Craters Mountain Bike Park is a popular mountain biking network in Wairakei Forest on the outskirts of Taupo. The park features almost 50km of purpose-built Grade 2-5 trails. Using the linked tracks, riders can choose to ride for just a few hours, or take a full day to explore all the trails. Tree cover comes in the form of mostly pine forest, which has created angled and undulating terrain that rides well all-year around with a trail to suit the whole family. Best of all you can ride directly to the park from town if you have plenty of energy to burn.
Taupo local and well respected rider Ian Jensen said he was lucky to live so close to such a quality trail network.
"Craters Mountain Bike Park is simply the best singletrack riding close to Taupo for all abilities, in all weather and any time," he offered.
Craters Mountain Bike Park is simply the best singletrack riding close to Taupo for all abilities, in all weather and any time.Ian Jensen, local rider Share
Craters Mountain Bike Park was mostly built by volunteers over the past 20 years. Its close proximity to Taupo (6km) and fun trails make it extremely popular with locals and visitors alike. The park has an abundance of Grade 2-5 trails making it the perfect park for those new to mountain biking or those looking to improve their skills. The more challenging trails can be found to the north of the car parking area, with the easier trails to the south. The Grade 2-3 trails will suit beginner riders, providing flat, wide and smooth riding that inspires confidence. Intermediate and advanced riders will enjoy the flow of these trails, too. The Grade 3-4 trails contain some steep climbs, narrow tracks, jumps and technical obstacles.
Keep an eye out for steam rising out of the ground in some areas of the park – it borders Craters of the Moon and New Zealand's largest geothermal field.
Craters Mountain Bike Park is a managed area which means that all riders will need to purchase an annual (from $40) or weekly (from $5) membership through local bike shops and cafés, or online via www.biketaupo.org.nz
- Don’t worry about waiting for good weather, these are true all-weather trails thanks to the free-draining volcanic pumice soil they're built on.
- The great news is you don’t need to book a shuttle to get here. If you would like to ride to Craters Mountain Bike Park, simply follow the singletrack along the river trails from Taupo’s CBD.
- There's a café near the Craters Mountain Bike Park carpark area that sells memberships if you forget to arrange one in town.
- Make sure to check out Craters of the Moon – this geothermal landscape used to be a part of the park, but for safety reasons it can now only be explored on foot using the network of walkways.
Craters Mountain Bike Park is best accessed from Taupo. Taupo is a three-and-a-half hour drive from Auckland Airport (264km) and an hour drive from Rotorua (81km). Taupo is a two-hour drive from Hamilton (153km). The trailhead start point is 6km from the centre of Taupo in the Wairakei Forest, when driving north from Taupo township, turn left onto Karapiti Road, and the main carpark is on the left.
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The best place to look for all things Taupo is the Great Lake Taupo website.
For information on the New Zealand Cycle Trails, Nga Haerenga link into the NZCycleTrail website.