New Zealand's newest Great Ride
One of the best things to do in Rotorua is to ride the new Whakarewarewa Forest Loop.
The Loop is a 33km circular, mostly one-way (clockwise) mountain biking trail located in Whakarewarewa Forest (aka The Redwoods) just 10 minutes (by car) from the city centre, 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 almost all ages, abilities and fitness levels, as long as you’re a confident rider.
The trail has been receiving rave reviews. Riders love 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 small taste of the trail, a few other trails intersect with the Loop, providing exit points along the way. We suggest grabbing a trail map from one of our three Rotorua isite Visitor Information Centres, including the newest one at the Waipa mountain bike hub.
Plan your ride
The trail should take you between three to five hours, depending on your 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.
If you're an experienced e-mountain biker, it may take less time to complete the Loop on an electric mountain bike and the trail is perfectly suited for them. However, if you're new to e-mountain biking, you're not likely to complete the trail faster, just perhaps a bit less fatigued. Don't forget to ensure your e-bike is fully charged.
If you find you’re running low on water or energy bars, you’ll be happy to know that along the trail there are a three spots to purchase food and drinks, however hours vary so we encourage you to pack some along. There are also four taps to refill water bottles, and three accessible toilet blocks.
We recommend having a fully charged mobile phone with you, in case you run into an issue. There's coverage throughout the majority of the forest, with the exception of a couple small sections around Lake Tikitapu.
Thanks to funding by Rotorua Mountain Bike Club, an emergency first response unit (FRU) is provided by Peak Safety Ltd. 365 days a year. The service is free to all members of the public using the forest. Phone 0800 WHAKA 1 (0800 942 521) first if a medic is needed. If needed, please call 111 emergency services as well.
Enjoy the Loop?
Tell us what you think about your ride on Whakarewarewa Forest Loop and go in a monthly prize draw to win the new Bikepacking Aotearoa book by The Kennett Brothers!
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take?
The trail should take you between 3 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, Mountain Bike Rotorua and Electric Bike Rotorua and Cyclezone, if you don't have your own.
NOTE: There are currently no bike charging stations available along the trail.
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?
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.
*Days and hours vary.
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 the forest benefits from great drainage, so even after a heavy rain, the trails are rideable shortly afterwards.
It's 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?
Roughly 80-85% of the trail has mobile phone coverage. One area that can be patchy is around Feeder track/Tangaroamihi and Tikitapu area trail.
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