Explore the Best Cycling Routes in Lake Taupo (NZ)

Best Cycling Routes in Lake Taupo
Table of Contents

Lake Taupo in New Zealand offers a variety of cycling routes for all levels of ability and adventure. Whether you’re a seasoned mountain biker or looking for a leisurely ride, there’s something for everyone in this stunning destination. From thrilling trails through native bush to winding singletrack along the shores of New Zealand’s largest lake, Lake Taupo has it all.

Taupo town serves as the gateway to this cycling paradise, providing convenient services for cyclists. You can easily hire bikes, arrange shuttle services, and find affordable accommodation options to suit your needs. With everything you need at your fingertips, Taupo town is the perfect base for your cycling adventures.

Key Takeaways:

  • Lake Taupo offers diverse cycling routes for riders of all levels
  • Taupo town provides bike hire, shuttles, and affordable accommodation for cyclists
  • The Great Lake Trail offers stunning views of Lake Taupo and Tongariro National Park
  • Craters MTB Park provides thrilling technical trails for mountain bikers
  • The Tongariro River Trail takes you through native bush with scenic views of the Tongariro River

Taupo Town: Your Gateway to Cycling Paradise

Taupo town provides bike hire, shuttles, and affordable accommodation for cyclists, making it the perfect gateway to your cycling adventure in Lake Taupo. Whether you’re a beginner looking to explore scenic trails or a seasoned rider seeking thrilling mountain biking experiences, Taupo has everything you need to make your cycling trip unforgettable.

Bike Hire

Don’t have your own bike? No problem! Taupo offers a range of bike hire options to suit every rider’s needs. From performance mountain bikes to comfortable cruiser bikes, you can easily rent the perfect bike for your cycling exploration in Lake Taupo. The friendly staff at the bike hire shops will ensure you have a properly fitted bike and provide helpful advice on the best routes to take.


Looking to explore multiple cycling routes without the hassle of logistics? Taupo’s shuttle services have got you covered. With convenient pick-up and drop-off locations, these shuttles will transport you and your bike to different trailheads, allowing you to focus on the adventure ahead. Whether you want to tackle the Great Lake Trail or discover the rugged beauty of the 42 Traverse, the shuttle services in Taupo make it easy to access the region’s top cycling routes.

Affordable Accommodation

After an exhilarating day on the trails, you’ll need a comfortable and affordable place to rest and recharge. Taupo offers a wide range of accommodation options to suit any budget, from cozy backpacker hostels to lakeside resorts. Whether you prefer a private room or a shared dormitory, you’ll find plenty of affordable accommodation options that cater specifically to cyclists. Plus, many accommodations offer secure bike storage and washing facilities, ensuring your bike is well taken care of during your stay.

Trail Distance Difficulty Highlights
Great Lake Trail 71km (44 miles) Moderate Stunning lake views, Tongariro National Park
Craters MTB Park Various Varies Technical trails, purpose-built park for mountain bikers
Tongariro River Trail 15km (9 miles) Easy Native bush, views of Tongariro River
Timber Trail Up to 80km (50 miles) Moderate to Difficult Historic adventure, native bush, suspension bridge
Te Iringa 38km (24 miles) Difficult Technical riding, Kaimanawa Forest Park

Great Lake Trail: Cycling with Stunning Lake Views

The Great Lake Trail is a 71km (44 miles) trail that offers stunning views of Lake Taupo and Tongariro National Park. This popular cycling route showcases the natural beauty of the area, with breathtaking vistas of the turquoise lake and snow-capped mountains. Whether you’re a novice cyclist or an experienced rider, this trail caters to all levels of ability and provides an unforgettable adventure in the heart of New Zealand’s majestic landscapes.

As you cycle along the Great Lake Trail, you’ll be immersed in the beauty of Lake Taupo, Zealand’s largest lake, and the surrounding Tongariro National Park. The trail winds its way through native bush, beech forests, and picturesque bays, offering a variety of terrains and stunning scenery at every turn. You’ll have the opportunity to explore the Kawakawa section, with its flowing singletrack and exciting rides, as well as enjoy the tranquility of Whakaipo Bay and the thrill of riding through the native bush near Huka Falls.

For those seeking an extended cycling adventure, the Great Lake Trail can be completed over multiple days, with plenty of accommodation options along the way. Whether you choose to camp under the stars, stay in a cozy cabin, or relax in a lakeside lodge, you’ll be able to rest and rejuvenate before continuing your journey. The trail is well-marked and maintained, ensuring a seamless and enjoyable experience for all riders.

