Bay of Plenty and East Cape
One of NZ’s sunniest regions, with beaches galore. Whakatane sits in the spectacular Eastern Bay of Plenty of New Zealand, right beside the Pacific Ocean. The region has plenty of mountain biking on offer. Whakatane itself provides some great family rides and even better trail riding for intermediate to advanced riders. Heading south down the coast you’ll find Opotiki and the start of the simply epic Motu Trails.
Bay of Plenty and East Cape Dirt Features
Local Trails - WhakataneRawhiti Forest Mountain Bike Area
Riding Rawhiti Forest is a bit like stepping back to mountain biking as it was 20 years ago. It’s steep country, rising from sea level to over 300m, and while the bike trails and 4WD access roads are well formed, they’re seldom immaculately groomed. In other words, it’s good, hard, and honest riding.
Rawhiti is predominantly pine forest and it has free draining pumice soils, so there’s good riding all year. A trip to the transmitter tower is recommended. This is the highpoint of the area, and through the pine trees you get great glimpses of Ohiwa harbour.
Rawhiti’s access gate is off Burma Road, 3km east of Ohope on Wainui Road (the main road to Opotiki). Rawhiti is private land, so it’s essential you either join the Whakatane Mountain Bike Club, or get a two week access permit.
Dune Trail: Motu Road Trail
The Motu Road Trail is part of the Muto Trials loop ride. It can also be ridden as a return ride from Omarumutu through to Matawai. Total distance is 67kms, climbing from sea level to 750m. The road also links with the Pakihi Track at 34 kms into the ride. This is a popular vehicle drop for those riding the Pakihi Track through to Opotiki. Motu is 45km from the Coast and Matawai 67kms. Rere Falls Trail links back to State Highway 2.
Pakihi Track is the pick of the mountain biking on the Motu Trails, it’s long, downhill and a single ‘technical’ track. The start is well sign posted. Suitable for advanced riders and 44 kms long.
‘ For experienced riders, the Pakihi is a sensational track. Actually, it’s not really that difficult, being mostly gentle downhill and well formed. The ‘advanced’ grading reflects the fact there are some steep drop-offs to the side of the track. Care is required! ‘ from Jim Robinson.
Onepu Recreation Park
‘Family friendly fun’ is what you’ll get at Onepu Recreation Park. The terrain is rolling and the grade 2 tracks are all well bedded in, so children or recreational riders will have a great time. Plus there’s the buzz of ‘The Sandpit’, with BMX-style jumps to keep the whole tribe happy.
Onepu has plenty of choice, with single-track trails totalling close to 15km. Highlights include ‘Pai’s Pathway’, which rises to the top of the ridge; and ‘Oh Mai-Mai’, that zig zags down to Lake Tamurenui (please note, this one is closed for May/June duck shooting).
Once you’ve finished biking, enjoy a walk around the Onepu Wetlands, beautifully framed with boardwalks. The Recreation Park initiative is led by the Onepu Park Care Group. Access to the land is thanks to owners Norske Skog Tasman.
The front gate is on the state highway by the Braemar Road intersection, with extra parking on Braemar Road.
Whirinaki Forest Track
The Whirinaki Forest Mountain Bike Track is a short and exciting single track ride through some of the most spectacular podocarp forests in the world. The track suits intermediate riders and starts at Old Fort Road car park. 16kms.
Moerangi Track, Whirinaki Forest
Touted as one of the best rides in NZ, the Moerangi is located in the heart of the Urewera Ranges and navigates 35km of ancient native forest. Although it’s not technically difficult, any single track connoisseur will be smiling at the end. In saying that, it’s not to be taken lightly as the area is subject to changeable weather and there are exposed edges and grunty climbs to keep you honest. The first of which rewards you with spectacular views and an epic 6km fast and flowing downhill if ridden from the Okuhu Road Carpark end. Once you reach the River Road Carpark there’s a 14km gravel-road ride to your vehicle if you haven’t arranged a shuttle.
The total track length is 38kms and will take a full day to complete for the average rider. For maps visit the Murupara DOC Visitor Centre. Jailbreak Shuttles can assist with transfers.
Local Trails - TaurangaSummerhill Mountain Bike Trails
Summerhill Recreation Farm is privately owned land that is open to the public for mountain biking. Most of trails are for mountain bikers although a few are shared with walkers. All up there is approximately 20km of mainly grade 3 trails that are maintained by the local mountain bike club, Mountain Bike Tauranga. The tracks go through a mixture of native forest and farm land. There’s also a purpose-built skills area with dirt jumps and structures. Access to the trails is up Reid Rd, off Welcome Bay Rd. A gold coin entry fee contributes to on-going maintenance and development. There are fantastic views looking over Tauranga and the Bay of Plenty coastline from the parking area.
Oropi Mountain Bike Trails
The Oropi mountain bike trails can be found 3km up Oropi Road. The trails start from the Tauranga City Council water treatment plant and are on council land. There is approximately an 8-10km grade 3 loop that can be explored. Off this loop there are a variety of grade 4/5 downhill trails plus a few dirt jumps. These trails are maintained by Mountain Bike Tauranga and over the last year they have done a great job of upgrading the trails and putting in good signage.
Urban Mountain Bike Trails
Tauranga has a great network of off road trails. Lots of the local parks and reserves can be linked up through these trails resulting in some great off road rides that are suitable for all ages and abilities. These trails are dual use so remember to ‘share with care’. These rides can be as short as 6km but if you link them all up you can easily do a 70km loop. Unfortunately they aren’t all well sign posted.