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The Rotary Ride

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The Rotary Ride is a Grade 2 trail that meanders alongside the Waikato River from Taupo for 6km to the stunning Huka Falls. The undulating trail is a favourite for those connecting with Craters Mountain Bike Park, those keen to take in a view of the falls, or those keen to explore the trail beyond the falls.

The trail is mostly two-way, but features sections of one-way singletrack where the track splits for a short distance. Short climbs and stream crossings will be encountered as the trail snakes its way around gullies, farmland and through stands of trees towards the Huka Falls. A short climb up through native bush onto a ridge, leads to an area filled with tall pine trees and offers stunning views of the native bush and river below. From there it’s a gradual downhill ride to Huka Falls, New Zealand’s most highly visited natural attraction.

Watch: Explore Taupo's Rotary Ride

The Rotary Ride is the perfect sightseeing trail for those seeking a leisurely bike ride and is suitable for beginners and families. Huka Falls is impressive all year and there are lots of great vantage points to pause, rest, rehydrate and take in the power of the mighty Waikato River.

Allow a generous 2-3 hours to complete the 5.5km trail from Spa Thermal Park to Huka Falls and back.

Upon leaving Huka Falls there are several options. You can be picked up by car or shuttle and returned to town (or your car); you can take the 2.5km long Redwoods Trail back to town (or your car); or, if you’re feeling more adventurous, you could ride a further 7km up to the Aratiatia Dam. If booking a shuttle pick-up do so before you leave town.

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There are some fun sections of trail on the way to Huka Falls. Photo: Destination Great Lake Taupo

Aratiatia Dam (Waikato River Track and an additional 7km)

Allow 5-6 hours if you choose to continue on to Aratiatia Dam. When carrying on to Aratiatia Dam, there’s a short climb at first, but the trail eases and is suitable for most beginners. In the summer months (October to March) the flood gates on the dam open every two hours between 10am and 4pm, showing you what the river looked like before the dam was erected. It is a pretty impressive sight so time your ride appropriately. At the end of this trail, just head back along the trail the same way you came.

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There are plenty of good Huka Falls vantage points on the Rotary Ride, Taupo. Photo: Destination Great Lake Taupo

Insider Tips

  • Because of the free-draining pumice soils these trails can be ridden all year – water soaks in quickly and the surface maintains its great grip.
  • This trail is purpose-built for mountain biking, but walkers also make use of these trails, so make way for them and be courteous.

Getting There

Taupo is a three-and-a-half hour drive from Auckland Airport (264km) and an hour's drive from Rotorua (81km). Taupo is a two-hour drive from Hamilton (153km). The start of the Rotary Ride is just a short 5-10 minute ride from the heart of Taupo in Spa Thermal Park, which can be accessed via County Avenue, off Spa Road.

Tell Me More

The best place to look for all things Taupo is the Great Lake Taupo website.

A great source of information on the Taupo trails can be found at Bike Taupo

 

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