3 September 2019
New forest loop to showcase iconic features of Rotorua
The idea of having a cycle loop around the Whakarewarewa and Tokorangi Forest has been thrown around by the community for years. It was one of the original concepts for the Te Ara Ahi alignment. For various reasons, this was unable to be constructed at the time. However, as part of the wider forest development project which is supported by MBIE’s Provincial Growth Fund, we have been working closely with Rotorua Trails Trust, CNI Iwi Holdings Ltd, and mana whenua, and can now make this concept a reality.
The Rotorua Trails Trust has taken this community idea and created a day long ride that will be achievable even for less experienced cyclists. The loop has been created around iconic features that Rotorua mountain biking is renowned for – fun trails, Māori culture, Redwood trees, geothermal activity, and stunning views.
Many of our partners are excited about having a loop trail that will showcase Rotorua biking to people who may not have had the opportunity to experience these iconic features on our current trails which are more advanced. We are also working with mana whenua to create a cultural overlay for the forest which will tell the story of the land and its people and this story will feature throughout the new forest loop.
The map below shows the city side of the new loop. The ride will run clockwise around the forest, across the Tokorangi Face (which overlooks the city), through the new Tarawera Road Forest Hub, past Lake Tikitapu, through to the existing Te Ara Ahi path on SH5 to connect to the Waipa mountain bike car park. The plan is for this loop to replace Te Ara Ahi as the New Zealand Cycle Trail ‘Great Ride’ in Rotorua. Te Ara Ahi will remain as a ‘Heartland Ride’.
Tenders are currently out to build the new trail sections for this loop. Five local trail building companies have put their hand up for this opportunity so far. We aim to have contracts awarded in October, with work to commence by November. Sections of trails will be ready to ride in early 2020, with the loop being officially opened in late 2020.
This work is part of the Whakarewarewa Forest development. This is a collaborative project between Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment, Te Komiti Nui O Ngāti Whakaue, Tūhourangi Tribal Authority, CNI Iwi Holdings, and Rotorua Lakes Council.
To keep up to date with progress at rotorualakescouncil.nz/forestdevelopment.