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As the heat of summer cools into crisp mornings, warm days and star-filled nights, there are few better ways to enjoy Taupo’s natural landscapes than from the saddle of a bike. Taupo offers some of the best mountain biking in New Zealand on a network of internationally recognised, purpose-built trails to suit every kind of rider, and Taupo’s pumice-rich, free-draining soils mean excellent conditions year-round.
Taupo offers the perfect autumn biking holiday experience - from world class trails to warm geothermal waters, dining at lakeside restaurants and cold locally-brewed beer at the end of the ride. Here are some biking trails you can easily fit into your autumn holiday itinerary.
The Great Lake Trail is fast becoming known as one of the best mountain bike trails in Australasia. The flowing 71km grade 3 journey takes you through beautiful native bush around the western bays of Lake Taupo, past epic waterfalls and across steep ravines, with stunning views across the lake to the volcanoes of Tongariro National Park. The trail is broken up into three key sections: Waihaha, Kawakawa and W2K and is rideable year-round as part of the Nga Haerenga - The New Zealand Cycle Trails network.
For the best experience base yourself in Kinloch and pick and choose your sections based on fitness and experience. The picturesque village of Kinloch is set on a quiet bay 20 minutes northwest of Taupo town and offers a handful of bike-friendly B&B’s and accommodation options, with several shuttles and guiding companies operating out of the village.
Huka Trails refers to a series of multi-use trails connecting Taupo town with Huka Falls, Aratiatia Dam, Wairakei Tourist Park and Craters Mountain Bike Park. There are various access points for these two-way shared usage trails along the banks of the stunning Waikato River. Most sections of the trail are grade 1-2 easy, whilst some parts are grade 3.
If you’re riding from Taupo town you can either start at Gates Park or at Spa Thermal Park – take your togs and enjoy the free geothermal hot springs at Otumuheke Stream. A tunnel running under SH1 from Kefi at the Hub connects you into Craters Mountain Bike Park; crisscrossing within the Wairakei Forest featuring over 50km of expertly built, flowing cross country and downhill trails ranging from grade 2 to 5.
Surrounded by native bush and hugging the banks of the beautiful Tongariro River, the Turangi based Tongariro River Trail is intentionally built as a hideaway from the world. The Tongariro National Trout Centre at the far end of the trail is a worthwhile stop-off and the two swing bridges are a fun addition to the ride. There are multiple entry points along the 15-kilometre grade 2 trail, so it’s suitable for beginner riders and families.
Other must-dos include the award-winning Great Lake Pathway, The Timber Trail in ancient Pureora Forest Park, and the Waikato River Trails near Mangakino.
Offering some of the best e-biking and mountain biking in New Zealand, Taupo’s natural landscape is carved with trails to give riders of all skill levels unprecedented access to explore our breath-taking whenua (land). From scenic cycling and family fun, to technical trails and epic descents, Taupo has it all.More info
Explore Taupo’s world-class trails, food and apres-bike experiences on this 3-day itinerary.