NZ MTB Ride Guide: Rotorua

Posted by Chris Dalziel on

Rotorua hardly needs an introduction but we're going to give you one anyway. Home of New Zealand Crankworx and multiple EWS race events Rotorua has infamous tracks. Whether it be skyline or Redwoods there's just so many ridiculously good trails to ride. Excited yet?

NZ MTB guide for Australian riders Rotorua


The Skyline Rotorua MTB park gives you the undeniable pleasure of taking the Gondola to the top, hassle free elevation. Offering a wide variety of trails with varying degrees of difficulty there are some great tracks here to enjoy. If the gondola experience is a big draw card for you you'll be loving it here. Other riders may prefer the 'Redwoods' due to their wider range of trails although, you'll be working harder for it.


This is the real highlight of Rotorua for most MTB riders. The trails here are covered by an amazing canopy of ferns the size of trees which keeps the dirt within the forest tacky and gripped up nearly all of the time.This dirt is matched with amazingly well built trails for you to enjoy. If you get some rain things are going to get greasy, be prepared! So how do you best access these great trails and make the most out of your time there?

NZ MTB guide for Australian riders Rotorua

Mountain Bike Rotorua shuttles is the clear choice to maximise your ride time in Rotorua. They offer a premium private shuttle option that can drop you off all over the mountain and pick you up form the end of your chosen trail. This first class service naturally comes at a higher price. Alternatively you can buy shuttle run cards and get the shuttle buses that operate on a set loop on the mountain. The trails in Rotorua are quite spread out so you should still bring a fresh set of legs with you if you want to check out a variety of trails. Check out the shuttle details on the MTB Rotorua website.

Although there are water fountains dotted around the hill we'd really recommend you take 1.5L minimum; two water bottles, a hydration pack, whatever works for you, check out our MTB hydration range here. The same goes for on trail repairs. A flat tyre is not only inconvenient but will cost you precious ride time so bring a tube and a multi tool with you at least.

Redwoods Trails

With so many to choose from where do we begin? Let's start with corners. You might of guessed it but this track has a lot of... corners. Fun, flowy berms from top to bottom, the track holds good speed with pedalling a rarity. Starting right at the shuttle drop off and finishing just about right at the pick up, this quick lap is great for a warm up, warm down or just generally a good time. 

NZ MTB guide for Australian riders Rotorua

Now that you've got the blood pumping you can get into some tech trails or keep the flow going. If you're feeling flowy check out 'Eagle Vs Shark', your typical flow trail on steroids. With less turns than other flow trails riders are able to hold high speeds as you duck and weave between the trees on your way down. Halfway down when you hit the clear cut you can check out the view across the lake at the picnic table before continuing your lap. From here you can complete the rest of 'Eagle Vs Shark' although you will have a decent pedal back to the shuttle. Alternatively there are many other trails to choose from if you continue along the fire road, most with less of a climb back to the shuttle.

NZ MTB guide for Australian riders Rotorua

Now for some tech, Rotorua has tonnes of it! 'Te Mounga' is a good first tech lap of the day for intermediate and advanced riders. Despite being a technical trail all the sections flow nicely together, the way a good track should. You'll be challenged with big, deep ruts and roots twisting your way down the mountain. A nice sampler to the tech at Rotorua.

NZ MTB guide for Australian riders Rotorua

What next? there's just so damn much to choose from and far too much to write about. Talk to the friendly crew at 'Mountain Bike Rotorua' for some recommendations or just pick one... you won't be disappointed!

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