Loop joins Great Rides network

Trail offers off-road mountain biking






The Whakarewarewa Forest Loop trail has been added to the Ngā Haerenga Great Rides network. Tourism and Economic and Regional Development Minister Stuart Nash officially opened the Rotorua trail last Friday and announced it would be added to the Great Rides network along with the Lake Dunstan Trail in Central Otago. Stuart said these were the first new cycle trails to be added to the Great Rides network in a decade. “The Whakarewarewa Forest Loop ride is a fantastic trail that offers a great off-road mountain biking experience. “Not only does it deliver in terms of a high-quality physical ride, it offers a taste of Māori culture, geothermal features and iconic Redwoods, with spectacular views over several lakes.” Stuart said it was good introduction to single-track off-road mountain biking and complemented the nearby intermediate level Great Rides, the Timber Trail and the Great Lakes Trail. “Being close to Rotorua, it gives trail users access to a wide range of visitor services, facilities and attractions. The trail has been developed thanks to a $7.09 million government investment from Kānoa in MBIE, and includes upgrades to Long Mile Rd and construction of Te Pūtake o Tawa — the carpark and mountain bike hub on Tarawera Rd. “It is a great example of effective collaboration between central and local government, the local community and iwi. It has the backing of the Rotorua Lakes Council to fund ongoing maintenance and operations by the Rotorua Trails Trust,” Stuart said. Joining the network opened the door to new funding, branding, research and marketing opportunities for the cycle trails. Great Ride trails are eligible for up to $45,000 per year in operational funding, plus potential support from an annual $1m contestable fund for maintenance and enhancements, and another fund to cover damage from ex treme events such as storms. The number of Great Rides has now grown to 23. The Whakarewarewa Forest Loop Trail replaces the nearby Te Ara Ahi Trail in the Great Rides network following a request from the Rotorua council. The Te Ara Ahi Trail will however remain in place. About Whakarewarewa Forest Loop The Whakarewarewa Forest Loop is 33km and mostly a Grade 2 track, with a couple of Grade 3 sections mixed in. The trail is within the Whakarewarewa and Tītokorangi forests and surrounding areas and is a mix of off-road single track, gravel forestry roads, and concrete pathway. The trail is close to Rotorua and offers access to a wide range of visitor services, facilities and attractions. Local iwi, Tūhourangi, Ngāti Whakaue and Ngā Hapū e Toru, have mana whenua over the land traversed by the trail.