Situated smack bang in the middle of the North Island Lake Taupo offers a huge array of outdoor activities including some of the country’s greatest riding. Recently accredited a silver ride area by the International Mountain Bike Association the tracks run through a variety of stunning landscapes including the geothermal Craters MTB Park-Wairakei Forest and alongside the spectacular Huka Falls. And after a hard day of biking a relaxing soak in one of the many hot pools is a must.
Taupo is watersports central - including trout fishing. There’s the mighty Waikato River and in the crater of an active supervolcano, beautiful Lake Taupo - NZ’s largest lake. Taupo’s extensive trail network includes Craters MTB Park: Grades 1-5, great views… Waikato River Trails: Grade 3-4, 100km!… Great Lake Trail: Grade 3, plus views of Tongariro National Park’s volcanoes… Rotary Ride: Grade 2, past the dramatic Huka Falls… And Te Iringa: Grade 5 - some of NZ’s most technical tracks!
My local ride that gets plenty of attention over the Christmas and New Year break when I am back visiting family in Kinloch, is the leg of the Great Lake Taupo Trail known as the W2K (Whakaipo to Kinloch) Headland Loop Track.
Our trip to Taupo was a long weekend away—four days, including travel to and from Wellington. We planned to ride a wide variety of trails: the Craters MTB Park-Wairakei Forest; Te Iringa, an old hunting route through remote Kaimanawa beech forest; the newly constructed Great Lake Trail; and, to break up the journey home, Tree Trunk Gorge, a track through volcanic plateau forest.
Once upon a time, sixty-year-olds' birthday parties were occasions to wear heels, elegant cocktail dresses, and go out for extravagant drinks. I forget what possessed me to join Sarah Kippenberger and friends on her sixtieth birthday mountain bike trip on the western side of Lake Taupo. We were going to ride the new section of the Great Lake Trail from Waihaha Bridge down to the lake at the Kotukutuku waterfall.