With a hint of summer in the air, it’s the perfect time to start planning your escape from the city and heading out for a ride that's within easy reach of the city. What better excuse do you need to see new places, explore destinations steeped in history and get fit while you’re at it?
It will take a bit of sweat, some effort, and a little bit of concentration, but the oomph will be worth it as you travel further from the ordinary to where the mountain bike trails of the Central North Island await. It's a whole other dimension from your city life.
Delve a little deeper and you'll get more out of your experience and closer to these destinations than ever before. We recommend that you include Hamilton & Waikato's Te Miro Mountain Bike Park, Rotorua’s Whakarewarewa Forest and Taupo’s Craters Mountain Bike Park in your list of must-dos. Each of these parks offers something for everyone from first-timers to the hard core and the family looking for adventure.
Discover the native bush wonders of Te Miro Mountain Bike Park – the perfect tonic for a stress-filled week of city life and a great prelude to the Whakarewarewa Forest.
As you delve deeper into the Whaka Forest network you will be culturally, socially and physically rewarded. Former junior downhill world champion Scarlett Hagen, of BikeSchool, recently did just that.
“The magnitude of the trails in Whakarewarewa Forest were greater than I had ever expected," she explains. "The trails provide a beautifully crafted authentic mountain biking experience on award-winning trails.”
After savouring the beautifully crafted trails in Rotorua (you'll need a day or two to quench your thirst or destroy your legs – whichever comes first), it’s a two-hour-drive to the beautiful Lake Taupo. Once here, we recommend riding The Craters Mountain Bike Park – a popular mountain biking area with trails varying from 2-5km in length and with lots of variety. If your legs are tired, you can ride for just a few hours, but if you’re feeling fresh then you can spend a full day riding here.
Seeing new places is one thing, but experiencing them is another. Riding through the Central North Island will deepen your journey. It will give you that personal access that doesn’t come from the seat of a tour bus, or out a car window. You will get more than a glimpse into the heartland New Zealand way of life. It is your ride, on your terms. You can go as slow or as fast as you like. The slap of ferns in your face and the smell of hero dirt at your feet will ensure your mind stays out of the city you left behind.