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The Great Rides and Cycle Trails of New Zealand

Wairakei Forest (Craters of the Moon)

Regional Ride

Lake Taupo, North Island

Wairakei Forest contains a series of purpose-built windy trails for all levels of ability through mostly pine forest.

Accessing the area is only a short 6 kilometer ride or drive out of town on State Highway 1 (turn left into Karapiti Road about 5 kilometers along SH1, almost opposite the signposted Helistar Hub Cafe, and then left again onto Pylon Rd - hundred meters after the horse Treks on Karapiti Rd).  But a much better option is to take either the 4km Rotary Ride or Redwoods Track out to the Huka Falls and then up to the  Helistar Hub Cafe where there is a tunnel which takes you under the road leading to the Wairakei Forest Tracks.  Follow the Inward Goods and Tourist Trap tracks to take you to the main carpark area. 

The best way to explore the Wairakei Mtb Park is to grab a map either in town or at the Helistar cafe. 

Tracks are Graded:

Grade 1: Fairly flat, wide and smooth, forest roads, Beginners.
Grade 2: Gentle Climbs and easy avoidable obstacles. Beginners.
Grade 3: Challenging, steep slopes, tricky obstacles, narrow track, require some experience and fitness.
Grade 4: Long steep climbs, steep drop offs, gnarly obstacles to avoid or jump over.

The harder trails are to the North of the carparking area and the easiest to the south.  A great Grade 2 start is to take the Tourist Trap ride all the way round. 

The Ground Effect Grinder will take you to the top on a North-easterly direction and then quite simply pick your own tracks back down - try Buzzard and Son of Buzzard (both Grade 4).  At the very northern end of the park you will find a fabulous Grade 3 trail called Outback - continue along Karapiti Rd taking the first right around the edge of the golf course; Outback heads in a counter clockwise direction from the intersection with Laneway.    

One of the most raved about things of the Craters of Moon area is the way the tracks all flow and the less developed nature compared to Whirinaki and Whakarewarewa Forest Parks in nearby Rotorua.


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