Rides

Craters MTB Park – Taupo

Rating: 4 out of 5.

About Craters MTB Park

Situated next to the Craters of the Moon off Wairakei Drive just north of Taupo, Craters MTB park is yet another feather in the cap of the superb trail networks in the Taupo region.

Craters MTB park in Taupo boasts over 50kms of sweet single track goodness, managed and maintained by Bike Taupo.

With loamy volcanic pumice soil like many of the trails in the Central North Island, the park can be ridden year round. In the summer when the soil is dry the trails roll super-fast but the dust can be a bit slippery in places. In the winter when the soil is a bit more damp, the trails hook up like hero dirt.

As Craters MTB Park is a private park, membership is required for access. You can purchase a temporary (or annual) membership online prior to your ride from Bike Taupo.

Getting to Craters MTB Park

The MTB park has three car parks, all easy to get to from Taupo.

The main carpark is the new Hub carpark on Huka Falls Road, turn off Wairakei Drive and the carpark is next to the big shelter by the helicopter. 

There’s the old main carpark on Karapiti Road, turn off Wairakei Drive as if you were heading up to the Craters of the Moon and it is on your left hand side.

And there’s another carpark on Wairakei Drive. This is just next to the highway as you head back towards Taupo from the Hub Carpark opposite Q Line Road in the park.

You can also access the park from other trails. We have ridden in from Spa Park on the Huka Falls Track previously.

Other rides in the area

There are so many great trails in the area, you simply can’t enjoy all of them in a single day.

Adjoining the park is the awesome Huka Trails Loop. Nearby is the Great lake Trails network including the W2KWaihaha and Waihora trails.

Heading South is the Ohakune Old Coach Road and Fishers Track. Heading North is the Timber Trail and Whakarewarewa Forest Loop in Rotorua.

Pitstops

At the main Hub Carpark under the shelter, there’s an awesome tool rack and pump along with information boards about the area and the park. For food, there’s Kefi Café with some hearty food options pre or post ride. And FourB bike shop next to the Café has everything you might need for your bike or your ride, they also offer bike hire and shuttles too.

About 2 minutes north up Wairakei Drive, is a BP petrol station and cafe. And Wairakei Terrace Hot Pools next door is a great spot for a post ride soak and snack. Just note that the pools are for adults only.

Craters Mountain Bike Park / Wairakei Forest. on Trailforks.com

How does it ride

The trails at Craters are made with the same pumice rich volcanic soil found in the wider region. This means the soil drains well and the trails hold up year round. In summer when it is dry the dust and loam can get a little slippery but underneath is usually hardpack pumice and grippy. In winter or when there is a little moisture, the trails are sublime.

The park has a great range of trail grades, most are grade 2 and 3 making it very family friendly.

Bike Taupo has done a great job of creating suggested loop rides to cater to different fitness and skill levels. These start and end at the Hub shelter with the trails clearly marked.

When Teresa and I visited we decided to follow the orange “Loop Track C” for a 21km ride and both really enjoyed the variety of trails it offered.

Final thoughts

Craters MTB Park is nestled amongst some of New Zealand best trails and yet it is still very popular, that’s testament to how good the park is. It’s easily accessible from Taupo, it has a great mix of trails to keep thing interesting and it has superb amenities at the Hub Carpark, Kefi Café and FourB bike shop.

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