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Rotorua, some of the BEST singletrack in the world

Supagav's picture

By Supagav - Posted on 08 May 2009

Saturday, 12 December, 2009 - 18:00
168 hours
Come Rain or Shine: 
I'll be there, no matter what the weather.
Meeting Point: 

Rotorua Airport


The plan is to spend in and around Rotorua NZ riding some of the best trails in the world....

We would be looking at spending a week there riding/eating/drinking and having a good time.

Well I have been thinking about doing this trip for a while and opening it up to nobmob
So after having a chat with AIR NZ to organise a group discount, which they didnt offer I have decided I would organise the in NZ part of the trip.

You will need to book and pay for your own flights to NZ,Rotorua.

What I will organise:
Transport for the week (including bikes of course, I can get a bus that we should get 10 bikes into)
Accomodation from the 12th to the 19th Dec
I will organise a day of shuttles for the group.
We can sort out food etc when we get there.
I have done a quick budget and have worked out the cost per head would be $450 plus flights to Rotorua. this cost would include transport for the week, accomodation a day of shuttles and food and some basic refreashments.

I will hopefully organise a day with a couple of locals to show us some of their favorite trails.
I would see us spending 3 days in the Whaka forest on our own , one day doing shuttles, a day trip to taupo. possibly include one day of riding on more un-manicured trails (epic day out)
The great thing about Rotorua is you can ride for as long or as short as you want and town coffee/food/beer is only a short ride away.

Due to the lack of a group booking option for the flights this trip will go ahead with what ever number can make it up to 10 people!

Any questions fire away.

Who's in?
Rob, tienster, ar_junkie, Carlgroover, Greg P, Pratiwi, Hans, Supagav, jdb, v (10 riders)
Rob tienster ar_junkie Carlgroover Greg P Pratiwi Hans Supagav jdb v
What Happened?

Blog entries about this meeting...

Who Title Preview (click the title left for more and to comment)
Rob Already planning an encore Wow! What can you say about this trip... this place... that can do it justice? I guess you really can't so this will probably seem a bit short: It seems like an age ago that a very brave Supagav posted up this trip and left it open to all....

Were you there and have a story to tell?

Ride Gallery
PIVOT MACH 5's picture

they are tight arses and always have half empty planes. might i suggest you try to speak to someone higher up the food chain for a group discount? theres plenty of time between now and then. good luck.

Supagav's picture

Cheers Mach 5, I am still thinking I will do that I just posted the ride based on the info I have at the moment. It gives people time to talk to the other half and get the ok.
I should get the Ok from V I guess, not that it will be hard.....

v's picture

and you have my ok Smiling hehe

ar_junkie's picture

You could have milked that one...

tienster's picture

That tells i have not been to NZ before.

Any booked any airline ticket yet? which and when?

Best price/time is NZ Airlines $138 each way, departing on Dec 12th and returning Dec 20th.
Jetstart has better fares but departing Sydney early evenings - too late.



alchemist's picture

Closest airport to Rotorua is Rotorua, but I don't think there are currently direct flights from Sydney yet (next year perhaps...). Next closest is Hamilton which is about an hour or so drive away. Auckland is next which is about 3 and bit hours away.

For an almost guaranteed "interesting" landing Wellington can be fun to fly into... Eye-wink

Deano's picture

Rotorua does have some of the best single track around Smiling, with the advantage of being able to ride hard & then recover in the thermal spring followed by a beer or two at the Pig & Whistle. Then of course some great night laps, cant wait to go back again next year it seems to be turning into an annual thing Smiling.


If your not out there doing it,
Someone else is

Supagav's picture

Hey guys,

I have had another look at flights from Auckland to Rotorua and it looks like getting a minibus and trailer and driving down could be a option. The flights are about $260 each return the extra time spent stuffing around in airports etc you could of driven to Rotorua.

So would everyone be happy to get a flight to Auckland (arriving around 12pm ish) on sat 12th Dec and get a minibus and trailer from there and drive down? please PM me with your thoughts.

P.s I was going to get a minibus for the group in Rotorua anyway and one extra day would only cost like $15 each....... a lot better than $260 and you wont really lose any time either.

otherwise holiday home penciled in. its looking good.

