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Te Iringa Track

Mike Hopkins and Garett Buehler find an open section during an adventure on the Te Iringa Trail in the Kaimanawa Forest Park. Photo: Camilla Rutherford

Want to get away from it all and experience some of New Zealand's true backcountry? Then the Te Iringa Track awaits you. Carved deep into the remote Kaimanawa Forest Park, the 38km Te Iringa Track is a Grade 5 out-and-back adventure ride. This trail provides a challenge for even the most avid mountain bikers, with steep forested hills, stream crossings, wetlands and fallen trees. This special, challenging and technical trail should be ridden as an overnight excursion with a stay at Oamaru Hut. You'll be grinning from ear-to-ear by the time you emerge from this epic.

The Te Iringa Track is an amazing adventure ride that takes you deep into the Kaimanawa Ranges. You get an opportunity to ride amongst some of New Zealand's best native forest on a track that will challenge your skills, but reward you with a unique riding experience. The track has recently had a bit of a tidy up so is riding better than ever.

Rowan Sapsford, local rider and Bike Taupo chairman Share
Mike Hopkins makes the crossing over the old swingbridge on the Te Iringa Track, Kaimanawa Forest Park. Photo: Camilla Rutherford

Crossing this classic Doc swingbridge is just part of the Te Iringa Track's many appeals. Photo: Camilla Rutherford

Well respected international photographer Camilla Rutherford and a small group of professional mountain bikers chose to ride the trail as an overnight adventure recently. The international riders were blown away with "the feel of the place".

“We were in the bush line for most of the trail, but that was amazing in itself, and you end up going over a swingbridge which is really hard to push your bike on – it’s small and metal, before ending up on farmland for the last part of the trail,” Camilla recalls.

The full trail begins from Te Iringa campsite, with a 500m climb or hike-a-bike through steep landscapes and thick bush – be prepared to encounter fallen trees and other obstacles. You will need to be competent carrying your bike on this trail, as many sections are difficult to ride – even for the best riders. From the top, you can soak in the magnificent views before riding the singletrack down through native forest to the valley floor. Test your skills on the suspension bridge over the Kaipo River before continuing through boggy sections before reaching your overnight destination: Oamaru Hut. This 12-bunk standard Doc hut has heating and mattresses and is occupied on a first-in, first-served basis. Allow 4-6 hours to complete the 19km journey from the trailhead to the hut.

Garett Buehler, Casey Brown and Mike Hopkins relax at Oamaru Hut during an adventure on the Te Iringa Trail in the Kaimanawa Forest Park. Photo: Camilla Rutherford

Oamaru Hut is 19km in on the Te Iringa Track and the turnaround point for mountain bikers. Photo: Camilla Rutherford

For Camilla and her friends reaching Oamaru Hut was a real highlight.

“The trees were absolutely gigantic with whole ecosystems growing out of them and a real Lord of the Rings feel to it. It was beautiful bush. By the time we got to the hut, we realised that we needed to do it all again the next day. The downhill on the way back was a lot more technical, it is definitely an advanced trail,” Camilla smiles.

On the return leg, expect to be pushing your bike again.

This epic requires a good level of fitness, skill and endurance. Don't underestimate this track. If you're up for it, then this is certainly an epic backcountry adventure, recommended for riders looking for the ultimate long and technical ride experience with just a touch of madness about it.

An easy day trip (for advanced riders) can be achieved by riding in as far as the swingbridge (12.5km one way) and back to the campsite/carpark on Clements Mill Rd. Allow three hours each way for an experienced group of riders.

Another option for a day trip, is to get a helicopter ride with Heli-sika (around $300 per flight, which can take up to five riders) into the Oamaru Hut and then ride back out to the carpark.

Insider Tips

  • This is a real adventure ride, and there is limited phone coverage. We recommend taking a satellite locator beacon to ensure your safety.
  • This is a backcountry ride that has received a lot of attention in 2015 and 2016 to make it moire rideable. You'll still need to be a skilled rider and prepared to lift your bike over fallen trees and carry your bike through swampy terrain on occasion.
  • Entry to Oamaru Hut is on a first-in, first-served basis – it cannot be booked.

Getting There 

The Te Iringa Track 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 45km southeast of Taupo, and the best place to start is Te Iringa campsite and carpark, which lies just off Clement Mill Road.

Tell Me More

The Te Iringa Track is maintained by the Department of Conservation. We recommend visiting the DOC website for information on their services and tracks in New Zealand.

To explore all that Taupo has to offer visit Destination Great Lake Taupo

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