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Great Lake Trail - Lake Taupo

 

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IP address logged as: 54.162.166.214

 

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The first part of the Great Lake Trail, approximately 33 kilometres, has already been constructed by Bike Taupo and includes the popular W2K Track from Whakipo to Kinloch and back.

The funding from Nga Haerenga, The New Zealand Cycle Trail project will be used to construct the remaining 60 kilometres of the track through to the Waihaha Road Bridge on State Highway 32.

A feasibility study is now being developed to confirm plans for the remainder of the trail. This study will involve pricing and checking the visions proposed in the concept plans to ensure the full trail can be built and will deliver what is promised. As part of its feasibility study, Bike Taupo is currently undergoing consultation with local landowners, the Department of Conservation, and other organisations.

The aim will be to achieve what will be a fantastic cycling experience in a part of the region which is otherwise hard to get to and has stunning scenery.good one to do along with Kinloch to Kawakawa Bay is this 14 and a bit kilometre trail above Lake Taupo that heads north to Whakaipo Bay.

FULL SIZE MAP

 

W2K - starting from Whakaipo Bay (you can also start in Kinloch and return) 

The steep climbout includes a couple of short, sharp switchbacks. But it is over quickly and the long run along the top section and the final 4km nto Kinloch is a lot of fun.

Over the first 5km the total height gained is around 190 metres, but it’s gradual and steady.

Built by the Taupo mountain biking community, W2K was opened in 2008. It’s dual usage and two-way, so you really have to focus and be aware you may meet oncoming walkers, runners or mountain bikers.

Trail width is variable – at times it’s singletrack - and sight lines are marginal in places. But it’s a mountain bike trail first, and the runners and walkers you meet are usually friendly and happy to give way. Once you get to the highest point between 540 and 550m, the trail plateaus out and you can get a good flow on. At the 13km mark, you start a steep and sharp descent. In the final kilometre, the drop is around 120m - you will be fully aware that the car is back at Kinloch and you will be climbing this on the way back!

W2K is well constructed, signage is good and it’s worth the road trip to Taupo.

It’s not technical, but you do need a reasonable level of fitness to enjoy the round trip.

Bike Taupo has a comprehensive maintenance plan in place for W2K and the Craters of the Moon, the mountain bike park north of the town, which is a good model for other clubs.

 

Kinloch to Kawakawa Bay - you can do this after W2K or as a separate ride out and back. Park up at Kinloch.

This is a beauty. A legal, dual use trail that is not in a commercial forest is rare enough in this neck of the woods, but one that is a lot of fun is unique - even when ridden at a safe speed (the walkers you may meet will appreciate this feature) and rewards the rider with drop dead views.

Kinloch is a plush little boaties holiday village on the north shore of Taupo, take SH1 north out of Taupo and follow signs.

Head west along the lake shore, but up on the level of the front row of houses. At the end of this grassy park you will come to the trailhead, all signposted with the mountain bikers' code. Follow the trail, it gets a bit vague because of a new subdivision, but it continues at the end of the second grassy area. You will find it where it sort of seems like it should be... Be ready for a very long 6km each way.

Keep your speed under control, firstly to preserve the shared status of the trail, secondly because there are a few places where drop dead views can become drop dead, period, if you are not paying attention.

At the high point you get an overlook to Kawakawa Bay, don't worry you will not miss it. You will know when you get there. From there it is a fantastic downhill to the water and a bit of a grovel back up - but worth it. Then there is a fast run back to Kinloch. This trail has been widened and softened over to match W2K a bit more and is part of a major extension of the round Taupo trail system.

The plan is to eventually go round the lake almost entire off-road.

 

More on the Great Lake Trail from Bike Taupo

 


Please ride within your limits, and be aware that trails can change with weather and heavy use from race events effecting their difficulty. Ride Rotorua will in no way be liable for any injury or damages arising from riding any of the trails listed on the Ride Rotorua website.

 

 

RIDERS COMMENTS:
Awesome, awesome trail - but do it with Kinloch as the mid-ride stop as there's no fresh water at Whakaipo Bay (ie start and finish at Whakaipo Bay). This way you also do the hardest climb first.

 

Jonathan Dodd - 06/04/10 02:59pm