MOTU TRAILS

YOU WON’T GET BORED

Reading time: 3 minutes
Not for wimps – a short story

– “More than enough challenges on the Pakihi Track, but don’t forget to stop once and awhile to soak in the views!” –

CHALLENGE

From easy to average and ending with expert level. Sounds logical we thought. The Motu trails have a neat structure in difficulty level, but, as always, the sting is in de tail! We doubted for a long time if we also wanted to cycle the Pakihi Track: a mountain bike trail for the advanced mountain biker. One thing was for sure: that didn’t relate to us! Long distances; okay! Hills, gravel roads, harsh winds and rain? No problem! But experienced mountain bikers? Heck, no. Still, reading the route description, it seemed doable. Was it really that difficult?

No worries
To ease our minds we naturally did our research and asked knowledgeable Kiwis about the trail. And if Kiwis are good at one thing, than it’s in pep-talking. “Of course you guys can do that!, I did it myself, and do I look fit to you? You have good bikes, don’t you? No worries! My 65 year old sister just did it last Sunday.” To name just a few of the ease-of-minds we’ve got.

Sometimes challenging, but fun bridges!

Out of your comfort-zone
Lit by the never ending enthusiasm, we decided on ‘just’ doing the Pakihi Track. We would just see. No worries, hey? After our first fantastic day over the Dunes and the Motu Road Trail, time inevitably arrived to head onto the feared track. A few well-meant instructions from our lodging address in the back of our minds we sat off. “Step out of your comfort-zone and make sure to keep up the speed.” With that in mind, we started the adventure. And an adventure it definitely was!

Extreme concentration
In one word: nature was breathtaking! But the cycling was quite a challenge. This was a different ball game than relaxingly paddling through nature. 22 kilometers of utmost concentration, our noses touching the front wheels more than once and huffing and puffing all the way. Keeping up the speed, dodging rocks, narrowly passing steep drop-offs at high speed and getting off our bikes regularly to conquer rock debris.

Moral of this story?
We learned that the descriptions of the mountain bike tracks are sometimes a little bit on the optimistic side. Not only at the Pakihi track, but also on other trails. In real life they turn out to be just a bit harder and only suitable for the experienced mountain biker. Of you are one of those, you’re good to go. But if you are, like us, still practising a bit, make sure to get well informed and convince yourself that the track is suited for your skills. Talk to people who already rode it. Do ask thorough questions: what to expect and what exactly are the challenges. Gather and compare different sources (internet, travel guide, brochures, maps). So you won’t get in trouble and are assured of having an awesome bike ride and lots of fun!

Mountain Bikers dream come true!

Handy!
All bridges are numbered, therefore you always know at which point at the trail you are.

” Mount Maunganui. This 232 meter high distinct volcano offers an amazing view over Tauranga, White Island and Whale Island “

KEEN TO SEE THE PICS? JUST CLICK HERE!
OR GO STRAIGHT TO PRACTICAL STUFF

PRACTICAL STUFF

5 tips

Reading time: 3 minutes
5 handy tips

– make the most of your holiday! –

5 things you should check before you start cycling

You picked your trail, you know when you’re riding it and how many days? You also arranged your bike, accommodation and shuttle? Well, you’re all most ready to start paddling. We always use this little checklist just before we start riding. In this way we avoid unpleasant situations. Love to share it with you.

1. Check the latest weather report
Always check the latest weather report the day before and even on the day you start cycling. We noticed that the weather in New Zealand can change quickly. We use different weather apps, for example Rural Weahter App from MetService. You can also check the latest weather report at the local i-Sites, your accommodation or at the bike rental. Make sure you know what to expect!

2. Check the latest trail updates
Before you start riding check the trail updates. Due to heavy rainfall, some of the trails can be very muddy. Sometimes parts of the trail can be washed out and are impossible to ride. Also, rock slips can make cycling difficult. We use the trail websites or their Facebook to check the latest details. And we always asked the company where were rent our bikes. They’re a good source of information. Also for the fun stuff along the trails! Or check out the website of NZ Cycle Trails for the latest information on the trails.

