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Where to ride in Taupo this summer

We’re sure you have heard about the sporting craze sweeping the globe; e-bikes! A bicycle with a built-in battery to assist with momentum, e-bikes have exploded with popularity and are now a common sight out on the tracks. Seen as a low-impact form of exercise and recreation, it has taken the bike community by storm here in Taupo. Perfect for those looking to trace the trails with a little more power behind the peddle, e-bikes are allowing people to go further, go longer, and go explore. 

But of course, classic mountain biking is still as popular as ever, and with six dedicated bike stores the Taupo region is a hub in the North Island for all forms of cycling. There are plenty of trails, tracks and tarmac to take your bike for a spin; whether you are completely new to riding, have some experience and want to explore your skills, or you're looking for a challenge, we have a track ready for you to enjoy.

Just starting out? Give these trails a try:

Great Lake Pathway - Grade 1

Voted New Zealand's Favourite Urban Ride in 2017, an e-bike will graciously glide along Taupo's lakefront. Perfect for the whole family with great lunch, coffee, ice-cream and picnic spots along the way. The full trail is newly paved, allowing for a pleasantly smooth journey.

Tongariro River Trail - Grade 2

The Tongariro River Trail is a gentle 14km loop track suitable for families and recreational riders. Starting in Turangi, follow the world-famous trout river past rolling farmland, beech forests and fern glades with spectacular views at almost every bend. Winding between beautiful bush and farmland, and crossing swing bridges above fisherman, an e-bike can easily handle this gorgeous riverside ride.

Rotary Ride - Grade 2

Linking two of Taupo's major water features, this trail makes for a nice few hours along the Waikato River. Beginning at Spa Thermal Park, this 11km return trail to Huka Falls (or 25km return if you continue on to Aratiatia Dam) takes you through the Wairakei Tourist Park, and you will have many opportunities for some worthwhile pitstops and really take advantage of the accessibility this trail provides; you will ride alongside the river from Spa Thermal Park, then arrive at the magnificent Huka Falls, which is always a great photo-op! Continuing on you can grab a coffee or bite to eat at Kefi at the Hub Cafe, cross the road to explore Craters Mountain Bike Park, head further north Huka Honey Hive and the Huka Prawn Park, and finally end at Aratiatia Dam and Rapids (time it right and you can see the Dam Gates release!).

Waikato River Trails - up to Grade 3

Take your e-bike on an exploration of New Zealand’s largest river, the mighty Waikato River. Wind your way along a path that encompasses the magic and beauty of New Zealand native bush, exotic forest, historic landmarks, interesting rock formations and geological delights. Be inspired as you cycle through farmland, open reserves, boardwalks over wetlands, and expansive lake and river views. Sections of the Waikato River Trails are suitable for beginners and children of all ages: Karapiro, Maraetai and parts of the Whakamaru track.

Scenic tracks for intermediate riders:

The Timber Trail - Grade 3

The 85km long Timber Trail is a unique mountain bike ride across ancestral Māori lands, taking you deep into the ancient Pureora Forest Park. An e-bike makes this trail a little more approachable for beginners and is most suited to spring, summer and autumn riding. This trail showcases several beautiful species of native birds that you may not see anywhere else in New Zealand, and the bush they inhabit is stunning. Ride the historic Ellis and Burnand Tram and cross the longest suspension bridge on any cycle trail; 140 metres. If you’re a ‘peddle to the medal’ type e-bike rider, the trail can be ridden in a single day. For those looking for a paced experience, the trail can be split across two days with an overnight stop at the halfway point.

Great Lake Trails - Grade 3

Consistently rated for its rider experience and remarkable views, 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 Taupo. Let your e-bike assist you up elevated lookouts with spectacular views of the Tongariro National Park, the Kaimanawa Ranges and the Karangahape Cliffs. Then cruise down to secluded swimming beaches to cool off in the ocean-blue waters. Made up from five grade 3 sections, you can cover up to 117km and can be ridden in one epic day or as a multi-day mountain biking adventure.

Craters Mountain Bike Park - mixed grades

Craters Mountain Bike Park is a purpose-built mountain bike park located only a short 5-minute drive from Taupo town, with trails ranging from children’s entry level to technical cross country. The park features 50km of trails that run in and out of exotic pine and eucalyptus plantations, with some stunning views of Lake Taupo and the Waikato River. With tracks ranging from grades 2-5, you are able to test and build your skills on both a mountain bike and e-bike.

Tracks for experienced riders seeking a challenge:

Tree Trunk Gorge - Grade 4

About 1hour south of Taupo is Tree Trunk Gorge; a picturesque journey through Kaimanawa Forest Park, tracking along the upper Tongariro River as you pass through beech forest, streams, rivers and over two remarkable gorges. A 1km climbs starts your adventure, followed by gorgeous river fords and wooden bridges. The final section of the trail is where you'll find the challenging decent, making the climb completely worth while. If you're after a cool down but want to keep riding, then continue on to the Pillars of Hercules track, where you can view the spectacular ravine from a 40m long suspension bridge.

Te Iringa Trail - Grade 5 (not suitable for e-bike)

One of the most technical grade 5 trails in New Zealand, Te Iringa is a bucket list trail for avid mountain bikers. This trail will see you navigate steep hills, stream crossings, swing bridges, wetlands and fallen trees as you cover 38km of serene Kaimanawa Forest backcountry. Entwined with Beech Tree roots, you will 'hike-your-bike' to the top of Mt Te Iringa for what is known as one of the country's most amazing descents. Make the most of this track and stay overnight at Oamaru Hut (sleeps 12 - first-come, first-served basis).


Don’t have an e-bike? 

No worries, we have got you covered!  

If you’re craving to ride one of the epic trails in Taupo, then look on further than FourB Bike Hire. Located a five-minute drive north of the town centre, the FourB team can gear you up with everything you need for a great biking experience, and you may even be able to get a shuttle to your trail if needed. Push and e-bikes available.

If you’re looking to get out on one of the beautiful tracks near Turangi, then the Tongariro Mountain Biking team can equip you to ride the scenic trails in the area. Push and e-bikes available.

To plan for your ride, we suggest you:

  • always wear a helmet and sunscreen,
  • wear suitable closed footwear,
  • pack extra water, snacks and a small tire repair kit if you plan to go out all-day/multiple days,
  • always let someone know where you are going, if riding alone.

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Bike the bridges 

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