Waipa Valley Development

​​​​Waipa Valley is the southern gateway into Rotorua and the main entry point to Red Stag Timber​ (operating Waipa mill).

The area has developed over time into an important recreational access point into Whakarewarewa Forest, particularly for mountain biking. Developments to further enhance the recreational offerings from the mountain bike carpark, and to better manage use of Waipa State Mill Road for both forestry vehicles and recreational users is being progressed by Rotorua Lakes Council, Red Stag Investments and Red Stag Timber.​ 

A STORYBOARD is on-site at Waipa, outlining all the development work including completed projects and projects currently underway. View the full (3 panel) storyboard here



In response to community requests for investment in the popular recreation area, Council has committed to a 10-year revitalisation plan. The plan allows for funding of $1.08 million to be spent on the area during a 10-year period from 2016.

What’s already been done?​

In 2014 a toilet and shower facility was built. The innovative design includes a mountain bike track over the top of the twin toilet and shower blocks featuring 12 unisex toilets, four showers, changing space and provision for disabled users.  The artwork panels at the entrances were designed by Kereama Taepa and depict dragonflies, lizards, bike chains and gear spokes.

Waipa Toilets

The carpark adjacent to the toilet block received a full upgrade in 2016, including new kerbing, sealing and a bike wash station. 

Rotorua Lakes Council's BMX track bridge provides vehicle and bike access to the new BMX facility being built by the Rotorua BMX Club, on a site leased to them by Rotorua Lakes Council.

Great things to come - Development work​

BMX Facility

A community project with Rotorua Energy Charitable Trust, New Zealand Consumer Trust and Council support, as well as a growing list of sponsors coming on board.

​Construction work on the track is set to start in December 2017, with an expected opening date early to mid-2018.

​An unbeatable location

At the entrance to the Waipa Valley development, the BMX track facility will add to the activities already available in this mountain bike hub. Add to that, Rotorua is the biking capital of New Zealand and home to stop 'one' of the Crankworx World Tour (with an 11.3million viewing audience).

​This amazing location will support the vision to host major national and international BMX events and of becoming the BMX Centre of Excellence and training facility.

World class – creating something special

Leading global track designers Dirtz were engaged to design the best contemporary track possible, providing for both elite training and racing as well as young beginner development and progression.

The track will be one of only two tracks in New Zealand at a UCI standard, featuring two start ramps (8m and 5m high) and an elite super-cross track. The site will include outstanding skills development and support facilities including latest technology.​

Red Stag Investments - Commercial Development (currently underway)

Red Stag Investments, which own the open space surrounding the existing Waipa carpark, have embarked on the development of two commercial facilities.

  1. A commercial complex on the west side of the carpark with spaces available for a bike hire outlet, café, bar and other commercial and light tourism offerings to complement the recreational attractions within the forest. The build and fit out is due to be completed in summer (weather permitting) with most, if not all, of the spaces becoming operational during the summer season.
  2. A hot tub development to the east of the carpark, nestled beside the stream with a view into the forest. This development is being undertaken by Secret Spot Ltd, owned by local brothers Keith and Eric Kolver who hope to open to the public early in 2018. The bathing and spa experience close to the forest will complement and support the other mountain biking activities and tourism developments.
Red Stag Investments commercial developments (orange)
Stage 1 heavy traffic road (gold)
Stage 2 additional car parking (purple)

As part of Council's continued commitment to our 10-year revitalisation plan, Council's next stage(s) of work are as follows:

Stage 1 - Construction of a separate heavy traffic road

11 September – 18 December 2017 (weather dependent)

A heavy traffic bypass road will be constructed to the south of Waipa State Mill Road. This project is a Rotorua Lakes Council partnership with Red Stag Investments and Red Stag Timber​ to improve public safety by moving logging trucks off the section of Waipa Mill Road that has high recreational traffic use.

This has become more important with the mill now operating 24/7 which extends the time heavy traffic accesses the mill site.  Construction will take place between September and December 2017 (weather permitting). Impact on traffic using Waipa Valley will occur when the road construction extends to the entry of Waipa Mill Road, scheduled around December. Controls will be put in place to manage and minimise disruptions to access during this time.

​Stage 2 - Develop additional car parking

January – February 2018 (weather dependent)

Once heavy traffic is moved off Waipa State Mill Road, to provide safer access for recreational users, the road verges will be developed to provide more car parking spaces for recreational users of Waipa Valley. Safe crossing points will be incorporated into the design, along with landscaping features consistent with the main carpark.

This is scheduled to take place in January and February 2018. Controls will be put in place to manage and minimise disruptions to access during this time.

All timelines are weather dependent.​

Page reviewed: 01 Mar 2018 9:36am