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The Great Rides and Cycle Trails of New Zealand

Western Okataina Walkway

Regional Ride

Rotorua, North Island

This is a fantastic adventure ride that is only 11km from Rotorua and has recently been opened to MTBers by DOC for a two year trial period. 

It starts either at Millar Road or at the Waipungapunga car park off Lake Okataina Rd. It is a 2 way - dual use track so be aware that walkers and other mountain bikers might be going the other way.

The track can be ridden from either end.  From what we understand, it's best to start at the Miller road end, ride to the trig and then ride back the same way. There is no need to go down to the Outdoor Education Centre which then saves you a killer climb back up to the Whakapoungakau junction.

The track from Millar road starts off wide and well formed and passes through beautiful bush. After about 7km it narrows and gets a bit rougher making for some challenging hill climbs (but on the way back it makes for a fun descent!).

There are a couple of sections that are hike a bike but on the whole the track is mostly rideable.

Over all it is an undulating 12.5km to the trig with around 560m of climbing. From the trig there are amazing views all the way to the Bay of Plenty.

From the Whakapoungakau junction it is a 4.8km descent to the Outdoor Education centre - 4km of this is directly down - it is a fun and fast track where you quickly lose 300m.

The only problem with going down to the education centre is the fact you have to come back up and it is a steep climb up - the first 1km has gradients around 20-25%.

Once back at the junction it is a fun trip back to Millar road as there is more down than up on the way back (from the junction there is only around 250m of climbing back to Millar Rd).

Millar road is only a few kilometres from Lake Okareka which is a great spot to have swim. You can also camp here.