Headland Loop - Great Lake Trails

The Headland Loop starts and finishes on the W2K trail at the top of the headland between Kinloch and Whakaipo Bay. This extension of the W2K is a must do if you love flowing singletrack.

Great Lake Trails map

Overview

The 9.5km trail can be ridden in either direction and the jury’s out on which way is best! The trail follows along the top of the Whangamata Bluffs all the way out to the end of the headland, then back around the other side to the point at which you started.

There are stunning views to be had from this winding single track trail out towards the Kaimanawa Ranges, the Karangahape Cliffs and Tongariro National Park to the south. There is also a short lookout trail off this loop that offers views of Kinloch and Whangamata Bay.

Riding the trail

At the Kinloch Domain you will find a shelter with a map and bike washdown area. Start riding the W2K section of the Great Lake Trails from here. Follow the markers around the marina, along the lakefront and then up a gully to Boojum Dell.

The W2K trail heads up the hill from here, climbing steadily up through native bush and onto the headland, providing spectacular views across Lake Taupō to the mountains of Tongariro National Park as well as back down to Kinloch. 

Headland Loop

From this point at the top of the headland, there is the optional Headland Loop, a 9.5 km trail that follows the top of the Whangamata Bluffs out to the end of the headland then back around the other side to the point at which you started. There are more stunning views to be had from this trail out towards the Kaimanawa Ranges, the Karangahape Cliffs and Tongariro National Park to the south. There is also a short lookout trail off this loop that offers views of Kinloch and Whangamata Bay.

From the Headland Loop junction, head down the long, flowing descent through the bush to Whakaipo Bay - or you can choose to return the same way you came, back into Kinloch. Many locals also choose to ride up and back from Whakaipo Bay.

Car parking is available at both ends of the trail, or you can arrange for a shuttle to pick you up if you don’t want to ride the return trip.

Getting there

From Taupō, drive 21 km to the Kinloch Domain in Kinloch village (next door to the Kinloch Store and Tipsy Trout Café). You can leave your car here. The W2K trail starts at the eastern end of the village and is a short ride from the carpark. Make sure you arrange for your shuttle pick up at the other side of the trail to return you to Kinloch if you riding one way.

If you are riding the trail from west to east, you can leave your car at Whakaipo Bay and arrange for a shuttle from Kinloch to return you to your vehicle.

Distance 9.5km (Headland Loop), but you need to ride 6km of the W2K section of the Great Lake Trails in order to get there and back (from either Kinloch or Whakaipo Bay)
Time 1 hour cycling | 3 hours walking
Physical rating Intermediate
Access, transport & guides Park your vehicle in Kinloch or Whakaipo Bay and arrange for your shuttle or water taxi to pick you up at the end of the track. Alternatively you can ride back the way you came.
Dog access Yes, dogs allowed
Trails nearby Kawakawa section and Waihaha section of the Great Lake Trails.

Physical address: