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Level: Intermediate
Length: 60 mi (96.6 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: Network
Elevation: +1,196/1 ft
Total: 67 riders

Mountain Biking Whaka Forest - The Redwoods

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#4 of 387 mountain bike trails in New Zealand
#483 in the world

The Whaka (more correctly Whakarewarewa) Forest, also know as The Redwoods, is huge. There are over 160km (100 miles) of trails, most of them purpose-built singletrack through pine trees or native forest. There is plenty here to keep you smiling for weeks. You won't find a better network of trails in New Zealand.

The network is like a board of Snakes and Ladders. The ladders are the forest roads. Usually they go up. The Snakes are the narrow bike trails through that weave through the forest and they normally go down.

On your first visit or two you'll need the $5 map that's available from bike shops and the visitor centre. Even with the map, which is pretty horrible, you could waste a lot of time on the forest roads getting oriented and trying to find the good singletrack. While the network of trails is densely packed near the car park, they are VERY spread out in the hills behind.

All the singletrack is one way with signs at the beginning giving the grade and distance. They also have an exit sign.

There is a large car park at the Waipa State Mill Road entrance, along with bike shop, bike hire, cafe, toilets, shower and bike wash.

1. Beginners, easy riders...
If you're new to mountain biking, swallow your pride and take the Kids Loop. It starts just in from the Waipa car park and is clearly marked. You'll love it. Then try the Dipper - the best grade 2 trail on the planet. ---

2. Intermediate riders...
Head straight up to the trail called Challenge Roadside. Its a new style flow trail - machine made, wide, down-sloping, swooping corners, gentle jumps . Next head up to Red-Dot-Six on your map and try Dragon's Tail and Be Rude Not 2. They are narrower trails weaving through trees in the older style of most of the trails in the forest. The ultimate intermediate trail in the network is Split Enz. You can take the shuttle to avoid much of the long ride up to it. ---

3. Advanced riders...
Don't hesitate, get on the shuttle! Then try Billy T, Corners, Huckleberry Hound, Rock Drop, Eagle vs Shark and so on. ---

Several stunning trails start at Red-Dot-Nine on your map, near the top of the forest. Nearly all the best trails are accessible from here. The more often you come up here the more often you'll feel the magic of the forest. A multi-day, multi-person ticket for 20 rides will set you back $100. Their website has other options: The shuttle runs from Red-Dot-Seven on you map to Red-Dot-Nine, an altitude gain of 300 metres or 1000 feet. The timetable varies by season and day of the week. Check their website or Facebook feed for today's run times. Search for southstar shuttle.

The Whaka Forest trails are very spread out and there is a lot of down time riding on the forestry roads...
Very few new-school machine made flow trails...
There is a derth of good climbing singletrack...
Not much in the way of good table-top jumps or similar...
But who's complaining - Whaka Forest has it's own unique style and quality that you won't find anywhere else on the planet.

First added by Gregg_Brown on Mar 2, 2008. Last updated May 5, 2020. → add an update
Before you go
  • Drinking water: yes
  • Lift service: yes
  • Night riding: yes
  • Pump track: yes
  • Restrooms: yes
  • Fat bike grooming: yes
  • E-bikes allowed: unknown
  • Fee required: unknown
This trail information is user-generated. Help improve this information by suggesting a correction.
Getting there
From Rotorua take Highway 5 south to towards Taupo. Just out of town you'll see the Cycle Trails signs. Turn left into Waipa State Mill Road and the car park is on your left after only 200 metres. If you're riding from town, take the cycle track from downtown to the visitor centre on Long Mile Road. There are several other places you can get into the forest. A good one if you want to ride the shuttle - before long you will - is to drive past the Waipa car park to the end of Waipa Bypass Road and park there. Ride up Hill Road - it's the stairway to heaven!
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Whaka Forest - The Redwoods Trail map

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gksnewfy (on Aug 8, 2019)
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Wet (on Aug 7, 2019)
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Rider questions

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  • nzgringo

    Fantastic park for all skill levels

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  • kiwi_mtb

    Great place to ride...a maze of trail

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  • gksnewfy

    I'm so lucky to live 10km away from the carpark. The core network which is close to the carpark gets very busy at holiday times. But get out into the outer network and it will be quiet.

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  • Desperado

    Now I don't want to be negative - Whaka Forest is still the best bike park in New Zealand and it's world class but it's is starting to get a little dated! There is not much in the way of quality new-school machine made flow trails. And it's like they've never heard of climbing singletrack. You nearly always climb up forestry roads. The other thing is that it's very spread out so there is a lot of down-time spent on forestry roads. But I still love it - it does have a unique magic!

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  • Jamie Garrod

    This is my favorite place that I've ridden in the world. So many to quality trails to choose from with different styles and soft crashes (mostly).

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  • fergnago
    Reviewing Corners:

    Take a bow track builders!

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  • fergnago

    World class and for good reason! 140km of riding heaven. Put it on your bucket list now!

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  • Gayle Ilievski

    Amazing network of trails with something for everyone here

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  • Jim Cummings
    Reviewing Corners:

    A sumptuous smorgasbord of beautifully bermed corners. From start to finish, this trail is a feast of sensuous curves. If you like to catch some air with your curves, then try the parallel track called Huckleberry Hound.

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  • Jim Cummings

    Still New Zealand's premier mountain bike park with lots for everyone.

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  • olimoo

    Best "trail centre" type riding on the North Island. So many options you can spend days doing loops in the forest and not get bored. Twisty climbs, long runs with flowing berms, rocky, rooty switch back decsents. If i'm ever back on this side of the planet again it will be the first place i go with my bike.

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  • sjjkennedy
    Reviewing Corners:

    This is an outstanding flow trail with shuttle drop of and a few hucks thrown in to boot.

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