Beginner mountain biking in the Whakarewarewa forest

The Whakarewarewa forest in Rotorua is one of our favourite places to ride, and it has so many happy memories including being the place that my kids well and truly took their training wheels off.

One of the things I get asked ALOT is what trails we like to ride, so I thought a good place to start would be beginner trails.

First up, lets discuss the different places there are to access the forest. This can be important if you are meeting friends there and want to make sure you are all heading for the same place. Also important to know where the trails I am talking about are best accessed from. There is;

🚵‍♀️ Redwoods visitor centre off Tarawera road on the way to Lake Tikitapu.

🚵‍♀️Black house, a carpark that is currently being developed further to include toilets  about 4km along the road to Lake Tikitapu and so named as there is an old house painted black opposite the carpark.

🚵‍♀️The main mountain bike carpark which is on Waipa State Mill Rd ( about 1km after the roundabout by Te Puia along SH5 on the road to Taupo). There are showers, toilets and a container café but there is development of a café complex and a spa complex. We call this Waipa carpark.

🚵‍♀️And finally, 8 mile gate carpark, about 2km further up Waipa State Mill road from the Waipa carpark and the best place to ride to the shuttle bus stop.

Now we can get to the rides…If you or your child dont have much experience riding, the Mokupuna loop is a lovely flat, wide, smooth 3km loop. Great for younger children. Accessed from the Redwoods visitor centre carpark area. The trail starts not far off the main road.

We started with our kids ( aged 4 and ½ and 8 with no experience of mountain biking ) on kids loop, Tahi and Dipper. These trails have more gradual slopes but still lovely wide, smooth trails. Accessed from the Waipa carpark.

While the trails are relatively well sign posted it does pay to have a map; you can take a photo of the map board, buy a map from the bike shop at Waipa carpark or download the Trailmapps app.

You could also check out my tips for riding with kids called Mud, Sweat and Tears.

Other things to do in Rotorua