Five Tips for an Enjoyable Bike Trip to Rotorua

Published: 7 May 2017

Biking is an excellent activity to try in Rotorua. The area has numerous trails that range from the easy, family-friendly tracks to the more technically challenging ones for expert riders. Before you go, here are some tips to help you fully enjoy your bike trip to Rotorua:

  1. Know your trail type – New Zealand Cycle Trail has a grading system that helps you understand the trail types and what skills are required to take it on. The grades range from 1 to 5, where 1 is the easiest and 5 is the most challenging.
    • Grade 1 is an off-road trail surface made with either firm gravel or sealed with concrete or asphalt. It is suitable for novice bikers and families.

    • Grade 2 are off-road trails that are predictable – mostly flat or with gentle climbs. These are suitable for beginners, families or occasional cyclists.

    • Grade 3 is Intermediate off-road trails that are narrow and may include hill climbs, steep drop-offs and small river crossings. It may have muddy sections and other obstacles such as roots and rocks. It is also the grade given to on-road trails with moderate traffic. This is suitable for more experienced cyclists.

    • Grade 4 are off-road trails that are narrow and have steep climbs and obstacles. Some areas may have poor traction and require walking. On-road trails have moderate vehicular traffic. This is best for fit and experienced cyclists over the age of 12.

    • Grade 5 is the most technically challenging trail. Off-road trails have steep long climbs and difficult descents with lots of rocks and drop-offs. Some walking is likely. On-road trails with this grade have high-traffic volumes. These are best for expert bikers who are highly experienced and have a high level of fitness.

  2. Understand bike etiquette – The Mountain Bike Association of New Zealand has developed a code to help foster positive attitude between different trail and road users. These include guidelines to respect others, respect the rules, respect the track and share the road.

  3. Keep it clean – In Rotorua and the rest of New Zealand, outdoor lovers often follow one overarching rule: Leave No Trace. This means taking out litter properly, being responsible with toilet waste and cleaning your shoes, bike and other equipment thoroughly. This is to avoid the spread of weeds and other environmental risks such as didymo and kauri dieback disease.

  4. Be prepared for weather changes and seasonal considerations – Generally, Rotorua enjoys a mild temperate climate because of its elevation, which translates to biking opportunities year-round. However, some nearby trails are sub-alpine and are prone to weather changes, so be prepared for these. Consider also the different weather conditions throughout the seasons. For instance, in winter (June – August) temperatures can fall below zero degrees Celsius at night. Frost forms on exposed trails and thaw in the morning, resulting in a muddy trail. Wear appropriate clothing for the season you will be heading to Rotorua for a bike trip.
  5. Get your gear together – One of the most important decisions you need to make before going on a Rotorua bike trip, is to decide what kind of bike to take or hire. There are a number of choices including touring bikes, single-speed bikes, children’s bikes, multi-geared bikes, comfort bikes or mountain bikes. Knowing the grade of your trail can also help you pick the right type of tyres (medium, wide, knobbly, road racing and more). Having a helmet is a no-brainer. If you intend to take on any trail with downhills, pad up. Knee pads are essential for downhill tracks, while elbow pads are good protective gear.