Great Lake Trail

The Great Lake Trail follows the stunning scenic shores of beautiful Lake Taupo, boasting the best of the Western Bays without the crowds. This truly is the perfect adventure playground. The Great Lake Trail is a track that you don’t feel like you should be allowed on – it’s so well built that it’s unbelievable!

The trail provides 71 km of all-weather pumice trail riding through native scenic terrain, with breathtaking views across Great Lake Taupo to the majestic Tongariro National Park.

Riders have the option of riding the full trail over two or three days or choosing shorter riding options to suit fitness, experience and the time available. Water taxis can ferry riders and bikes to four access points along the trail, making a variety of trips possible.

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Great Lake Trail – Waihaha

GRADE: 3  Intermediate
DISTANCE: 13km
ESTIMATED TIME: Cycling 1.5 – 2 hours | Walking 3.5 hours – allow longer if you want to enjoy the scenery

This section is accessible from the Western Bays Rd, SH32. There is amazing riding found here, rocks have been blasted, and many big bridges built to access waterfalls and the more untouched shores of the beautiful Lake Taupo! All for your riding pleasure!

Trail: From the Waihaha River Carpark, you will follow the trail down the river to a swing bridge. After you’ve crossed the river you will start climbing gently up onto the cliffs above, following the course of the river to the sign that marks the start of the Waihora trail junction. This trail has breathtaking views of the Waihaha River canyon and waterfall (a must see hidden gem of the Western Bays of Great Lake Taupo).

It is surrounded by lush native bush including Tanekaha (Celery Pine) which is endemic to this region of the North Island. You will also see large outcrops of ancient volcanic rocks along the trail.

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Great Lake Trail – Waihora

GRADE: 3  Intermediate
DISTANCE: 17km
ESTIMATED TIME: Cycling 2 – 2.5 hours | Walking 4 hours – allow longer if you want to enjoy the scenery.

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?!

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bike tour

Great Lake Trail – Orakua

GRADE: 3  Intermediate
DISTANCE: 9.8km
ESTIMATED TIME: Cycling 1 hour | Walking 3 hours

This section begins from the Whangamata Road car park, the trail follows the Orakau Stream and ) wetland, through regenerating native bush down to Kawakawa Bay on the edge of Lake Taupō. Known in the region as Chinaman’s after Chinaman’s Creek, this was geographically incorrect but this name has stuck with local riders, which can cause confusion as to where you are going to ride. A great place to see a restoration project in place, as Bike Taupo, Greening Taupo and DOC work on the Wetland and Native Bush in this area.

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