Fifty km, mainly down hill back to TRM on the most spectacular bike trail in the region…
Recreational trail bikers who have enjoyed the Tongariro River Trail often ask if there are any other similar more challenging bike trails locally. There is a wonderful ride which we have deliberately tried to keep for TRM guests only. But now the secret is out…
On the weekend 11 ladies from Rotorua wanted to ride this trail and requested route description notes and maps etc. TRM regret we need to be careful about providing such personalised route maps and instructions online as we never know where they end up. i.e. Recently we ended up fielding complaints when bikers – who were not TRM inmates – discovered part of the trail had been closed off. If they had checked with us first we could have provided alternative options for the same track but only discovered the more recent earthworks which have blocked off the link afterwards.
In places where the trail veers off, warning markers have been tied on pine trees to indicate any change in direction. Nevertheless, we do get some riders concentrating so hard on biking they miss the markers and could get lost.
For TRM inmates we may also include a shuttle service to the start of the trail. The total distance is between 40 and 50 km depending on the route preference. The distance is reduced by much of the trail heading downhill, as the start is over 400m higher elevation than the finish on the Tongariro River Trail at TRM. Ebikers will not not care…
If you are looking for a new one-off Big Day Out biking experience then TRM bikers claim this is the best trail in NZ offering the most comprehensive mixture of central plateau trail riding available in the entire region. That is compelling positive feedback from tourist bikers.
Below is mainly a repeat of TRM’s report from November 2017 to warn about the wonderful scenic 3-4 hour bike ride back to Turangi. This is a trail that very few know about. That is deliberate! Good local knowledge is needed. For tourist trail bikers it is a good test providing heaps of variety and new surprises around every corner – it has a little bit of everything linking up several other interesting tracks.
It leads from SH1 to the Tree Trunk Gorge track located about 5 km east of the Desert Road (SH1), in the middle of nowhere, then it heads north back to Turangi along the eastern side of the upper Tongariro River on a DOC managed track to the Pillars of Hercules swing bridge (image on right). That is the easy bit to follow. Warning – you might get your feet wet crossing mountain streams.
Then a scenic feature of the ride is through some spectacular mature native bush providing a canopy over unsealed roads past remote DOC camping grounds where tramping tracks (Umukarikari and Urchins Tracks) lead into the Kaimanawas, eventually emerging from the bush onto the Poutu Dam.
Then follow a peculiar route linking several other tracks via the canal speed section under SH1 to a surprise compulsory rest stop to link with other forest trails, which offer so much variety they are beyond description, eventually linking back to TRM via the Tongariro River trail. Whew!
You can see from the images it also incorporates a speed section (traffic signs indicate a maximum speed of 30kmph – see photo) along the banks of the Poutu canal leading under SH1 near the outlet – Poutu Stream – from Lake Rotoaira. Confused? That is why our map is essential.
If this appeals then contact TRM for a booking to include our ‘exclusive’ map of the route – restricted to TRM guests only.
You will not find it on any other biking publication or website.
It takes about 4 hours depending on how much time bikers spend drooling over the scenery and inspecting the rest stop. The nominated halfway drink/rest stop is absolutely unique and the only one like this in NZ.
Long after you have forgotten the Kaimanawa trail route we promise you will remember the rest stop amenities, but we cannot give away too much over the net. It would spoil the surprise!
Ross Marshall has prepared detailed trail notes with individual distance references for each different stage and additional info on other historic sites nearby – which are available for TRM bikers. Strongly recommended.