Great Lake Trail Highlights:

Trail Distance Highlights
Kawakawa section 19km (12 miles) Winding singletrack through native bush
W2K section 30.5km (19 miles) Scenic bays, picturesque beech forests
Waihaha section 30.5km (19 miles) Stunning views of Lake Taupo, remote and peaceful

With its diverse landscapes and stunning views, the Great Lake Trail is a must-visit destination for cyclists of all levels. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, an adventure seeker, or simply looking for a fun and memorable bike ride, this trail has something to offer. So grab your bike, explore the best cycling routes in Lake Taupo, and embark on an exciting journey through New Zealand’s picturesque landscapes.

Craters MTB Park: Thrilling Trails for Mountain Bikers

Mountain bikers can enjoy technical trails and trails for all abilities in Craters MTB Park. Located in the heart of Lake Taupo, New Zealand’s largest lake, this purpose-built park offers an exciting adventure for riders of all levels. Whether you’re a beginner looking to improve your skills or an experienced rider seeking an adrenaline rush, Craters MTB Park has something for everyone.

With over 50 kilometers (31 miles) of winding singletrack and a variety of trail grades, Craters MTB Park provides an exhilarating mountain biking experience. From flowing cross-country trails to challenging downhill descents, riders can explore the park’s diverse terrain, including native bush, beech forests, and farmland.

A Bike Taupo membership is required to access Craters MTB Park, ensuring a well-maintained and sustainable riding environment for all. The park also offers bike hire services, making it convenient for visitors to enjoy the trails without bringing their own bikes. So grab your gear, hop on a bike, and get ready to experience the thrill of mountain biking in Craters MTB Park.

Trails at Craters MTB Park

Trail Difficulty Distance Highlights
Kawakawa section Easy 4km (2.5 miles) Scenic trail through native bush
Rotary Ride Intermediate 20km (12.4 miles) Ride through native forests, waterfalls, and the Aratiatia Dam
Peak Flow Advanced 6km (3.7 miles) Technical trail with challenging features

When exploring Craters MTB Park, be sure to check the trail map and follow any rules or guidelines to ensure a safe and enjoyable ride. With its breathtaking views, thrilling trails, and variety of options for riders of all abilities, Craters MTB Park is a must-visit destination for mountain biking enthusiasts visiting Lake Taupo.

Tongariro River Trail: Nature’s Beauty on Two Wheels

The Tongariro River Trail is a 15km (9 miles) grade two-loop track that takes you through native bush and offers breathtaking views of the Tongariro River. Starting in Turangi, this scenic trail is perfect for both leisurely rides and nature enthusiasts looking to explore New Zealand’s stunning landscapes.

As you pedal through the native bush, you’ll be surrounded by the sights and sounds of nature, providing a serene and rejuvenating experience. The trail is well-maintained and offers a smooth ride, making it suitable for riders of all levels. Keep your eyes open for the diverse flora and fauna that call this area home, as well as the occasional glimpse of native birds soaring above.

Along the trail, you’ll pass by vibrant green forests, flowing rivers, and charming picnic spots where you can take a break and soak in the beauty of the surroundings. The Tongariro River itself is a sight to behold, with its crystal-clear waters winding through the landscape.

Whether you’re an avid cyclist or simply looking for a peaceful and scenic adventure, the Tongariro River Trail is not to be missed. Take your time, enjoy the journey, and immerse yourself in the natural wonders that await you on this unforgettable cycling experience.

Trail Length Difficulty Starting Point
15km (9 miles) Grade two Turangi

Timber Trail: A Historic Adventure Through New Zealand’s Wilderness

The Timber Trail takes you through native bush, along tram lines, and over a suspension bridge on a historic adventure. This thrilling trail is perfect for those seeking an overnight mission, with a length of up to 80km (50 miles).

As you cycle through the dense native bush, you’ll be surrounded by the beauty of New Zealand’s wilderness. The trail follows the old logging tramways, providing a unique glimpse into the country’s timber industry history. You’ll have the opportunity to cross an iconic suspension bridge, adding an element of excitement to your journey.

