One of the best things to do in Rotorua is to ride the new Whakarewarewa Forest Loop, which has recently earned New Zealand Cycle Trail Great Ride status.
The Loop is a 33km circular mountain biking trail located in Whakarewarewa Forest (aka The Redwoods) just 10 minutes (by car) from the city centre of Rotorua, making it super quick and easy to get to and fit around your other sightseeing activities.
Being mostly a Grade 2 track with a couple Grade 3 sections mixed in, the Loop is designed to be accessible for people of almost all ages, abilities and fitness levels. You don’t need to be a professional downhiller; as long as you’re a confident rider, you’ll find the variety of uphill, downhill and flat sections interesting, fun and fairly easy to navigate.
If you've got a limited timeframe, have the kids with you, or just want a little taste of this trail, several other trails intersect with the Loop, providing multiple exit points along the way. Be sure to grab a trail map from Mountain Bike Rotorua or other bike shops around town so you know which trails take you in the right direction and suit your riding abilities.
Plan your ride
The trail takes most confident riders roughly 2.5 to 5 hours, depending on their pace. You’ll also want to factor in some time to stop and take in the sights at purpose-built points along the way that reveal stunning views. They also provide a great opportunity to rest and rehydrate.
It'll take even less time to complete the Loop on an electric mountain bike and is perfectly suited for them. Just ensure your e-bike is fully charged, and off you go.
If you find you’re running low on water or energy bars, you’ll be happy to know that along the trail there are three spots to purchase food and drinks, four taps to refill water bottles, and three accessible toilet blocks.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take?
The trail should take you between 2.5 to 5 hours, or a bit less on an e-bike. These times will vary based on your pace and how often you stop.
Can I ride an e-bike on the trail?
Absolutely! Electric- and human-powered mountain bikes are both welcome. Both types of bikes are available for hire from Planet Bike and Mountain Bike Rotorua if you don't have your own. NOTE: There are currently no bike charging stations available.
Is there drinking water available along the trail?
Yes, locations for water, as well as food, are sign-posted on the main map boards.
Where can I park and start the trail?
Similar to a roundabout, there are multiple trail entry and exit points. We recommend starting at either Te Pūtake o Tawa carpark on Tarawera Road, or Waipa carpark off State Highway 5, as both hubs offer plenty of car parking. You can also find bike rental outlets and services, bike wash stations, shower and toilet blocks with accessibility features, and coffee and food vendors here.
Is the trail open year-round?
YES! Like all mountain biking and walking trails in Whakarewarewa Forest, the Loop is available to ride all year.
The forest canopy helps shelter you from cold winter winds and the hot summer sun. The volcanic soil throughout Rotorua, including the forest, benefits from great drainage, so even after a heavy rain, the trails are ride-able shortly afterwards.
It is important to note that due to being situated within a working forest, the trail may have variations from time to time if logging, planting or other work is taking place. Obey all trail signs and instructions.
BEFORE you head out, always check for trail updates, closures or detours before you ride, to avoid disappointment or surprises. Trailforks is an excellent source of the most up-to-date information on all of the forest's trails.
Will I have mobile phone coverage?
It's estimated the trail has 80-85% coverage. One area it can be patchy is around the Te Kōtukutuku/Rotokākahi trail.
Planet Bike offers freedom bike hire, mountain bike tours for first timers to expert, bike fixes, Bike Bitz'n spares, trail information & maps, as well as 'Coffee 2 go'. Planet Bike are principal sponsors of the Rotorua Mountain Bike Club.
Whakarewarewa Forest (the Redwoods) Mountain Biking
Whakarewarewa Forest, also known as the Redwoods, is a mecca for mountain bikers, with more than 180km of trails winding their way through native and exotic forest.
Mountain Bike Rotorua
Mountain Bike Rotorua is your gateway to Whakarewarewa Forest, the stunning jewel in the crown of the adventure destination that is Rotorua. Located in the forest itself, the friendly team at the MBR base has everything you need to get biking.
Explore Rotorua and experience the thrill of an electric bike. Let an e-bike do the work for you while you check out Rotorua – and help save the planet at the same time!
Our Exclusive Tours create the perfect excursion tailored to our guest, including a personal guide, complete privacy and the best we have to offer at MDA Experiences.
Whakarewarewa Forest and Redwoods Walking Trails
The Whakarewarewa Forest or Redwoods walking trails all start at the Redwoods i-SITE, where you can pick up a map before heading to explore the forest walks.
Great places to eat, drink and have fun.
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