2. Taupo Trails

Taupo trails offer diverse downhills, switchbacks, cambered berms and cross-country trails in the center of the North Island. The variety doesn’t even remotely stop there. In this area of New Zealand MTB trails, you’ll also find mountain bike parks, BMX jumps and true singletrack. Taupo mountain biking trails feature three main sections of tracks: the Great Lake Trails, Huka trails and Wairakei Forest. Not far from the city of Taupo, you can also head to skills parks, such as Taupo BMX, featuring dirt tracks and a pump track. 

You get to hone your skills on the unpredictable volcanic terrain with yawning ravines and bizarre rock formations everywhere. As you plummet downhill, it’s clear these trails were built by mountain bikers for mountain bikers. Taupo features flowing tracks snaking through native forest, past secluded beaches perfect for cooling off, and plummeting gorges with views of snow-dusted volcanic peaks. The shores of Taupo deliver a truly epic mountain biking adventure.

Where I recommend for epic mountain bike trails in Taupo 

While the IMBA awarded Taupo with Silver-Level IMBA Ride Centers, these scenic rides take the prize when it comes to must-ride intermediate trails. Hands down the 50-kilometer Great Lake Trail is a true winner. You traverse native bush surrounding Lake Taupo, the same body of water formed after one of the largest known volcanic eruptions in all of Earth’s history. You’re riding the rim of a literal supervolcano past native forests, waterfalls and views of the mountains of the Tongariro National Park. As a bonus, you’ll also navigate some of the most remote areas of the lake. 

Head to Great Lake Trail for a remote mountain biking

The Great Lake trails consists of the beginner-friendly Waihaha and Waihora Link (30km), Orakau section (9.7km) and the W2K section (13km), as well as other tracks that you can add a loop to prolong your Taupo adventure. The big finale is reaching the Kotukutuku Landing through a series of boardwalks and bridges. If you want the perfect mix of adventure and leisure, you can bike to one of the many water taxi or shuttle stations, and soak up the sun on your way to your next destination. 

Once you get to Taupo, you won’t want to leave, and you don’t have to! The area offers plenty of camping and glamping options. Be sure to book ahead of time, as many nature lovers frequent Taupo. 

About the author


Matt Kirke

Kiwi, mountain biker and owner of Wanaka Bike Tours and JustMTB

Matt is a born and raised Kiwi. He started riding practically after taking his first steps, being exposed to the outdoors and mountains. Today, owns Wanaka Bike Tours dealing with all things MTB — from guided tours, bike hires and shuttle drop-offs. Matt is also the co-owner of JustMTB.

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