Motu Trails Cycle Trails
Dunes Trail- easy, 19km
This beautiful trail starts at the Pakowhai ki Otutaopuku Bridge (at Memorial Park Reserve) in the township of Opotiki and meanders along the spectacular stretch of coast to Jackson Road, where it connects with the Motu Road Trail. The trail is a reflection of the natural beauty unique to the East Coast- unspoilt views of the Pacific Ocean and the rugged hinterland of the East Cape.
This is an easy trail that caters for cyclists, walkers and runners of all abilities and fitness levels, providing for an ideal family day out.
The return journey of 19km can be comfortably ridden in one day from either end - with plenty of time to stop for a swim or picnic along the way. The Dunes Trail also provides a great warm-up for those preparing to tackle the more challenging Motu Road Trail.
Tracks have also been formed along Opotiki’s stopbanks, so you can circumnavigate the town as part of the coastal experience (this also provides a link to the Pakihi Track back into town).
Parking is available at both ends of the trail with plenty of parking in town. A petrol station approximately 5km into the trail provides an essential stop for those needing some refreshments!
Toilets are located at Hikuwai Beach approximately 3km from the start of the trail.
Motu Road Trail –intermediate, 78km
The Motu Road Trail follows the historic Coach Road from Matawai (600m above sea level in the Raukumara ranges) down to the Bay of Plenty Coast. Opened in 1918, this road provided the first vehicle access through the ranges between Gisborne and the bay of Plenty.
This is an intermediate trail through remote bush country wilderness. It includes a number of moderate hill climbs that require a reasonable level of fitness. The Trail can be ridden from either direction- though you'll get the best views (and more downhill riding) starting from Matawai (for those cycling the Rere Falls Trail, this will connect to the Motu Road Trail at Matawai).
From the Matawai Hotel your ride begins with a gentle and relatively flat 14km ride to Motu. Here you can make a short 5km detour to the spectacular Motu Falls, Whinray and Motu Scenic Reserve. Motu School is situated at the junction of Motu Road and thanks to great community and District Council support, a newly erected shelter and toilet block is a welcome stop for many!
Leaving Motu, a steep 3km climb awaits you, but the breath-taking views you'll enjoy from the top make it all worth while! From here the road follows the easy contours of the ridgeline, where you'll enjoy lots of freewheeling. Then its mostly downhill en route to the coast, where the Motu Road Trail connects with the Dunes Trail to take you into Opotiki
If you're seeking a single track ride into Opotiki you can turn off the Motu Road onto the spectacular Pakihi Track.
Motu Trails Mountain Biking Trails
Pakihi Track - ADVANCED, 44km
The Pakihi Track is rich in history.
This legendary Maori trail later became a horse track used by European settlers crossing the divide. It extended from Whitikau down to the Pakihi Stream and out to Opotiki as a means to shift stock to Opotiki to avoid blocking the Coach Road with mobs of sheep or cattle. It fell largely into disuse after the Motu Coach Road was opened in 1918, but as part of the Motu Trails, it now provides a wonderful wilderness ride that has few equals.
The start of the Pakihi Track is 29km along the Motu Road Trail from Matawai (about halfway) and is well signposted.
This track provides a single track alternative to the Motu Road Trail for those riding from Matawai to Opotiki, or if you're starting and ending your ride in Opotiki, it makes up part of the 91km Loop Trail (you must ride down the Pakihi Track).
The Pakihi Track includes 20km of advanced off-road riding through splendid isolation. The largely downhill track takes you through magnificent busy with wonderful panoramas that will demand many stops in order to truly appreciate the view. The trail crosses some 24 bridges, including a 30-metre swingbridge.
Approximately 10km into the Pakihi Track, is the original DOC Pakihi Hut. For those wanting to tackle to the ride in two days, this hut offers a much needed rest and an opportunity to discover the natural beauty of the Urutawa Conservation Area.
Reaching the lower sections of the Pakihi Track, the track hugs the Pakihi Stream and the only sound accompanying the hum of your wheels, will be the steady flow of water cascading down numerous waterfalls. The Pakihi Road marks your return to civilisation with a 24km road ride, including 7km of gravel through bush and farmland to Opotiki.
The Pakihi Track is rated as an advanced trail as there are a number of steep drop-offs alongside the track. However, the track itself is not technically difficult and has a compact riding surface. For those who have limited mountain biking experience, we recommend walking sections that you may not be comfortable with.
The Pakihi Track is a ONE WAY track riding from Motu Road towards Opotiki. It is not a trail that is to be ridden at speed.
Loop Trail - ADVANCED, 91km
The Loop Trail offers you a taste of all three of the Motu Trails, starting and ending your ride in Opotiki.
Head off along the Dunes Trail, which links directly with the bottom of the Motu Road Trail. From here it will be mostly uphill riding as you head inland for about 40km to the start of the Pakihi Track, which takes you back into Opotiki.
We recommend you take 2-3 days to ride the Loop Trail, providing plenty of time for side trips into Matawai and Motu. Bear in mind that while the Dunes Trail and Motu Road Trail are graded easy and intermediate, the Pakihi Track section of this is ride is for advanced riders.
Best tackled over two or three days, you can also add on side-trips to Matawai and the Motu Falls.