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Western Okataina Walkway

Steve Charteris heads off for an adventure on the Western Okataina Walkway near Rotorua. Photo: Nick Lambert

The Western Okataina Walkway trail is a popular walking trail that was opened for mountain biking in 2012. This stunning adventure ride will provide you with a sense of achievement, as you soak in the beautiful vistas through the gaps in the tree cover. Keep an eye out for the stunning lakes that surround you. The 2-3 hour, Grade 3 trail hosts a range of terrain for riders to test their skills and endurance. This is 19km of backcountry bliss ... and another 19km back.

The Western Okataina Walkway is actually a very old forestry road that dates back to early last century. The road was used to extract rimu, totara, kahikatea and rata for building and export.

The track traverses through picturesque native bush, along a well-formed and wide trail. Part way into the trail, it begins to get more technical, with some rough terrain and some challenging hills to get your lungs working. At the high point you'll find the Whakapounakau Trig, located at 560m, where you can stop to find your breath and enjoy amazing views over the Bay of Plenty region. You'll want to get photos of Lake Rotorua and Lake Rotoiti from here. For riders that choose to ride there and back, there are some nice descents and a few sections that may prove unrideable for the less-skilled.

Steve Charteris heads off for an adventure on the Western Okataina Walkway near Rotorua. Photo: Nick Lambert

Steve Charteris heads off for an adventure on the Western Okataina Walkway near Rotorua. Photo: Nick Lambert

Insider Tips

  • Be prepared and confident when riding the exhilarating downhill section down to the Outdoor Education Centre, but remember, there is a steep climb back up from the bottom.
  • Stay off other tracks and trails in this area – they are off limits to mountain biking.

Getting There 

The Western Okataina trail is best accessed from Rotorua. Rotorua is a two-hour-forty-minute drive from Auckland Airport (216km) and an hour drive from Tauranga (70km). Rotorua is a one-hour-twenty-minute drive from Hamilton (98km). The trailhead start point is just 14km from Rotorua.

Tell Me More

The Western Okataina Walkway trail is maintained by the Department of Conservation. We recommend visiting the DOC website for information on their services and tracks in New Zealand.

We recommend visiting local ride website RideRotorua for the latest information on ride groups, coaching, and cycle services in the area.

To explore all that Rotorua has to offer, we recommend visiting the Destination Rotorua website.

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