and hooking the rubber up on the bank on the exit providing a great challenge for those wanting to prove their trail riding skills. 

Te Iringa Trail Taupo - John Colthorpe

From here there is an opportunity to head onto the Oamaru Hut (1.5 hours) for an overnighter. The Department of Conservation have refurbished this old hut which now provides sleeping for 12 plus a log burning stove. As this was only a day trip for us, we retraced our steps – climbing back up to just shy of 1300 metres before the real fun. 

From the high point of the trail, this trail provides one of the most amazing descents. Dropping in through ancient trees, whipping around corners tangled with beech tree roots, and airing large sections of the trail. It is reminiscent of a giant bobsleigh run, with the addition of technical steps made from the twisted roots. Four kilometres of this descent is just not enough, we always find ourselves wanting more! This section will leave a giant grin on the face of even the most reserved rider. 

Taupo really is a special place, with endless untouched trails that deserve to be explored. Soon we will pull together our squad once more and forge ahead with our next mountain biking adventure - and I cannot wait. 

#ilovetaupo by John Colthorpe

About John Colthorpe 

With great passion for the outdoors and its beauty, he loves nothing more than creating fascinating stories in nature's playground. His Rotorua based media agency Out House is a one-stop-shop for all things motion media. View his portfolio here.


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  5. Out and back on the Te Iringa Trail