The Whakarewarewa Forest has one of the oldest mountain bike networks in the country. These master crafted trails are an unbeatable blend of riding surfaces, topography and scenery. With around 90km of continually evolving trails, there is something to cater for all levels of rider, from beginners and family groups through to experts looking for extreme action.
The trails weave their way through lush native ferns beneath soaring forest canopies of Redwood, Radiata, Douglas Fir, Eucalyptus and Larch. Riders are often afforded glimpses of Rotorua’s beautiful lakes, geothermal activity and brooding Mt. Tarawera. It is no wonder Rotorua is renowned among mountain bikers as the location for a huge range of premier mountain biking events such as the 2006 World Mountain Bike & Trails Champs, the Single Speed Nationals in 2008 and the annual 12 and 24 hours Cateye Moonride, Xterra and N-Duro Winter MTB Series to name but a few.
Beginners & Families
For beginners and family groups the “Core” tracks are easily accessible from the main car park on Waipa State Mill Road which means very little road riding to enter the beginners’ tracks within the network.
Entry from the Redwoods means a bit more road riding to get to the beginners tracks but you will get great information from The Redwoods Gift Shop & Visitor Centre and can grab a map and refreshments or snacks while you are there!
Where ever you enter, when into the network the wide sweeping beginners’ tracks with gentle climbs and descents are fantastic fun. With the mix of track grades in this area it is easy to move onto more challenging tracks as your confidence and ability increases.
You can start in the “Core” network and ride a great variety of intermediate level tracks. Awesome if you want a really good ride but don’t have too much time.
Or if you are quite fit and love exploring you can head further out into the forest and try some of the “Outback” tracks. But remember to be prepared as it is a bit more of a hike back if you get a flatty!
For more experienced riders the tracks are almost endless! Cross country or downhill, Rotorua’s impressive mountain biking options mean enthusiasts can easily fill an hour, a day or an entire weekend in ‘mountain biking heaven’ while in Rotorua.
If you have limited time there are a few really challenging tracks within the “Core” network and you can enjoy the easier tracks at speed. Heading “outback” is probably for you though. The map suggests riding loops for the “Outback” tracks. Much of this riding requires at least a couple of hours and some good sound technical skills and fitness. A track map is a must to make the most of riding in this area. You’ll need a map anyway to plan your next ride as coming once will just not be enough!
There are a couple of options….
The Manky is a cool new fabric forest map or …map on a hanky! Made of micro-fibre the Manky is durable, legible when wet, can be washed and dried, is absorbent, anti-bacterial, eco-friendly and totally re-usable. And you don't need an origami degree to fold it. It can be stuffed in your bag or pocket or tied around your bike's handle bars. And at the end of its life as a map you can use it to clean your sunnies!
The Manky is just right for those who want something easy to carry and who need a convenient navigation tool. It's got mountain biking information on one side and walking info on the other. Regular retail price is $13.50.
Also available is the Redwoods, Whakarewarewa Forest Recreation Guide. The Guide is fantastic for people who want comprehensive information about the forest. It includes walking, horse trekking and loads of mountain biking information! The Mountain biking pages divide the forest into several riding areas. This should help you identify where is most suitable for you to ride dependant on general terrain, skill and fitness levels required. Each riding area has enlarged forest map sections, track descriptions and bike track profiles.
The Guide is also perfect for visitors who want something to take away with them with lots of information about where they went in the forest and what they saw on the way. Regular retail price is $6.50.
if you need a Manky or a Recreation Guide - or both - they're available now at The Redwoods Gift Shop & Visitor Centre. Contact them to arrange delivery click here.
Remember riding in the forest is free so by purchasing this Guide you are supporting maintenance of the tracks and facilities in the forest, including a grant to the Rotorua Mountain Bike Club for seasonal maintenance.
If you'd like to purchase a map to plan your trip to the forest please click here.
To view a track map and list of all the mountain bike tracks click here.
Bike Hire & Servicing
Mountain Bike Rotorua are the on site mountain biking gurus. They are based at the Waipa Mountain Bike carpark everyday and have lots of options to help you experience the best mountain biking in NZ, including bike hire for 2 hours, half day, full day, or multi-day adventures. They also have guided tour and adventure day (bike/raft/kayak/hot pool) options and bike mechanical support available onsite, plus a few extra goodies too.
They have a satellite site operating during the Summer and school holidays just outside the Redwoods Gift Shop & Visitor Centre on Long Mile Road.
So there are lots of riding options! For more information and prices click here.
Southstar Shuttle provide a shuttle service in the forest to increase the gravity fun factor by dropping you at the top of the downhill tracks. For details on when they operate and for prices click here. You can also buy your shuttle passes from Mountain Bike Rotorua.
Track maintenance and other info
The Rotorua Mountain Bike Club is proud to be involved with development and maintenance of much of the network tracks. To become involved or for more information click here.
For general information about biking in Rotorua and some interesting news and discussion check out the RideRotorua website by clicking here.
Last Updated : Dec 2, 2013
Contacting the Redwoods
If you would like to find out more about The Redwoods or Rotorua and what it has to offer please click here.