ESTIMATED TIME: Cycling 2 – 2.5 hours | Walking 4 hours – allow longer if you want to enjoy the scenery.
Note: we have described the Great Lake Trail here as if it is being ridden in a west – east direction. It can, however, be ridden in the opposite direction.
Bike Taupo crew finished this section in April 2014 and they are happy to admit it’s their best track yet. Jonathan Kennett from NZ Cycle Trails has said that this trail is the best grade 3 NZ Cycle Trail in New Zealand!
Trail: This trail is a really fun trail to ride. While the scenery is amazing, it’s not just about taking photos. This is a challenging ride with many climbs and switch-backs but you will get to ride some of the best flowing downhills you have ever experienced as the trail allows you to free roll around sweeping corners and bends at top speed. Feel the flow! As you descend towards the lake, you will reach a unique engineering feat of bridges, platforms and boardwalks that will take you over the Kotukutuku Waterfall and out onto the beach at the beautiful and peaceful Kotukutuku Landing. Where else in the world do you get to ride down a waterfall?!
A fascinating fact is that while this trail was being built, the trail builders found that the rocks closest to the lake were a lot harder to blast than those further up. People say this is because the rocks closer to the lake were heated to a much higher temperature as they were closest to the heat source of the great Oruanui eruption of 1600AD, causing them to form into harder rocks when they cooled.
From Kotukutuku Landing, your boat transfer will arrive to take you back to Kinloch, or you can link with a TKA Western Bays overnight kayaking trip. Our kayak trips can take you into Kawakawa Bay where the water is so clear that you will just want to jump in and cool off with a swim, or simply drink it as it is – this is one of the only freshwater lakes left that you can still drink from! On our overnight tours, we can camp here at Kawakawa Bay.
You can also tailor make a tour to create your own experience. Contact us to find out more!
ACCESS POINTS: Waihaha link, Waihaha Road, ends Waihora Bay (Kotukutuku Landing), boat access only from here!