Carlgroover's picture

I have a Garmin Nuvi GPS with NZ maps in it so it would be easy to navigate and save transfers to and from Rotorua airport as well.
I'm up for it Smiling

alchemist's picture

You don't need a GPS to find your way to Rotorua - just follow your nose...

Carlgroover's picture

I realise they have road signs there, however it would be handy to find the place we will being staying at Eye-wink

mtbasn.alex's picture

Ill be number one on this list if anyone pulls out count me in Smiling,
mum said she got some flights for me.
{ check out my website @ }

pieboy98's picture

Looks like you'll be able to fly direct to Rotorua
Only 3.5 hrs to the best singletrack in NZ and possibly the world

If you ever got bored of Rotovegas, you could check out some of the other 400+ rides available

disclaimer: i do not work and/or have not worked for NZ tourism board, MZ mtn biking or any other travel associated company

pieboy98's picture

Gday Crew

Will be living back home from next month
So would be keen to catch up for a ride in Rotovegas
Should have sorted out most of the tracks by then too

See ya there

pieboy98's picture

Gday Crew

With it being Labour day weekend over here,
Ventured down early to Rotovegas for a day at the office!
With Saturday being a spotless day,a stark contrast to the weather of the last 2 weeks!
Started off by picking the highest and furtherest point from the carpark and began the ascent
With a balmy 6c to start with the hills soon warmed up the legs with the grind up from the carpark via the access fireroads(about an hour)
Headed out to Tuhoto Ariki, 4.5 k trail through native bush, plenty of Tuis and Wood pidgeons about, will load some video later
Track was a bit 'damp' and with plenty of mud and roots made for an testing trail, this should be nice and dry by the time you turn up
After boucing a bit of mud off the bike we hit Split Enz, 3k, One of my top 3 Favourite trails.
Super smooth, rolling and dry, basically all downhill to the point of arm and calf pump!!!
But with a smile on your face like a split watermelon, we wanted to grind the fireroad for take two!!
Then onto Pondy Dh track much of the same again and Pondy new ,3k, to gain a bit of elevation again.
We hit Rollercoaster, 1.5k, with avengance, awesome downhill flowing trail and I encountered a slight over the bars moment

(got a slight donkey kick at 40+ kph, rode out the front tyre for 20+m before a sharp bend and superman between 2 pine trees
and down a bank about 8m, fall broken by scrub and blackberry, the prickly kind, not the cellphone. I only had small cut and graze.
Climbed back up the the track to find bike a bit battered. Head tube had smashed into pine tree but was fine, seat however was missing
Found seat down the bank, with one of the Titanuim rails snapped off, the trusty duct tape held it in place for another hour)

Continued on and finished Rollercoaster a bit gingerly, Finally hit Old chevy, 4.5k, with a good mix of ups and downs
Rode out to the carpark and made it to the bike shops in town before they shut to replace broken saddle

All in all, a great days riding. Am doing the Whirinaki Quest in a couple of weeks
Will update you about this trail too, only 1.5 hours drive from Rotovegas, from what i've heard it's worth the drive!!

Can recommend the Fat dog cafe in Town, massive feeds and great Coffee,
And Bike Vegas for friendly service and trail maps


tienster's picture

and what is the normal weather around mid december in this part of the world? what do people recommend to bring? (keep things down to the bare essentials of course).

Not long to go ...



Hans's picture

To all Rotorua travellers...if you haven't sorted out your bike transport yet this may be of interest to you:

Torpedo 7 Bike bag on sale $ 99

ar_junkie's picture

Hey Hans, do you have one of these and more importantly will you be using one (or any other bag) for the NZ trip?

I'm always torn with the whole bag vs. box debate, specifically around the topic of air travel...

Rob's picture

From the pictures and specs these look incredibly similar, if not identical, to he Ultimate Sports bags I got from CRC.

Hans's picture


My (Kiwi) neighbour is lending me his Polaris bike pod...a hard case shell which offers good protection and weighs 6.7 kg's.

Others swear by the recycled cardboard bike box from your LBS + bubble wrap; or a soft bag like the Torpedo 7 ones.

Don't have any experience on those, but having seen my normal luggage smashed up by QF made me concerned about the bike.

Apparently there is also a place in Brookvale to rent the larger hardcases (?).

