Mountain Biking around Turangi & Tongariro
Bring your mountain bike on your next visit to Turangi as there are many mountain biking trails popular with locals and visitors alike.
Tongariro River Trail
The Tongariro River Trail suits everyone from children with their parents who want to ride some of the flat sections, to those experienced bikers who want to zip out for a quick two hour blast.
The track traverses low forest and is a mixture of compacted dirt and compacted gravel, perfect for biking, but take care as walkers and fishermen share the track.
Tree Trunk Gorge
Further afield is the Pillars of Hercules/Tree Trunk Gorge trail. 15 kilometres south of Turangi off Kaimanawa Road, this track is more for the experienced mountain biker. Park at the Pillars of Hercules car park and ride to the Tree Trunk Gorge track and return; it takes about two hours.
If wanting an awesome two and a half hour loop, park at the Pillars of Hercules Bridge car park, cross the suspension bridge and ride about half an hour gradually uphill through Manuka trees, until reaching the Desert Road on State Highway One (SH1). Turn left and ride 10 minutes on SH1 (there is a wide shoulder), turn left onto Tree Trunk Gorge road and ride on tarseal road for about 15 minutes until reaching a bridge. Cross the bridge, turn left, and ride up a gravel road for five minutes until reaching the Tree Trunk Gorge sign. Ride up a steep rocky track and back down again to the river. Cross the river and you are on a graded dirt track riding through beautiful beech forest back to the Tree Trunk Gorge campsite. You can choose to ride the twisty track back to the Pillars car park or take the gravel road – predominantly downhill so a fast and fun way to get back to the car park.
Another option is to take the road (the gravel turns into tarseal) all the way back to SH1; continue on the main road, mostly downhill before turning in at Red Hut Bridge and ride the Tongariro River Trail back.
The Great Lake Taupo region is fast becoming a force to be reckoned with, with its many new mountain biking trails. Another popular one, 40 minutes from Turangi, is the new Waihaha track on State Highway 32. Park just past the Waihaha Hut track sign on the lake side of the road, and head towards the lake. It is about three to four hours and relatively easy, so is a great Sunday afternoon ride to do with the kids and a picnic.
If you don't have a mountain bike with you and you're wondering what to do in Turangi, there are a couple of places where you can hire them – just ask at the Turangi information centre called Turangi i-Site. They can also supply you with a bike map.
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