You are hereForums / General Discussion / General Events / Rotorua


hawkeye's picture

By hawkeye - Posted on 18 July 2013

With the young bloke doing the HSC next year, the next school hols might be the last chance we have for awhile to do something great together, so I've floated the idea of a trip to Rotovegas for a week.

We're both more of the cross country persuasion than DH or AM.

Looking for ideas and suggestions for tour companies/guides, places to stay and occasional things to do off-bike to break it up.

I'd imagine we need to book quickly to secure a place.

Also, would you recommend takind (and risking) your own bike, or hiring over there?

Discodan's picture

Have a look this which is the run sheet we used to plan a week in Rotorua for 4 lads about 18 months ago, it's got links to accom, bike hire, trails etc

I'd suggest take your own bikes, it's pretty easy with boxes from the LBS and eliminates a bunch of issues.

When we got tired of riding Rotorua we went to Taupo to ride for a day and also did the Moerangi Track which is a very cool 50km trail (takes a full day and is hard work). Do the luge in Rotorua on a day off and visit the hot springs about 20 km towards Taupo (not the tourist ones you pay for but the local waterhole)

have fun

down hill rig's picture

we did a very similar trip/itinerary by the looks of it and can reccomend what Discodan has suggested.

I only had a 29er at the time and took that and got away with it, (my mates were all on 5" 26ers) so theres something for everyone, plenty of quality xc, will be "fresh" in sept. Worth connecting with southstar shuttles to see what days they will run when you are there. They typically go weekends and NZ school holidays, worth the money. Air NZ fly direct from sydney on tuesdays and saturdays, Taupo worth the will come back a better rider!!

Biker23's picture

Heading over in mid sept! They have cancelled Saturday direct flights

Looking forward to it!

Simon's picture

I haven't ridden up there since 2000. Rotorua and Taupo are a must if you haven't been before.

Good bike track in Taupo near Huka Falls. Awesome falls, not high just massive volume of water.

Ski season will probably be going too. Worth a trip to Ruapehu if you have time, two hours south of Taupo and visible from Taupo across the lake. Can ski or just drive up and take a chair lift for the views. Also a few good hikes on lower mountain to Taranaki Falls with great views to nearby Ngauruhoe and Tongariro.

Not sure about in winter but Rotorua has great whitewater rafting for day or half day trips. Nearest is the Kaituna with a 7m waterfall. Good rush going over it.

Be prepared for cool weather. Rotorua gets cold over night even in summer as does Taupo. They are both at a bit of altitude.

And you can borrow my bike bag if you want.

Matt P's picture

I rode Rotorua for a week in May and had a belter of a time. I rode my Mojo HD but you don't need that much squish unless you're going to hit the DH tracks. In fact I saw a lot of locals on hardtails. That said, the trails are very different to what we have here in Sydney. Not overly technical (for the most part), but they get the idea of flow Eye-wink.

If I went over again, I'd look to do two weeks as I think you need some time off the bike to recover and also head to Taupo plus the hot springs about 20kms out of town as mentioned above (really, do make the effort to go there, I had the whole place to myself on a Friday. If only I'd been able to have a beer in there!).

Accommodation wise, I stayed at the Aywon motel. Basic but bike friendly and it cost me NZ$99 per night. It's about 150m from the Alpin that many people have or will mention.

I flew to Auckland and hire car'd it (three hours give or take). I was VERY happy to have a car in town. It will give you SO much more flexibility. You can ride from the motels (Aywon / Alpin) however if you want to get to the far side of the trails, you will need to ride a few kms to get to the start. I also found the route in directly to map board 7 (I think it was 7) was the best and easiest way to access the trails. If you want to shuttle (and its not there just for the gravity guys), then you will have to ride a few kms from town to the pick up areas. Oh and the "A" motels ae a decent walk into town if you want to have a nice meal out, bars, shopping etc. A car helps. I could go on...really I could, but your call.

Shuttle service was great however I didn't get to use it as much as I would have liked because it was only running on the Wednesday arvo (3.30-5.00pm) and weekends. We had a LOT of rain over a couple of days which stopped the shuttle one day and caused a late start on the next. That said, the soil drains VERY well and whenever I asked about ruining the tracks, I was told not to fret.

