The town of Taupo sits on the eastern edge of New Zealand's largest lake – Lake Taupo. It's a premier adventure hotspot with skiing, skydiving, kayaking, jetboating, bungy jumping and fishing within easy reach of the township. The mountain biking and cycling trails here have been recognised as being among the best in the world. It is no wonder Taupo has earned itself the tag as Nature's Ultimate Playground.
When it comes to off-road cycling Taupo is one of the best locations in New Zealand with a full compliment of trails from family friendly rides right through to remote backcountry adventure rides. The trails can be ridden throughout all seasons with easy access directly from the bustling hub of cafés and restaurants in the township. In 2012 the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) awarded Taupo with New Zealand's first ever Silver Ride Centre status, cementing it as one of the best trail centres in the world.
One of the key attractions of the area is the 71km Great Lake Trail, which is one of the jewels in the New Zealand Cycle Trails – Nga Haerenga. The Great Lake Trail has three distinct sections as it traces the arc of the lake from Waihaha back to Taupo. Pick a section for a great day out, or ride the whole trail if you're up for a big day out.
Families will want to explore the Lion's Walk Trail along the lakefront or the easier trails in Craters Mountain Bike Park, while those looking for a little more adventure should indulge in a Te Iringa or Tree Trunk Gorge journey.
Taupo is also the gateway to several other world-class trails including four more Great Rides of the New Zealand Cycle Trail: The Timber Trail, Mountains to Sea, Te Ara Ahi and Waikato River Trails.
Taupo should be on everyone's ride itinerary, but make sure you allow enough time to really explore these trails to discover for yourself why IMBA ranked it among the best in the world.
- Te Iringa is a unique backcountry experience in the Kaimanawas, Taupo. Photo: Camilla Rutherford
- A rider negotiates the backcountry Te Iringa trail in the Kaimanawas, Taupo. Photo: Camilla Rutherford
- A group of riders explore Craters Mountain Bike Park, Taupo, New Zealand. Photo: DGLT
- The Rotary Ride offers great views of Huka Falls, Taupo. Photo: DGLT