3. Check your batteries
Don’t forget to charge the batteries of your camera, GoPro or mobile. And empty your memory cards. It happened to us a couple of times we missed out on some great views. They’re the only prove you’ve ridden this awesome trail. ☺

4. Check your food and water
Maybe you have to make a quick stop at the supermarket to stock up food, especially when you cycle in remote parts of the country. Bring enough food that gives you energy like bars, chocolate and nuts. And bring enough water, especially in summer when it gets hot.

5. Check your bike and repair kit
Are you renting a bike, the rental company makes sure the bike is suitable for your length and body. They also supply you with a helmet and repair kit. Bringing your own bike? Check if everything works: brakes, tiers et cetera. Don’t forget to bring your helmet and a repair kit.

Bonus tip!
When you cycle a multi-day trail, there’s always the question: Where do we safely park our car? Well here’re some tips which worked for us:

  • Most rental companies have a small parking (or even big one like Trail Journeys in Clyde) for their customers. Give them a call to find out!

  • Ask your accommodation if you can leave your car at their parking. Most of them don’t mind especially if you have spent the last few days at their place. Sometimes they ask a small fee.

  • Sometimes we left our car at the parking of the local i-site, like the i-Site in Opotiki when we cycled the Motu Trails.

  • Don’t know where to park, asked the people from the bike rental. They know where to find a cheap and safe public parking spots. Some of them have a safe storage for your valuables. We stored our stuff at the Marlborough Sounds Adventure Company in Picton when we cycled the Queen Charlotte Track.

     

 

” beautiful beaches, amazing views and dense forest “

PRACTICAL INFO

good to know

Some practical stuff

– good to know –

One of the most diverse trails

Motu Trails are a real joy to ride! You come across diverse landscapes. Besides beautiful beaches, amazing views and dense forest, you also find a lot of culture on your way. For example the impressive Maori statues and settlements. An awesome trail!

New Zealand Cycle Trails consist of 5 grades:

1. very easy
2. easy
3. intermediate
4. advanced
5. expert

We learned that grade 1, 2 and 3 is suitable for touring bikes. Take some steep climbs in account. Grade 4 and 5 are suitable for experienced and expert mountainbikers. The adventure stuff with obstacles, a lot of curves, hill climbs and steep drop-offs. Be aware, sometimes a cycle trail consists of several grades. Motu Trails is a good example: Dunes Trail is very easy, while the Pakihi Track is advanced.

Choices
You can ride all of the trails separately, but also also as a loop. Count on two days. The total distance of the loop is 91 kilometer. Make sure to take your time on the Pakihi track. It can be tricky due to rainfall, fallen rocks, plants, trees and mud on the track. Note: if you are an experienced mountain biker and ride the Pakihi trail for sports (or don’t care for views ;), than you can easily do it in one day. If you opt to ride the trail(s) separately instead of the loop, make sure to arrange transportation back to Opotiki, before you head out.

Visit New Zealand’s active volcano
Whakaari/White Island. Active volcano at the coast of Whakatane. Always visible when you cycle the Dunes Trail. You definitely sea dolphins on your way to the island.

Steam, bubbling mud and sulfur smells….

BACK TO WHERE YOU CAME FROM

In a nutshell

 : Eastland / Bay of Plenty

: 750 meters ( 6/7 % rise in elevation )

: 121 km ( without detours )

: 1 to 3 days, depending on your time, your shape and on what you like to see on your way

: Two-directional, except Pakihi Track (singletrack bit). This is one way for bikers. You can’t ride up the track. This is critical for safety.

 : 2 – 4

Three separate trails or one loop
Dunes Trail: follows the coastline, wonderful views on Bay of Plenty, islands and hills.
Motu Road Trail: picturesquely hilly landscape, dense forest, broad views, rivers and sheep.
Pakihi Track: dense native forest, streams and rivers.
Loop: Dunes Trail, most part of Motu Road Trail and Pakihi Track.

