Great Lake Trail

Great Lake Trail, Taupo: Address, Phone Number, Great Lake Trail Reviews: 4.5/5

Great Lake Trail
4.5
Biking Trails • Hiking Trails
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The Great Lake Trail is a 70 kilometre purpose built mountain biking/walking/running trail situated close to Lake Taupo in the centre of New Zealand's North Island. The trail follows the western shore of Lake Taupo, and takes in stunning views across to the volcanic mountains of the Tongariro National Park. Anyone with a moderate level of fitness can, and should, experience The Great Trail.
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4.5
70 reviews
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silverferncaro
Auckland Central, New Zealand92 contributions
Mar 2022
We did the three separate trails of the Great Lakes in three days while on a one week central North Island holiday. While I had read you could do it in two days , I decided to make it a more relaxing trip.

Unfortunately on the Monday of our W2W ride, the weather was bad the night before and our water taxi was cancelled that night. This was one of the main reasons why I had wanted to do the ride so I was a little disappointed, especially as on the actual day of our ride the weather was perfect and the lake was calm.

As the trail is busier in the weekend I think the water taxi is geared more for weekend riders , with several crossings a day in the weekend depending on weather. I would definitely book early to ensure a place on the taxi as there are only limited trips.

Anyway, the W2W itself was a little trickier than I had expected. Having done the Timber trail and really enjoyed it, I expected the W2W to be similar or if not, easier. However I found that the extreme dry conditions, rocky pumice and narrow tracks in some parts plus a few severe switchbacks, made it actually more “technical” than the Timber trail. I had to really concentrate on the rocky bits and some of the uphill switch backs were a killer. Not ashamed to say I ended up with a severely bruised rib and we both had at least one major fall each!

As we didn’t have a water taxi, our bike shuttle provider organised for us to ride 4/5 of the track before we rode back the way we came . We then met him on the gravel road at the carpark between the two tracks for our shuttle rback to our accomodation .

The 2nd day was the w2k with the headland loop included. The start of the w2k from Kinloch felt like a bit of a uphill slog for 6 km but the headland loop made up for it with some really fun dips and wide corners. This was the most fun day for me. We started the day very late morning and finished early-mid arvo and had a nice nap before a yum Indian dinner in Taupo.

The last day we did the k2k as a loop starting and ending at Kinloch. This was a fun but longish day. I was dreading the uphill of Otaketake but after experiencing the W2W, it wasn’t as hard, and quite fun, although there is one severe uphill switchback that had us off our bikes. The Orakau was pretty much downhill and apart from a steepish but doable winding ride from the start of Kawakawa bay , the k2k to Kinloch, was pretty steady.

All up, it was a great three days and we did enjoy it, but its still not a trail to be taken lightly and can be a little tricky in places. I can also say, hand on heart, I though it was harder than the timber trail and we fell off more than we’d like to admit!

We saw a lot of people using e bikes, and I’m sure that may have made the trip a little easier, but you still need to concentrate on some of the switchbacks, and the narrowness of the track in places, and in the summer when the track is dry,rocky and dusty.

We took our own front suspension only ancient mountain bikes and then used Adventure shuttles with Garth London as we were staying at Whakaipo lodge.
Garth was great. His experience of the track and his advice and was very useful and his enthusiasm helped set us up for three good rides..
Written 22 March 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

stressbunny
Auckland Central, New Zealand247 contributions
Jul 2021
Enjoyed a glorious 5 hour ride anti-clockwise from Kinloch. The top exit onto Kawakawa Rd can be confusing though - you need to turn right and look for Whangamata carpark to rejoin the next track section. More sign posting here would help as we turned left, (watch out for aggressive magpies). Look forward to returning soon. Tracks in top condition
Written 12 July 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

William
Wellington, New Zealand40 contributions
Jun 2021
I needed to stop to catch my breath a few times on the W2K section but thoroughly enjoyed myself. The K2k was easier and no less fun.
Written 7 July 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

huggyfamily
Auckland, New Zealand4 contributions
Apr 2021
Have now cycled all 3 Great Lake Trails, each on a different trip to Taupo in the last four months. Enjoyed them all. The first one we did was K2K (December), loved it, especially now as it can be done as a loop from Kinloch. Couldn't wait to go down in January to do our second trail, the W2K (return), starting at Kinloch, doing the Headland Loop (great flowy mountain bike trail! and lovely views on a lovely day), then down to Whakaipo Bay, slept on the warm stones while my husband had a refreshing dip in the lake, then we cycled back to Kinloch - yes it was hard yakka going back up the hill (slow and steady wins the race), but oh what a joy it was sweeping back down to Kinloch in the late afternoon. Fabulous day. Finally in April we did Waihora and Waihaha, return (57km) - no water taxi for us! Started the day at 9am from the top of the Waihora track, a great 17km ride down to the bay (2 and a half hours), had a lovely picnic, then rode back up (2 and a half hours), rode the farm road to the top of Waihaha track (10km - one hour, with a break to see cute alpacas!), then down Waihaha track (13km (two hours, with breaks to see the beautiful views of the river, canyon, waterfall, and setting sun). Managed to finish back at the car at sundown, 5.45pm, just as it was getting dark. Exhilarating! We are in our fifties. We were so exhausted that when we got back to Taupo we sat for an hour in a thermal pool and went to bed at 8.30pm without bothering with dinner! We can't say which trail we liked best, as they were all different, and brilliantly built. I am writing this review because a lot of websites and reviews say "a water taxi is required" for the Waihora Bay trail. Well, we proved it isn't Just make sure you have enough daylight hours...
Written 21 April 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Tracey Anne
West Coast Region, New Zealand49 contributions
Feb 2020
We live in the West Coast of the South Island NZ. We came up to ride the Great Lakes Trail and the Waikato River Trail & the Timber Trail. The Taupo was our last trail to ride and what a way to finsih. There's something for everyone. very do-able and exciting. The track just flows and keeps on flowing ...such FUN!! We regret not having enough time to do it twice. WE"LL BE BACK!!
Written 9 March 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

dgmorland
Honolulu, HI2 contributions
Feb 2020
One of the best trails in NZ for beginner to intermediate riders. Beautiful scenery, lots of well maintained flowy trails.
Written 18 February 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Markyparknz
Wellington, New Zealand73 contributions
Dec 2019 • Friends
Parked at Kinloch and rode up the new Otaketake trail to Kawakawa Rd then linked through to Orakau down to lake and back to kinloch. About 3hrs all up, an hour up, an hour down and an hour home from kawakawa. New trail well designed, good gradients, lots of grade reversals and a heap of fun.
Written 29 December 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Jeanette M
Cairns, Australia475 contributions
Nov 2019
This trail gives you the feel for the sheer enormity of Lake Taupo. I did 6 hours of it in rain (from drizzle to full on) when horrid conditions precluded a sailboat trip to the Maoria petrogylphs. You walk through tony suburbs and attractive parkland. There are a few public toilets and water taps along the way. It's well signposted so you know just how far you've gone... and how long it will be to return to civilization.
Written 15 December 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Deb C
Tauranga, New Zealand4 contributions
Nov 2019
Really good to have an easy option to walk or cycle along the lake edge. Got to be better than taking the car all the time!
Written 5 December 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Dawn O
Santa Barbara, CA18 contributions
Dec 2019
We started at Kinloch and went out 5km and then returned. Sad that there aren’t any lookouts. Not many people on the trail apart from a few mountain bikers. Never made it as far as Kawakawa Bay.
Written 2 December 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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