Table 1: Highlights of the Timber Trail

Trail Highlights Information
Length Up to 80km (50 miles)
Difficulty Moderate to challenging
Trail Type Point-to-point
Start/End Location Pureora Forest Park to Ongarue
Scenic Views Native bush, rivers, and suspension bridge
Recommended Duration 2-3 days (overnight accommodation available)

This trail is suitable for intermediate to advanced riders, with graded ascents and descents throughout. It is highly recommended to be well-prepared for the journey, as some sections can be challenging.

The Timber Trail offers a truly unique mountain biking experience, combining New Zealand’s natural beauty with its rich history. Whether you choose to tackle the entire trail in one go or take your time and enjoy the stunning scenery, this adventure is sure to leave you with lasting memories.

Te Iringa: A Technical Challenge in Kaimanawa Forest Park

Te Iringa is a grade five-track known for its technical riding and is 38km (24 miles) long, starting in Kaimanawa Forest Park. This challenging trail attracts experienced mountain bikers seeking an exhilarating adventure amidst the stunning landscapes of Lake Taupo. It offers a mix of relentless climbs, adrenaline-pumping descents, and technical features that will test your skills to the limit.

As you navigate through the rugged terrain of Kaimanawa Forest Park, you’ll encounter steep ascents, steep descents, and exposed sections, making it a true rollercoaster ride for thrill-seekers. The trail is renowned for its technical riding, with tight switchbacks, rocky sections, and narrow tracks that demand precise bike handling and concentration.

Along the way, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and native forests, immersing yourself in the natural beauty that Lake Taupo has to offer. The trail’s remote location adds to its allure, providing a sense of solitude and tranquility as you pedal through the wilderness.

Key Features of Te Iringa:

Distance Grade Duration Start
38km (24 miles) Grade 5 Full day Kaimanawa Forest Park
  • Challenging grade five-track
  • Technical riding with tight switchbacks and rocky sections
  • Breathtaking views of mountains and native forests
  • Remote and secluded, offering a sense of adventure

Te Iringa is a trail that demands respect and careful preparation. Make sure to equip yourself with a suitable mountain bike, protective gear, and carry plenty of water and snacks for the journey. It is recommended for experienced riders who enjoy tackling technical challenges and want to push their limits while surrounded by the awe-inspiring landscapes of Lake Taupo.

42 Traverse: Rugged Adventure on the North Island

The 42 Traverse is a rugged and unmaintained 4WD track that is one of the most popular on the North Island, spanning 50km (31 miles). This thrilling trail promises an exciting adventure for experienced riders seeking an off-road challenge. With its rugged terrain and wild beauty, the 42 Traverse offers a unique and immersive experience in New Zealand’s stunning landscapes.

Known for its technical sections and diverse landscapes, the 42 Traverse takes riders through native bush, river crossings, and steep ascents and descents. The track offers a variety of challenges, demanding good bike handling skills and endurance. It is a true test of skill and determination.

It’s recommended to tackle the 42 Traverse in dry weather conditions, as the track can become muddy and slippery during wet periods. Despite its rough nature, the trail provides breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and forests, making it a memorable and rewarding experience for those who dare to take on its rugged terrain.

Trail Name Distance Difficulty Highlights
42 Traverse 50km (31 miles) Rugged Native bush, technical sections, scenic views

The 42 Traverse is not for the faint of heart, but for those who crave an adrenaline-pumping adventure, it is a must-ride trail. Remember to come prepared with a suitable bike, protective gear, and plenty of water and snacks. So, gear up, tighten your helmet, and get ready to conquer the rugged beauty of the 42 Traverse.

Waikato River Trails: Cycling Along New Zealand’s Longest River

The Waikato River Trails offer an extended riding adventure with up to 100km (62 miles) of cycling along New Zealand’s longest river. This scenic trail system takes cyclists through a diverse range of landscapes, providing beautiful views of the river and surrounding countryside. With well-maintained trails and facilities along the way, it’s the perfect option for riders looking to immerse themselves in nature and enjoy a long-distance cycling experience.

Facilities and Scenery

Throughout the Waikato River Trails, cyclists will find a variety of facilities to enhance their riding experience. There are picnic areas, restrooms, and camping spots available at strategic locations, allowing riders to take a break and soak in the stunning surroundings. The trail also features several viewpoints and lookout spots, offering picturesque views of the river, native bush, and rolling hills.

