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Rotorua/MTB holiday advice

Tristania's picture

By Tristania - Posted on 19 October 2015

It is common knowledge that in order for one to call himself a mountain biker (particularly in Australia), he must make a pilgrimage to Rotorua at least once in his lifetime. Hence when I consider the need for a MTB holiday between the completion of my internship at Christmas and the start of my final year at uni in March, this is naturally my destination in mind. However, I thought I'd first run by fellow Nobmobbers who have been around to see if they had any suggestions that top this - I've heard that some places in Tassie are exceptional - or otherwise some advice on how to structure such a trip.

At this point, I may be going alone (though will see if I can find one or more buddies to join me), and would assume the February period would be slightly cheaper, so am keen to know if there are regular groups that do brisk-paced rides that I may be able to join up with (I wouldn't want a paid/guided tour as I don't see the point of that), suggestions on accommodation, time I'd want to allow to see it all, and if there are other places around Rotorua (i.e. Lake Taupo) that are worth a visit.

Never travelled on a plane with a bike before so could do with some tips on whether that's more worthwhile than bike hire... and anything that I've missed.

Thanks in advance!

hawkeye's picture

Got this from a fellow nobmobber:

"Hi mate, assuming you will be there for another day without shuttles I can highly recommend the following route. I did this as a solo ride last year and whilst that was enough for me for a day I would think after the coffee you two could easily ride back up and across to B Rude Not 2 and head back out that way.

Assuming you have a trail map and come in the short way from the hotel.
Nursery Rd
Katore Rd
A Line
Tickler down
A wrong turn that took me to K2 and then back
Tickler climb
B Rude Not 2
Red Tank Rd
Bunny Jugs 2
Reservoir Rd
Old Chevy
Followed by coffee at Planet Bike FX then
Waipa Bypass / State Mill Rd
State Hwy 5 creek run and home.

What is your email address and I'll send you a google maps image showing you the back way in.


I'd also recommend buying a shuttle ticket of 5 or 10 and taking Eagle vs Shark, Billy T, G Rock, Split Enz, ... the list goes on.

I'm devastated that Corners will likely be gone before you get there - that track (5km+ of high banked berms) is like Stromlo's Luge on steroids.

We stayed at The Alpin Mountain Bike Motel just on the outskirts of town. If you're not of a mind to get a car, the location is ideal for trail access. Cheap, good bike wash and the geothermal heated pool, and spa in every unit is awesome.



typedmillepede's picture

I headed there earlier this year and loved it so much I'm going again next week! I managed to go with a group of mates (highly recommended) but I'm sure there's groups there. In terms of accomodation, I've gone airbnb and thats been great. I'd recommend getting accomodation close to the forest, unless you have a car.

In terms of the actual riding tho, I was there for 5 days of riding and only rode most things once, and a few of my favourites a couple times. Even without shuttles, my favourites are the Challenge trails and b rude not 2 (others too that i forget the name of). The shuttle is where all the really good stuff is. Really fun jumping line called red riding huck that has heaps of room for progression (at least compared to sydney stuff), corner, eagle vs shark (don't let where it spits you out on the map deter you, it's not that far from everything) and also split enz. All in all the shuttle is worth every penny, and if you're clever, you can link up a lot in one up lift too. I honestly didn't have a need or want to visit anywhere else during those 5 days but I might visit skyline this time for a half day.

I travelled with my bike for the first time and it was pretty hassle free, it does bump you up against the weight limit very quickly tho so keep an eye on that, and also for carriers that have a piece limit.

Hope this helps!

hawkeye's picture

I'd echo what typedmillipede said as well.

Lach's picture

I have a pdf of a Whakarewarewa Forest Mountainbiking Route Planner which used to be on the web site. I've found it great for self-guided route planning, as it gives you a number of route options based on how much time you've got, how difficult the trails are you want to tackle and whether you are going to use the shuttle or not. Probably needs to be validated against a current map, as the trails are gradually changing around the logging operations, but I've used it a number of times to nut out a half day ride and then used the famous manky and the pretty reasonable track signage to navigate my way around. It's easy to ride to either of the main forest entrance points from pretty much anywhere in town.

PM me if you want a copy.

Tristian, from what I've seen on here of your training and racing, you'll enjoy the climbing in the Whaka. And enjoying the downhill stuff goes without saying....

In my view it's worth taking your own bike, but you have to weigh up possible excess baggage costs / higher fare against rental costs.

kitttheknightrider's picture

couldn't have said it better myself Hawkeye.


ADtheglorious's picture

Take your own bike, you'll enjoy it much more on a bike you're comfortable on.
Beg/borrow/steal a bike bag or box, get some scales load it all up before you go and get as close to the limit as you can with helmets, shoes, spares etc in the box.
Carry on should get you the rest of the way.
Plenty of reasonably priced accommodation to be found.
Finding and riding the trails is the easy part.
Wish I was going back next week....

hawkeye's picture

The cardboard crates the bikes are delivered to shp in are fine. Yur local bike shop will likely be happy to give you one as it's one less thing they need to cart to the tip.

They're just as good as the specialised boxes/bags but weigh only 3kg versus 4.5-6 for the bags. More room for clothes etc.

Dicko's picture

I have a new large bike box - free for anyone who wants it !

Bike box gone now

Lach's picture

Doing some planning for a 2016 trip Auckland - Rotorua - Taupo - Napier - Auckland and wondering if anyone has positive experiences with hiring a suitable car for 4 adults including a bike rack for 2 mtbs?

Simon's picture

A few years back hired a trailer off them that carried bikes. Had pick up and drop off option in Auckland or Christchurch.

Lach's picture

... will keep in mind if we track down a suitable vehicle with tow bar. Looks like car rental co's lean more towards roof rack bike racks. Plenty of other interesting info on that site as well.

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