ESTIMATED TIME: Cycling 2 hours | Walking 3 hours
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
DESCRIPTION: This was the first section of the Great Lake Trail, built in 2008, and has just got better with age.
This fantastic track is a favorite of locals and visitors alike. If you like riding your bike off road and enjoy NZ’s native bush you will surely have a great time! The W2K is 13km over to Whakaipo Bay and there is a 9km loop that can be added on the headlands at the top.
Trail: Starting at the Kinloch Domain, follow the markers around the marina and along the waterfront and then up a gully to Boojum Dell. The trail climbs steadily up through native bush and onto the headland, providing great views across the lake and back down into Kinloch. At the junction of the Headland Loop there is a toilet and a map. The 9.5km Headland Loop can be ridden in either direction as an add-on to the W2K. This trail is is part of the Great Lake Trail, however it is narrower and more technical than the rest of the W2K section. On the Headland Loop there are no major rooty or rocky sections, just tighter corners with plenty of fast flowing descents. It’s one of those rare gems that feels like there is more descending than climbing. A masterfully built trail.
From here you continue to ride down the undulating pumice trail through native bush towards Whakaipo Bay.
There was no major importing of gravel into this track, the surface it just the way a real mountain bike track should be. Looping around some contours on the hillsides there are excellent views of the Lake and the Tongariro National Park to the south. Along the Great Lake Trail listen for native birds and wind in the bushes at one of the nice viewpoints. There are some great fast flowing sections on this part of the trail.
At the end of the track you will ride through the farmland, past paddocks of sheep and down towards Whakaipo Bay which is one of the last untouched public and farmed reserves left on the shores of Lake Taupo. This place is so rustic and raw that you will fall in love with it.
A good climb still for less experienced or less fit riders that rewards you with everything you could want from a ride; great views, fast and flowing downhills and a workout!
ACCESS POINTS: Kinloch or Whakaipo Bay, if this trail is not enough for you add-in the 10km head land loop.