Ride the Great Lake Trail
The Great Lake Trail is made up of three main sections - Waihaha, Kawakawa and W2K. We recommend that you ride the trail from west (starting with Waihaha) to east (ending with W2K) for the best ride experience.
On the shores of Lake Taupo lies an epic mountain biking adventure. What began as a pipe dream for a crew of local trail builders has evolved into the stunning Great Lake Trail, a 71km grade 3 (intermediate) mountain biking and walking journey that will take you deep into the native bush surrounding the beautiful Lake Taupo.
The Great Lake Trail is one of the most popular trails of the New Zealand Cycle Trail network. 35,000 people per year ride or walk the trail which is accessible from the Great Lake Taupo region in the Central North Island of New Zealand.
There are three different sections of the Great Lake Trail (all grade 3, intermediate) that make up a total of 71km:
Cycle the whole trail in two or three days, or choose to ride individual sections. For the best experience, ride in a west to east direction (starting at Waihaha, ending at W2K).
If you choose to ride the trail in two days, ride Waihaha on day 1 and Kawakawa and W2K on day 2. If you are riding the trail in three days, ride Waihaha on day 1, Kawakawa on day 2 and W2K on day 3.
Make sure you arrange for all your bike shuttles and logistics before you begin for a hassle-free ride.
Click on the icons of this Google Map below to view more information about the Great Lake Trail such as start and end points, lookout spots, trail images and videos.
For the latest trail updates check out the Great Lake Trail Facebook page.
There are information boards and maps available at trail section heads and on the Kinloch Domain. The Kinloch Domain also has a shelter, bike wash facility and plenty of car parks. Here's an overview map of the Great Lake Trail.
See individual trail sections below for detailed information and directions.
The Great Lake Trail, like all trails in the Lake Taupo region, is rideable in all seasons and in all weather due to the free draining volcanic pumice trail surface. The trail was built and is maintained by Bike Taupo, a cycling advocacy group who are skilled and highly regarded trail builders. Their trails have gained international recognition with the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) through Taupo’s Silver Level Ride Centre status. Taupo was the first town in New Zealand to gain IMBA recognition.
Maps and mankys (cloth maps) can be purchased from Bike Taupo online here, or from a Taupo bike shop or the Taupo i-Site. By purchasing a map or manky you are supporting the maintenance of the Great Lake Trail and its facilities.
Ask The Local
An Epic Ride The Great Lake Trail is definitely one of the best mountain bike rides I've ever done. The views are mind blowing and the trail is in excellent condition. The water transfer to Kinloch at the end of the Waihaha section was the highlight of our day.~ Julie Shephard, Rotorua