Cycling in the Bay of Plenty
The Bay of Plenty is a dream for cyclists of every skill level. Scenic tracks range from an easy family cruise to adrenalin-fuelled mountain biking across spectacular terrain.
Experienced and advanced riders will love the Ōropi Grove Mountain Bike Park on the outskirts of Tauranga. TECT All Terrain Park also near Tauranga is a must for adventure lovers, offering dozens of trails set amongst 1,650 hectares of pine forest and native bush.
McLaren Falls Park
McLaren Falls Park is 190 hectares of parkland set alongside Lake McLaren and is just ten minutes by car, from Tauranga. McLaren Falls consists of 190 hectares of lakeside park with one of the best botanical collections of trees in the North Island. The tracks around the lake edge are open to mountain bikers and are dual use so please share them with care. McLaren Falls Park is open from 7.30am – 5.30pm when daylight saving ends in winter, and 7.30am – 7.30pm when daylight saving starts in summer. There are several toilets, carparks and an information centre.
Summerhill Recreation Farm
Summerhill Recreation Farm is privately owned land that is open to the public for mountain biking. Most of the well-marked trails are single track for bikes only but a few are shared with walkers. Approximately 20km of mainly grade 3 trails have been built and maintained by local mountain-bikers. The tracks go through a mixture of native forest, rolling farmland, swooping single-track, and a purpose-built skills area with dirt jumps and structures. Trails are suitable for everyone from the first-time mountain biker to experienced riders. Summerhill has carparking and toilets and is open from dawn to dusk, 7 days a week. A gold coin entry fee contributes to on-going maintenance and development.
Head north to the renowned Karangahake Gorge. This easy ride follows the historic Paeroa to Waihi rail line passing old mining relics and buildings and through a 1-kilometre rail tunnel. Old mine machinery and buildings can be seen from several spots along the way.
The 1-kilometre tunnel is lit but bike lights are useful. At Owharoa there is an old rock quarry established in 1914. A short side track close to the quarry leads through bush to a stunning waterfall. The trail is suitable for all levels of rider although a very short steep climb at around 5.5km will require most riders to walk their bikes. Stop at The Falls Retreat or the Karangahake Winery Estate for lunch and a well-earned rest.
TECT All Terrain Park
The grade 4-5 trails combine obstacles such as jumps, drops, berms and bumps and there’s also a raft of downhill and freeride trails to tackle. The park boasts several trails including 'Buffalo Girl', 'Lookout', 'Uno' (Family Trail), 'Mickey Mouse' (Kids loop) and a pump track. There is a trail map in the mountain bike park car park. TECT All Terrain Park is situated off State Highway 36 (Pyes Pa Road), 29km from Tauranga, 27km from Rotorua and 30km from Te Puke. There is limited to no cell phone coverage. Toilets are provided at the mountain bike car park and Arrival Centre. Some tracks are shared with walkers. The Park’s hours are from 7am-9pm in summer, and from 8am-5pm from Labour Weekend to Easter.
Ōropi Grove Mountain Bike Park
A mountain biker’s playground, Ōropi Grove is Tauranga's longest serving mountain bike park. The Park includes cross-country, downhill and freeride terrain featuring a variety of purpose-built jumps and drops. The trails are mixed grades from 6 (difficult/Expert/Extreme) through to Grade 2 (family/easy/gentle).
Your first visit to Ōropi Grove should include the ‘Park Loop Ride.’ This track is an 8.5km (40min) loop aimed at the average rider and covers most of the Parks 2-4 graded trails. Start at the Ōropi Road carpark.
Mighty Motu Trails
Motu Trails in the eastern Bay of Plenty will take you past stunning beaches and through lush native forest in Whakatāne. The Dunes Trail section of the Motu Trails takes you on a well-formed track through the marvellous dune-scape adjacent to the Pacific Ocean. The grade 2 Dunes Trail undulates past Hikuwai and Tirohonga Beaches where you can leave your bike and plunge headfirst into the pristine waters for a refreshing dip whenever you need a cool off. There are plenty of stop off points along the way which provide an opportunity to soak up the vistas and learn about the rich history of the Ōpōtiki District.
Onepu Community Recreation Park
Onepu Mountain Bike Park offers 15km of mainly single track on flat to rolling terrain. Perfect for families, even the smallest member of your group will make it around the trails. Most trails are graded 2 but there is also a grade 3 climb and a grade 3 descent. As a bonus there’s the buzz of ‘The Sandpit’ which has been purpose built with BMX-style jumps to keep the whole tribe happy. The park is accessed off SH30 where it meets Braemar Road. There is a toilet at the park.
A 1.5-hour drive inland from Whakatāne will lead you to an untouched natural wonderland at Whirinaki Te Pua-a-Tāne Conservation Park. The Whirinaki Te Pua-a-Tāne mountain bike trail is perfect for beginner and intermediate mountain bikers and is a 16-kilometre (2-4 hour) loop. For the more experienced, the Moerangi trail is considered a ‘must do’ among biking enthusiasts, climbing 1000 metres and offering sensational rewards.