Supagav says that he never had any problems with bikes on AirNZ. Eye-wink

Just make sure that your travel insurance provides sufficient coverage (default is often something like "up to $ 5000, max $ 250 per item.)

BT's picture

I'm so jealous of you guys if this is anything to go by -

ar_junkie's picture

I guess we will have to vasbyt and report back if it's 'all that'...

Supagav's picture

Now I am trying to work out trail that is, a lot of the trails are like that one. Those switchbacks are pretty crazy though. Oh well not long to wait till we are there ripping it up as well! 7 more work days left for me!!!

PIVOT MACH 5's picture

i hope your trup is choice eh. and the weather doesnt turn to shut. Smiling

pieboy98's picture

Gday crew

finally got round to putting fingers to keyboard
The Whirinaki quest was a great ride, would definately recommend the track
a good day trip into Native bush to break up the endless singletracks of rotovegas

Weather has been quite dry of late, a bit of rain this week but will be good to make the tracks nice and sticky
As for clothing, standard shorts and shirt, would recommend a decent rain jacket
and something for the cooler nights, still gets below 10c overnight, and has been snowing in the south island this week
Also buy some sunscreen once you get in, the sun burns worse than anywhere in oz

all the best


Rob's picture

I was talking to the boys at BA today and that Whakarewarewa Forest vid was shot by Mick Ross. There's loads more here:

Ignore the side trips to Colorado Eye-wink

snowkiwi's picture

Side trips from Whaka to Colorado... that's some ride.

Carlgroover's picture

Here we come, I'm so keen to get there especially after watching those vids.
I bought one of the bike bags from T7 and so far am happy with it Smiling

I have packed the SS up in it this morning after a thorough scrub with several brushes and truck wash.
The NZ customs are very particular about Mountain bikes and won't let them in unless they are very clean to spotless.

Gav said they hold dirty bikes for about a week and charge you $150 for cleaning Sad

Is anyone else going keen on trout fishing while there? Rotorua is renown for it's trout fishing and fish over 8lb are not uncommon Shocked Fortunately I don't require much sleep and intend on catching the odd trout before most will be out of bed in the morning Smiling

Cheers John.

Rob's picture

Pratiwi will certainly want to go fishing John. But we have no gear, if you can help out that would be tops Smiling

Carlgroover's picture

I'll be taking 4 rods and Pratiwi can use one as I'm sure Louise and the boys won't be fishing too much. I will be lure fishing rather than using bait, has Pratiwi lure fished much or normally bait fishes?
Gavin also has rods over there I think.

Supagav's picture

Hi rob et al,
Access to fishing gear is no prob at all We will have a boat and selection of fishing eqiupment as well. spinner, trolling and if some one wants fly fishing..... I just need to ask the old man.

Please note as John has already said BIKES MUST BE SPOTLESS!!! the last thing anyone wants to have is to lose there bike for a wek because it was not clean.

We are almost packed up here now, cant wait for the weekend to come around!!!

ar_junkie's picture

Ah, less than 6 days to go, it should be a humdinger! Taking to the bike with a toothbrush...

Been a while since I last went fly fishing... Cool

Hans's picture

I'm in for it too...!

OK, here is the Video lesson "Flyfishing in NZ".... Eye-wink

Rob's picture

NFI John... all I know is that Pratiwi probably won't want to ride every day (eh?!) and talks a lot about fishing when younger and really excited when I said it would be an option. It's good to know that we'll be able to have a few options.

Yes... will be cleaning the bikes up this week too.

Hans's picture
Hans's picture

Moko the Kiwi dolpin - has he flipped?

Hans's picture

Managed to borrow a Polaris Bike Pod for the UnZed trip.

This shell case (soft) is on loan from my neighbour (a Kiwi - nice!). Just managed to fit in the "quarantine-ready" Enduro (Large) with some minor mods...had to reverse the dual crown fork, and remove the front brake as it was sticking out by 5 mm. Derailleur and hanger and handle bar removed and still to be wrapped up in bubble wrap. Will also wrap the chainring with rag and duct tape. Case and bike together is still > 20 kg's.

Polaris Bike Pod - in Air NZ we trust!

