Taupo is watersports central - including trout fishing. There’s the mighty Waikato River and in the crater of an active supervolcano, beautiful Lake Taupo - NZ’s largest lake. Taupo’s extensive trail network includes Craters MTB Park: Grades 1-5, great views… Waikato River Trails: Grade 3-4, 100km!… Great Lake Trail: Grade 3, plus views of Tongariro National Park’s volcanoes… Rotary Ride: Grade 2, past the dramatic Huka Falls… And Te Iringa: Grade 5 - some of NZ’s most technical tracks!
Situated smack bang in the middle of the North Island Lake Taupo offers a huge array of outdoor activities including some of the country’s greatest riding. Recently accredited a silver ride area by the International Mountain Bike Association the tracks run through a variety of stunning landscapes including the geothermal Craters MTB Park-Wairakei Forest and alongside the spectacular Huka Falls. And after a hard day of biking a relaxing soak in one of the many hot pools is a must.
Taupo Dirt Features
Local Trail Guide - Taupo
Huka Falls (Rotary Ride)
A must-do ride if you are in Taupo, the track starts at the end of Spa Road and heads north on easy single track for 4kms to the Huka Falls. It’s well worth timing your ride to arrive when the flood gates open (every 2 hours between 10 and 4 during summer). For a longer ride you can choose to continue up the River to Lake Aratiatia, otherwise, return to Taupo the way your came, or loop back via the gentle Redwood track which runs along the other side of the River.
Spa Thermal Trail
3 minutes from Taupo’s CBD, overlooking the mighty Waikato River, is Spa Thermal Park; at the lowest point of the park is a hot water stream for soaking in and the start of the MTB track known as the “Rotary Ride” to Huka Falls.After riding through the park, join the elevated track that meanders alongside the Waikato River through native and pine trees, with glimpses of the river and the famous Huka Lodge grounds. There are a couple of fun little descents and climbs to cross bridges. The track intersects with a short downhill to Huka Falls or the continuation on to Aratiatia Dam.
Lions Walk – The Great Lake Walkway
This is a very easy ride, ideal for families. It runs right from the Taupo township south along the lakefront to Wharewaka Point. 10km return, there are plenty of photo opportunities and a great playground at Wharewaka Point.
Waihaha, 13 km, 1.5hrs
From the Waihaha River Carpark, the trail follows the river before crossing the river on a swing bridge. The trail then gently climbs onto the cliffs above, following the river to the end of Waihaha Road. The trail has great views of the River canyon and waterfall. It is surrounded by native bush and large outcrops of weathered volcanic rocks.
Orakau, 9.8 km, 1hr
From the Whangamata Road carpark, the trail follows the Orakau Stream and Harakeke (flax) wetland through regenerating native bush down to Kawakawa Bay. The trail is generally downhill with great views of Tongariro National Park.
K2K (Kawakawa TO Kinloch), 9.2 km, 1.5hrs
From Kawakawa Bay the trail climbs up through native bush to the Te Kauwae headland. The trail then descends to the lake edge with the final section on the lake front before finishing at the village of Kinloch.
W2K (Whakaipo TO Kinlock), 13km, 2hrs
Starting at the Kinloch Domain, the track follows the waterfront then climbs steadily up onto the headland. The trail then has a flowing descent through native bush to Whakaipo Bay.
Headland Trail, 9.5km, 1.5hrs
A loop trail option off W2K that follow the top of the Whangamata Bluffs out to the end of the headland. There is also a short lookout trail that offers views of Kinloch and Whangamata Bay.
The Great Lake Trail
Part of the NZ Cylce Trail network the Great Lake Trail offers 71km of all-weather mountain biking along the lake front and through native forest. The trail boasts stunning views of the lake itself and the volcanoes of Tongariro National Park. Best ridden in a west to east direction, riders can select shorter sections or take 2-3 days to ride the lot.