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From beginner bikers to trailblazers, no one gets left behind here. Because whether you’re slow and steady or fast (and a little bit of a daredevil), you’ll find all grades of tracks around our beautiful great lake.
If anyone tries to pull the ‘oh I don’t have a bike so I can’t come’ excuse, let them know there are plenty of places to hire bikes in town with a solid stock of rentals - from hardtails to full suspension and electric mountain bikes. And if you have people in your group who are lacking ‘ride fitness’, an e-bike is a great equaliser that ensures everyone keeps up.
So when you arrive on Thursday arvo, head straight to pick up, and don’t forget to have a friendly yarn with a local biking enthusiast who can answer any questions you may have.
You’ll find a number of accommodation providers who cater to those with their two wheels in tow. The Top 10 Holiday Park Taupō has its own dedicated bike maintenance bay for cleaning and servicing your bikes so they are all ready for their next adventure. Here you can choose from a motel room, cabin, self-contained unit or even bring the tent.
Wairakei Resort is another choice place to stay as it’s right on the doorstep of many mountain bike trails and their heated pool is ideal for soothing aching muscles at the end of the day.
Looking for a big feed before tomorrow’s ride? Check out Jimmy Coops on the lakefront. We recommend grabbing a local brew and beef burger combo that’s perfect for carb-loading.
Places of interest
Wairakei Resort Taupo
Taupo TOP 10 Holiday Park
Jimmy Coops Lakehouse
Depending on everyone’s preference, you might want to ease yourself into the first day of riding. And Craters Mountain Bike Park is ideal for this, with trails ranging from entry-level to technical cross-country and downhill. You could ride as a group, or split off to different trails, meeting back at the carpark to trade stories of thrills and spills.
Note: If you are going to ride Craters MTB Park, you need to purchase a visitor pass.
If you prefer your trails super scenic, check out the River Side Trail and Rotary Ride - at around 8 kms in length. It takes you from town, along the Waikato River and to Huka Falls. From here, you can cross over to the Cafe Track that leads you up to Kefi at The Hub, where you can refuel with some lunch. On your way back into town, you could stop for a cheeky swim at Otumuheke Stream, a natural hot spot along the river.
When the dinner bell rings, it’s highly recommended that you set yourselves up lakeside at the Two Mile Bay Sailing Club. Their woodfired pizzas are incredible, and so is the location - it’s the best place to watch the sunset and reflect on an awesome day of riding.
Places of interest
Craters Mountain Bike Park
Two Mile Bay Sailing Club
River Side Trail
After yesterday’s warm-up, there’s a few options for today’s plan of attack. The W2K Trail takes you around the peninsula from Whakaipo Bay to Kinloch. The loop is a grade 3, intermediate trail that’s 13 km in length - so it definitely requires quite a bit more effort and energy, but is well worth it. For those really keen, you’ll also find an extra Headland Loop Trail at the top, which adds another 9.5 kms to the ride.
The Waihaha Section is the most remote section of the Ngā Haerenga Great Rides of New Zealand's Great Lake Trails and is packed full of spectacular views, flowing corners and fun downhills. At 30 kms long, it requires an early start and a good chunk of the day, but the thrill of finishing this one is pretty awesome.
But if you’re after something truly spectacular, how about the Kaimanawa Descent? It’s a 22 km downhill mountain biking trail that’s designed for intermediate to advanced-level riders (grade 3). A helicopter drops you to Patutu Tops, and from here, you descend through Kaimanawa alpine tussock country, with the second half of the downhill twisting and turning through native mountain beech forest.
There’s a number of shuttle and water taxi options available for most trails. They can either pick up your group up from the end of your ride and take you back to your car, or you could go one better and have a door-to-door service from your accommodation - then there’s no arguing about who’s driving and who calls shotgun for the front seat.
After a big couple of days, you’ll probably be keen for a shower and an early dinner. Finn’s Gastro Pub is a local fave for tasty pub grub, at Pauly's Diner you can order a mouth-watering burger to go, or at the Crafty Trout, you’ll find a unique eatery experience with a brewery onsite.
Places of interest
Crafty Trout Brewery
Waihaha Section - Great Lake Trails
K2K Trail - Great Lake Trails
Finn's Gastro Pub & Beer Garden
W2K Trail -Great Lake Trails
The bod might be a bit sore today, but the good news is that Taupō has your pick of hot pools to enjoy. The natural mineral pools at Taupō DeBretts are just what the legs ordered, with private pools at temperatures ranging from 38 to 41 degrees celsius.
If your social media game is strong, Wairakei Terraces might be the ticket to get that perfect shot for the gram. Set in amongst picturesque bush, here you can soak and soothe tired muscles while sharing a few more laughs before the road trip home.
And don’t forget to grab a pic in front of the big bicycle at the top of the hill on Wairakei - it’ll make for a fitting memento from your mate’s weekend away.
Then it’s time to start planning the next trip.
Places of interest
Wairakei Terraces & Thermal Health Spa
Taupo DeBretts Hot Springs
The Taupō region has some of the best walking and cycling trails in New Zealand, from family-friendly lakeside cruising to journeys deep into ancient native forests.