The wheels are held by skewers in the side wall (!)...have to modify it with a big washer for the 25 mm front axle. I hope the discs dont rub on the frame through the 20 mm foam pad. The frame is still to be wrapped up in bubble wrap, too. It is supposed to be held in place by straps but they look a bit loose.... Tyres and shocks / forks are deflated as required.

Polaris Bike Pod - just big enough

All packed up and rearing to go!

Air NZ has a free "bike baggage allowance", while QF and Virgin charge over $ 100 extra. Interesting excerpts from the Air NZ baggage instructions:

# Some bicycle items may be classed as dangerous goods. For example, CO2 cartridges for inflating bicycle tyres contain compressed gas and are not permitted as checked or cabin baggage.

# Mountain bikes may be fitted with struts containing compressed nitrogen gas. These bikes can only be accepted as checked baggage if the gas pressure does not exceed 200KPa (Kilopascal), or 29 PSI (Pounds per square inch).

ar_junkie's picture

I'm flying Qantas and haven't seen anything about needing to pay extra for taking a bike. I even stipulated when purchasing my ticket and am using a Qantas bike box. As long as I don't exceed 23kgs, I am supposedly ok.

Oh well, could be a fun start to the trip come 4am Saturday morning... Eye-wink

Hans's picture


You may be lucky - who knows... I spent over an hour on the phone with QF and they gave me the party line of excess / oversize baggage @ $ 10 / kg etc...

The Kiwis /Air NZ seem more lenient according to Supagav - who made the trip a couple of times. It was implied on the phone to QF that it depends who you get on the day/counter.

Re the 23 kgs in total ... maybe you manage within that limit 'cause yours is one of those ultra-light Cannondales Eye-wink. Or you only take a tootbrush... My bag of Specialized spare parts weighs more! Smiling

BTW: What are you guys doing re insurance? Any good deals with reliable co's?

In any case we'll see you bright and early on Sat morning... Eye-wink. Can't wait!

ar_junkie's picture

Bugger, there goes my weight limit!

Re insurance - mailed you the crowd I'm using.

Might see you at the airport (Sydney) otherwise it will be in Auckland... I'm flying out an hour earlier.

Rob's picture

Well, I'm all packed. 25kg of bike + riding gear (clothes, camelbak, shoes, tools, etc, etc) in one bag and... erm... 5kg of clothes for everything else in another. Priorities, see Eye-wink

Can we go now though? Not looking forward to 4am rise Sad

dangersean's picture

4am rise - boo fricken hoo! You looking for stympathy there Rob?...

Bugger off to your perfect roto trails - I dont want to know about it Eye-wink

LadyToast's picture

Have a great time all you chaps that are going. Wish I could be going with you. Take lots of vids and pics and keep your twatters updated Smiling

Damien's picture

You can have your 4.00am rise that’s way too early.

4.30am is much more civilised for my training ride in the mountains.

Carlgroover's picture

A 4am rise, we're being picked up at 3:30am, it's gunna be tough though going up and those sweet trails every day then lying around in hot springs to soothe the aching legs, maybe beer or 2 and a spot of trout fishing, a week of that before touring the south island for 2 weeks in campervan, life could be worse.

hawkeye's picture

I hope it rains. Lots.

No, I'm not jealous. Well, maybe a little bit. Ok, Ok, a lot then.



Hans's picture

Rotorua - What a fine trip that was!

Just awesome...! And it didn't rain....!

Thanks to Gav and V for being such great hosts ....and showing us around the excellent single tracks!

Pics to follow....


ar_junkie's picture

Miles of flowing single track littered all over a rather grand Redwood Forest, almost zero dust, crystal clear streams, ample water spots throughout the park...

So when is the next trip? Count me in!

Greg P's picture

I am surprised you forgot to mention that we were forced to eat way too much NZ lamb, freshly caught trout, kilos of mussels, not to mention the alcohol. Those that didn't make it should think themselves lucky.

What a trip!!

Hans's picture

And don't forget to mention that we had to catch our own food.... Eye-wink

NZ trip - we had to catch our own food... :-)

...and take a boat across the lake to have a hot bath... Eye-wink

NZ: relaxing in hot thermal mineral water pools in the sunset.

Shaun - you've got the good pics - when are you posting them? Smiling

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