Hidden Gems: The Motu Trails

The eastern Bay of Plenty on the North Island, home to beautiful beaches and a gentle pace of life. The little coastal town of Opotiki makes a good base for exploring the trails.

What’s on offer
Three different trails, suitable for a variety of riding abilities. The Dunes Trail is an easy, 22km return ride perfect for beginners and families. It starts from Opotiki and follows the coastline to Jackson Road. 

The Motu Road Trail is a 67km one-way ride, suitable for intermediate bikers. It runs from Jackson Road to Matawai – connect with the Dunes Trail to start or finish your ride in Opotiki. You can ride in either direction, but there are more downhill sections if you start in Matawai. This track offers a great introduction to backcountry riding, without having to venture too far into the wilderness.

The Pakihi Track is for advanced riders only, and runs one-way only from Motu Road to Opotiki (44km). It runs through native forest before following the twists of the Pakihi River. Watch out for steep drops to the sides of the track. You can return to Opotiki via gravel and rural roads.

Combine all three rides for 91km of spectacular riding. It’s possible to ride the loop in one day, but most people take two days. Or, link the Motu Road Trail with the Rere Falls Trail and ride all the way to Gisborne.

What to see
The spectacular Motu Falls are worth a detour. They’re located 5km from Motu on the Motu Road Trail.

Hukutaia Domain, south of Opotiki, has a fine collection of native plants, including a 2000-year-old puriri tree.

Pakihi Hut, which stands high above the Pakihi River, provides a great spot for refuelling on the Pakihi Track (or spend the night and turn your ride into a leisurely overnighter).

The Rere Falls Trail will take you past Eastwoodhill Arboretum, home to 135 hectares of exotic and native trees.

Where to stay
Opotiki has lots of accommodation options. There’s also a shuttle service to get you to and from the tracks you want to ride. 

We can hook you up with bike hire, or combine bike hire and campervan hire for the ultimate road trip.

Have a great week,

Image: Beach Holiday Park by Robert Engberg. CC BY 2.0.