As you cycle along the Waikato River, you’ll pass through farmland, native forests, and wetlands, experiencing the region’s unique natural beauty. The trail is well-signposted and maintained, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable ride for cyclists of all levels. Whether you’re seeking a leisurely day trip or a multi-day adventure, the Waikato River Trails have something to offer.

Trail Sections and Highlights

The Waikato River Trails are divided into several sections, allowing riders to choose their preferred distance and difficulty level. Here are some of the highlights along the trail:

Trail Section Distance Highlights
Arapuni Swing Bridge to Jones’ Landing 16km (9.9 miles) Cross the iconic Arapuni Swing Bridge and explore the lakeside trails.
Whakamaru Dam to Mangakino 12km (7.5 miles) Ride through native forests and enjoy views of Lake Whakamaru.
Waipapa Dam to Pokaiwhenua Bridge 11km (6.8 miles) Experience the rugged beauty of the Waipapa Dam and its surroundings.

These are just a few examples of the trail sections available on the Waikato River Trails. Each section offers its own unique scenery and points of interest, ensuring a memorable cycling adventure along New Zealand’s longest river.

Conclusion: Lake Taupo, a Mountain Biking Paradise

Lake Taupo is a mountain biking hub, and the range of trails and après-bike activities make it an ideal destination for cyclists. Whether you’re a beginner looking for a leisurely ride or an experienced rider seeking thrilling trails, Lake Taupo has something for everyone.

For breathtaking views and a true cycling adventure, the Great Lake Trail offers a 71km (44 miles) journey through stunning landscapes, with panoramic views of Lake Taupo and Tongariro National Park. If you’re a mountain biker looking for technical challenges, Craters MTB Park is the place to be, with purpose-built trails and options for riders of all abilities.

Explore the beauty of nature on the Tongariro River Trail, a 15km (9 miles) loop track through native bush, or take on the historic Timber Trail, an overnight mission through native bush and over a suspension bridge. The Te Iringa track is known for its technical riding, while the 42 Traverse offers a rugged and popular unmaintained 4WD track experience.

The Waikato River Trails provide an extended riding adventure, with up to 100km (62 miles) of cycling along New Zealand’s longest river, offering facilities and beautiful scenery. And for a leisurely ride along the lakefront, the Great Lake Walkway – Lions Walk is perfect, spanning 20.8km (13 miles) and starting in Taupo.

Don’t forget to explore other mountain biking options in the area, such as the Redwoods in Rotorua, the Fishers Track, Ohakune Old Coach Road, and the Bridge to Nowhere. With its diverse range of trails and post-ride activities, Lake Taupo truly deserves its reputation as a mountain biking paradise.


Q: Are there bike hire options in Lake Taupo?

A: Yes, Taupo town provides bike hire services for cyclists.

Q: Are there shuttles available in Lake Taupo?

A: Yes, Taupo town offers shuttle services for cyclists.

Q: Can I find affordable accommodation in Lake Taupo?

A: Yes, Taupo town provides affordable accommodation options for cyclists.

Q: How long does it take to complete the Great Lake Trail?

A: The Great Lake Trail is 71km (44 miles) long and can take 2-3 days to complete.

Q: Is the Craters MTB Park suitable for all skill levels?

A: Yes, the Craters MTB Park offers trails for all abilities, making it suitable for mountain bikers of all skill levels.

Q: Where does the Tongariro River Trail start?

A: The Tongariro River Trail starts in the town of Turangi.

Q: How long is the Timber Trail?

A: The Timber Trail can be up to 80km (50 miles) long and can be done as an overnight mission.

Q: What is the grade of Te Iringa?

A: Te Iringa is a grade five-track known for its technical riding and is 38km (24 miles) long.

Q: How long is the 42 Traverse?

A: The 42 Traverse is 50km (31 miles) long and is best done in dry weather.

Q: How long are the Waikato River Trails?

A: The Waikato River Trails offer up to 100km (62 miles) of cycling along New Zealand’s longest river.

Q: Where does the Rotary Ride – Aratiatia start?

A: The Rotary Ride – Aratiatia starts in Taupo and takes you to Spa Park, Huka Falls, and Aratiatia Dam.

Q: How long is The Great Lake Walkway – Lions Walk?

A: The Great Lake Walkway – Lions Walk is 20.8km (13 miles) long and starts in Taupo.

Source Links

About The Author

daniel in queenstown with mountain bike

Want To Receive Exclusive Offers, Tips & Freebies?