The Great Lake Trail is an excellent way to experience Lake Taupo, on an all-weather track through native forest. It is fantastically built, and provides hours of riding on smooth, flowy, shared-use single track. The Great Lake Trail is currently divided into three sections, 71 kilometres in total, and is suitable for riders of moderate fitness and skill. Cyclists can expect stunning views across Lake Taupo to Tongariro National Park and a pumice soil surface track allowing for all weather riding.
We suggest starting with the Waihaha Section. From there, a pre-booked water taxi can whisk you across to access the other two sections.
Waihaha Section (30 km)
On the Waihaha Section, expect some beautiful volcanic cliffs, gorges, and waterfalls, before descending down to the lake. Then follow the lake around to the Kotukutuku Landing, to meet your water taxi, taking you through to either Kinloch or Kawakawa Bay.
Kawakawa Section (20 km)
For the second section, starting from Whangamata Road, you have approximately nine kilometres of undulating single track that leaves you at Kawakawa Bay. It's a lovely spot for a swim, or if you wanted you could set up camp for the night. Leaving Kawakawa Bay, you have a well graded 4 km climb before the view opens up for stunning views out across Lake Taupo. Some thrilling downhill awaits, taking you to the peaceful little village of Kinloch. Here there are a number of cafes where you can grab some food or drink to enjoy by the lake.
W2K Section (21 km)
Leaving Kinloch for the W2K Section, you have another grunty but well graded climb - the track climbs for three or four kilometres before you have the option to turn off on the Headland Trail. This is an extra 9.5km loop on great single track, for more great views if you have the time and energy to add this loop to your trip. The trail joins back onto the main route, and finishes with a long, flowly downhill through native bush, leaving you at Whakaipo Bay.
Here you can get a lift back to Taupo, or alternatively ride the 15 kms back to town. This is a truly fantastic ride - arguably one of the best on the North Island.