If you are interested in the shuttle option, I have a 20 trip voucher that still has 17 runs left. It cost me NZ$100 but you can have it for $50.

Guide wise, you don't really need one in Rotorua as the map boards dotted around the trails are generally very good. However I strongly suggest buying one of the maps from a store in town. Get the paper version, I helped a few people out who were struggling with their tea towel versions. However if you want a good guide, contact Planet Bike:

Speak to Edd and mention that you were recommended by the big tall English guy on the white mojo HD. He's extremely helpful, friendly, chatty (very) and knows the trails well as he helped to build many of them. Don't be put off by the simple shed appearance of the joint, he's a top guy and also does the best coffee in town!

I could also recommend doing a skills course depending on your abilities. I had a half day one on one with an ex national BMX and DH champion. She was excellent, frighteningly fast and also very friendly and helpful. The difference in my cornering and big jumps was stark. Let me know if you'd like her details. Apparently Justin Leov has done some coaching for them in recent times so you know they don't employ numpties.

I also hooked up with a local who showed me some trails plus a few new ones that he was working on. Based on what I rode with him I would guess his riding style might be a bit too AM/airborne but it was very good to have that sort of local knowledge. Be happy to put you in contact with him if you're keen.

I know others have been and will chime in with further info but let me know if you want further info or hints.

Chitts's picture

I am not sure why you think that but I booked for Feb 2014 about a week ago with some mates and we are flying direct Saturday to Saturday. Just rechecked the website and there are still Saturday flights.

Chitts's picture

We have done it before taking our bikes and riding most the Rotorua trail, Taupo, Meorangi etc. This is a nice summary of the trails etc.

An unbelievably good week away Smiling

Bring on the next trip!

donkerr's picture

Depending on your time frame and budget. Flying into Auckland is a lot cheaper and more accessible and Rotorua is only 2 hours down the road. No pre booking for accommodation would be required. 7 days in the North Island I'd head south and fly home from Wellington - Makra Peak Park in Welly is not to be underrated for us from Sydney who don't know vertical. 3 days in Rotorua. Then a night in Taupo best ride currently is the Kinloch Lake trails night or day.
Whirinaki ( Moerangi) is an absolute must then south to Wellington for some epic altitude. There's a few gems in between depending on your technical ability. But if you have 5 days in Rotorua you will not get bored. Some of those tracks draw you in again and again (and again).

Biker23's picture

I have also checked and your right - I was going 7/9 to 14/9 and Flight Centre told me the Saturday flight was cancelled ongoing so I changed my booking to Tuesday to Sat (One stop rtn).

Its only the 7th and 14th that appear to have been cancelled!!!

Jeez, If i knew that, I could have stayed 7 days!!!!

Apologies for the wrong info

kitttheknightrider's picture

Air NZ are pretty good. I'd ring them and explain what happened, they might let you change flights for minimal / no charge.

I had to change my flight, booked on -line, because I'm a schmuck, they did it over the phone no problems and no charge. This a while ago though.

flubberghusted's picture

I fly into Rotovegas for work a fair bit as well as doing a couple of mtb-only trips.
Winter to mid Spring, they scale back their direct flights.
Summer to Autumn = two flights a week.
Seasonal demand really...

But Hawkeye, we did a private house rental and hired a Hiace. Take the seats out of the back and there's enough room for your rigs.
Recommend taking your own rig there cuz it can set you back a fair bit to hire if you're riding for a week or so.
I've borrowed a few of the boys travelling bike boxes over the years. I'm sure if you give a shout-out, one of the fellas on the forum will loan ya one for a fee or a six pack.

We also did a campervan option in hiring a 6 bertha for 4 dudes.
Now thats a whole other story but suffice to say it was pretty awesome fun.

But yeah like the guys said, Whakakpaeuhfdkahda... Forest will keep ya busy for a decent amount of time.
W2K in Taupo is not to be missed too. Craters is ok but not my favourite.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Best Mountain Bike