I remember hearing rumours about a MTB park being planned for Wairoa way back in about 2016. Fast forward a few years and thanks to the efforts of the local sporting club Adventure Wairoa Inc, the Wairoa Mountain Bike Park became a reality.
After a recent chat with a friend, I was encouraged to go and check it out. So on a beaut Hawke’s Bay day in September, I took the opportunity to make the trip and ride the park for myself.
Getting to the park is relatively easy. It’s just a one and a half hour drive from Napier.
If you are travelling in from out of town via Napier. Take a right off the main highway before you get into town on Kitchener Street, another right on Clyde Road and then left on to Fraser Street.
If you are traveling from in Wairoa town, just follow Marine Parade around the waterfront to Kopu Road until you get to Fraser Street.
The park is opposite the cemetery and is very well sign posted.
For a bite and a coffee before or after your ride, I can highly recommend East End Café on Marine Parade. Also, while you are in town, you absolutely need to try one of Osler’s legendary pies.
How Does It Ride?
I must admit when I first saw the stats on the size of the park and the number of trails, I wasn’t really expecting much. That’s probably why I hadn’t made the trip earlier.
Yet despite its size, the park really packs in a good variety of trails that I thought flowed extremely well. The trails themselves are superbly built; I wouldn’t expect anything less from Southstar. The surface was fast rolling hardpack with very little standing water or mud, some good water management.
On arrival you have a couple of choices to get to the mid-point in the park at the northern map point. The 4×4 track “Links” which takes you on a direct route up or The Price You Pay (Grade 3) which zig zags up to the same place.
From here you can head out to the back of the park on one of the down trails, Fluffy’s Demise (3) or Piwaiwaka (4). These trails both ended up on the main up trail from the back of the park, La De Da (2) to the southern map point.
At the southern map point you can head along Hasta La Vista (2) to the parks highest point, where apparently, you can get a great view of Rocket Lab launches.
Here you have a choice of two great downhill flowing tracks, Whoop De Do (3) and Rogey Dodgey (2) which land you back on La De Da.
At the Southern Map point you can follow one of several down trails back down to the main gate map point, Bo Diddley (4) Te Ara Toka (4) and Grave Decent (3). Or, you can cut across to The Price You Pay on Crackers (2).
Because of how easy it is to get back up to the mid-point, sessioning these trails is easy. I found that as I became more familiar, I pushed myself a little faster each time. Good fun!
Overall I found the grade 4 trails, felt a touch harder than I’d expect, but anything with a gap had a bunny line and visibility of features was good.
Honestly, I wasn’t expecting much from the park the park before I visited. I had always thought I’d take my bike the next time I happened to be in the area and would eventually get to ride it. After having visited and ridden the park however, I regret not making the trip earlier.
You could make it an easy day trip from Napier. Or make it an overnighter, and swing by Gisborne to ride their mountain bike parks too. Let me know if you want a review of those?
So there it is, Wairoa MTB Park, a hidden gem and 100% worth the trip!
Official website: https://www.facebook.com/adventurewairoa
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