Distances
Dunes Trail: 10 km each way. Most people turn at the 9km mark.

Motu Road Trail: 67 km
Pakihi Track: 44 km. Of the 44km, only 20km is singletrack. The rest is mostly gravel and sealed road.
Loop: 91 km

Grades Trails
Dunes Trail: easy, slightly hilly
Motu Road Trail: average, some long climbs (not steep)
Pakihi Track: advanced and for experienced mountainbikers, slightly downhill, narrow and rocky paths, steep drop-offs, sharp curves.

Amount of days
Dunes Trail and Pakihi Trail: 1 day
Motu Road Trail: 1 or 2 days
Loop: 2 or 3 days

Accommodation
Limited amount of accommodation (farmstay, hostels, (free) camping)

Transport
Shuttlebus start- and endpoint. Do arrange yourself!

Tip:
You can ride all of the trails separately, but also also as a loop. Count on two days. The total distance of the loop is 91 kilometer. Make sure to take your time on the Pakihi track. It can be tricky due to rainfall, fallen rocks, plants, trees and mud on the track. Note: if you are an experienced mountain biker and ride the Pakihi trail for sports (or don’t care for views ;), than you can easily do it in one day. If you opt to ride the trail(s) separately instead of the loop, make sure to arrange transportation back to Opotiki, before you head out.

Tip 2:
Pakihi (singletrack bit) has markers every kilometre so you know exactly where you are. Pakihi (singletrack bit) is one way for bikers. You can’t ride up the track. This is critical for safety.

We rode the Motu Trails in two days and stayed one night at the Toatoa farm. It was an unforgettable experience. Hostess and host Maxime and Bob are wonderful people and made us feel completely at home. Thanks to the amazing (British) cooking talents of Maxime, our second day of cycling got a huge kick-start! And Bob’s humor even now sometimes still makes us smile….

Wow! What an awesome trail! The Motu Trails has it all. From dunes and beaches to dense forests, streams and rivers and serene valleys. With lots of Maori culture along the trail, which makes it even more interesting.

SOME EXTRA INFORMATION

25 COOL BRIDGES


The Pakihi Track follows the Pakihi stream over small forest path

Our pros and cons

Pros Dunes Trail

  • Deserted beaches

  • Magnificent views on Whale and White Island, New Zealand’s active volcano

  • Heaps of lovely smelling flowers and beautiful birds

  • Ice cream stop in the middle of the trail (Tirohanga Beach Motor Camp)

  • Beautiful picknick spots, also on the beach!

Pros Motu Road

  • Real wilderness experience

  • Fantastic valley vistas

  • 
’Wild’ horses

  • 
Unique opportunity to sleep on a farm in operation

Pros Pakihi Track

  • Dense primeval forest

  • Follows the beautiful Pakihi stream

  • Mostly slight downhill

  • 22 kilometer of challenging mountainbike track

  • DOC hut midway the track is a good spot to refuel

“Cons” Motu Road

  • Sometimes the climbs are pretty long, but doable for the fit cyclist

  • 
Keep in account the occasional car and therefore the eating of (some) dust on warm sunny days

  • Seize the chance if you spot a bench or picnic table; they’re scarce on the trail

“Cons” Dunes Trail

  • You have to get of your bike every now and then to pass narrow gates

“Cons” Pakihi Track

  • 22 kilometer over gravel and tarmac

  • Steep drop-offs and chances of rocks, debris, trees, mud and plants on the path

  • No cell phone coverage. Tip: At the i-SITE in Opotiki you can rent a “personal locator beacon” for emergencies. This is an emergency radio

PAKIHI TRACK

treasure

Cool bonus. Official trail video!

Have fun and an awesome cool time on the trail. We did!

ANOTHER CHANCE TO VIEW THE PICTURES!