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UPDATE: 4 December 2016:
Winter storms saw a significant snow event causing considerable windfall and slip damage to the Moerangi Trail. DOC has done exemplary work, clearing the entire trail from Okahu Road through to the River Road trailhead. Get out there, the trail is in awesome shape!
Moerangi is deceptively hellish for what sounds like a moderate amount of 35 kilometres. Don't underestimate it - pack a lunch, plan on it being a big day in the saddle and you won't be disappointed.
As with any New Zealand native bush adventure, pack accordingly. Even if you start off in fine weather it may not end up that way. It is not unusual to get cold enough to snow on the Moerangi saddle in winter.
Most riders shuttle the track, being dropped off at Okahu Valley road end, riding the Moerangi trail through to the River Road carpark. With around 1000m of total climbing including some very long sustained climbs it rates as an epic category adventure.
A very good level of fitness is required and some technical skill as well - the last section is predominantly downhill and can be tricky in parts.
Although the trail surface is generally even and benched there are some steep drops to the side of narrow singletrack which deserve respect. Additionally, being an isolated track it is prone to weather events (slips and windfall).
As a D.O.C. trail it is shared use, two way. Riders often encounter walkers and hunters, so ride accordingly.
With three huts through the trail you have the opportunity to turn this into an over-nighter and break up the ride.
There is drinking water available at the huts. Because it is natural run-off from the hut roof collection system, either plan on bringing some filtration device; carrying enough water of your own that you don't need it; or treating it as an adventure to drink water from DOC huts or back-country rivers.
There is no cell phone coverage on any network throughout the whole trail*, so don't plan on calling for help - you have to go into it knowing that you'll get to the other end no matter what.
The Whirinaki Forest Park which offers the Moerangi track and easier Whirinaki trail loop is about 90km south east of Rotorua on State Highway 38. It is within an easy one hour drive of Rotorua.
From Murupara travel south east along Te Whaiti Rd. Once you reach Te Whaiti this road becomes Ruatahuna Rd. Continue along this road for a further 7.5 km until you reach a right hand turn to Okahu Valley Rd. The car park is 9 km south on Okahu Valley Rd. Alternatively, from Te Whaiti turn left onto Minginui Road and follow the signs to River Road car park.
Shuttle service is available from Blue Tui Shuttles.
* There is faint cell phone service on Telecom network at one specfic spot - the helicopter landing pad close the the summit of Moerangi saddle. Don't count on it, it is really only practical for emergency use, and the location is not easy to find if you're not familiar with the trail.
THE MOERANGI TRAIL IS NOW OPEN ,all the snow damage has be cleared .the track is in good order.
whirinaki forest holidays - 18/10/16 08:29am
3 of us rode this trail on 31.12.15. What a way to see in the New Year. The description below is spot on. We used Jailhouse Shuttles for drop off and pick and great service with a smile. The ride was excellent and a great downhill finish. Take plenty of food and water as it is a long day
Ralph Heading - 19/01/16 02:15pm
We rode this trail 2 weeks ago. The new description for this trail is in response to our experience. It is a tough ride but an enjoyable one. Prepare well and you will have a great time. Stunning trail in an old growth forest - amazing. Gregg Brown Editor - RideRotorua.com
Gregg Brown - 14/12/15 04:17pm