Cycleway Category: Official NZ Cycling Trail
Rotorua — Waikite Valley (2 days, 48km)
This trail offers a 48km adventure through a thermal wonderland of steaming vents, bubbling mud pools and spectacular geysers.
Between the trail heads at Rotorua and the Waikite Valley Thermal Pools, this cycle trail takes riders to four significant geothermal fields: Whakarewarewa, Waimangu Volcanic Valley, Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland and Waikite Valley Thermal Springs. Each has its own unique geothermal features, including rare flora and fauna, and is rich in Maori history and folklore. Possibly the most famous of these is the Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve, located next to Te Puia (the New Zealand Maori Arts & Crafts Institute). Here you will also find Whakarewarewa Village, which has existed for over 700 years and is home to many families of the survivors of the 1886 eruption of Mt Tarawera.
Other unique features along the trail include the Lake Okaro restoration project (re-established wetland), Rainbow Mountain, Te Ranga Hot Pools and the Waikite Geothermal Field. Most of the geothermal areas are well established tourist attractions, with a wide range of amenities such as cafés, souvenir shops, toilets and bike storage facilities.
We recommend you take at least two days to ride this trail. And if you want more after that, Rotorua is a mountainbiking mecca, with a range of worldclass cycle trails to explore.
WHAKAREWAREWA – THE LIVING MAORI VILLAGE
Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley incorporates a living, breathing Maori village that relies on geothermal power for the ease of everyday living. Throughout the day local residents act as village guides, providing a tour with a difference – from relaying village stories, to cooking meals and explaining how they use the natural landscape for bathing, washing clothes and predicting weather patterns. You can also see spine-tingling cultural performances including the haka, and taste delicious traditional Maori food.
This picturesque lake is the second biggest in the North Island and is perfect for windsurfing, sailing and fishing. Tours are available to Mokoia Island, in the middle of the lake.
MOBILE PHONE COVERAGE: Good coverage from the start of the trail at Princes Gates through to Waiotapu. No coverage on Waikite Valley Rd.
DRINKING WATER: Available at cafés at the Rotorua Mountain Bike car park in the Waipa Valley, Waimangu Volcanic Valley, Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, Waikite Valley Thermal Pools and at Lake Okaro and the Waiotapu Tavern.
The best time to ride is in the summer between November and April.
However this will also be an enjoyable autumn and winter ride as there are plenty of warm water attractions and natural hot pools in the area.