Motu Trails

OverviewTrail Status: Open

Dunes Trail — Motu Rd Trail — Pakihi Track — Motu Trails Loop (1-3 days, 11-91km)

The Motu Trails have it all, as riders are set free with awesome riding along stunning beaches and through native forest.

With three trails to choose from (or the option of combining them all) the Motu Trails offer a range of cycling itineraries depending on your age, fitness level and riding ability.

You can ride for a few hours or a few days, with trails ranging from an easy ride along the coast through to an advanced mountain bike ride deep in the bush. The Motu Trails also link to the Rere Falls Trail from Malawi to Gisborne.

The Dunes Trail is an easy gravel path running parallel with the coastline of the Bay of Plenty for 10km. It’s ideal for all riders and there is a shop next to the Tirohanga Beach Motor Camp selling ice creams and drinks – just the ticket for a beautiful summer’s day!

The Motu Road Trail goes from the end of the Dunes Trail to the rustic settlement of Matawai, 67km away. It follows a quiet country road past scenic farmland and through forested conservation reserves. There’s a solid 3km climb after the settlement of Motu that requires reasonable fitness, but the views over Motu Valley are worth it.

The Pakihi Track is the third trail in the Motu trilogy, and although it is mostly downhill it includes Grade 4 (Advanced) mountain biking on a narrow trail through remote native forest.

The 91km Loop Ride offers you a taste of all three of the Motu Trails, starting and ending your ride in Opotiki.

Opotiki activities

Opotiki is at the confluence of two rivers and several long, safe, sandy beaches are nearby. Steep hills, fast rivers, and dramatic coastlines surround the town, creating opportunities for adventure and exploration. Down the coast from the town a collection of bays provide good snorkelling and deep sea fishing. Opotiki’s beach culture, new BMX pump track at Memorial Park and sunny climate are attractive features, but its real character is revealed in the artwork on the main street and joyful murals covering walls all over town.

Motu Falls

Take a 5km detour from Motu to visit the beautiful Motu Falls on the wild Motu River. From the swing bridge over the river en route look out for grand old miro and rata. Birdlife is abundant here, from fantails and North Island Weka to Kereru and Kaka.

Be Prepared

The Motu Trails traverse a remote area of New Zealand. If you're planning a long ride you’ll need to go well prepared.

Toilets are available at the Hikuwai Reserve on the Dunes Trail, Matawai, Motu and at the start and end of the Pakihi Track.

All roads are open to the public so expect vehicles at any time. Take care crossing fords after heavy rain. There are two fords on the Motu Road Trail. The Motu Road Trail requires a reasonable level of fitness.

The Pakihi Track is well formed, and with 25 bridges, the gradient is almost all gentle downhill, dropping over 400m altitude over 21km. The track is rated advanced because in places, there are steep drop-offs to the side. A mountainbike is advised.

The full 91 km Motu Trails Loop of the Dunes Trail-Motu Road-Pakihi Track takes most riders 6-9 hours, in one or two days. Toatoa Farmstay or for the adventurous, the Pahiki Hut, are good options to stay. There are no shops beyond Opotiki and Tirohanga. Another option is to link in the heartland ride of Rere Falls Trail to create a stunning two-five day Coast to Coast adventure from Gisborne to Opotiki (or vice-versa).

All trails are signposted. You can get a trail map at Gisborne, Opotiki and Whakatane iSITES. Motu Trails Official Partners also have the trail map. Or you can download a trail brochure from motutrails.co.nz.

MOBILE PHONE COVERAGE: Coverage is very poor if not unavailable on most of the trails. You can get coverage on the Dunes Trail and coming back into town on the Pakihi Track.

DRINKING WATER: It’s recommended that you carry all your water. Tank water is available at Motu and water can be drawn from the river and streams along the route, however it is recommended that this be boiled (for 3 minutes), filtered or treated before drinking.

Weather Info

Take enough layers. The Motu Road Trail peaks at almost 800m altitude, and the start of the Pakihi Track is 600m altitude. At that height, it can get cool.

The Motu Trails offer you year-round riding. The Dunes Trail especially is warmed by the coastal Eastern Bay of Plenty environment. The upper sections of the Pakihi Track and Motu Road Trail can be cool in winter, but the riding surface is firm with little mud.

Trail Partner

Inspiration, News and Updates

No matter how old you are, whatever your fitness level may be, or the list of aches and pains, you can enjoy the fun, adventure, and health benefits that biking can bring. Whether you haven't ridden for years, or want to ride more regularly to get a little fitter, here's what you need to know to get started. Cycling...

 

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NEW MARKETING ROLE - TIMBER TRAIL Play a part in developing the Timber Trail cycleway, one of New Zealand’s Great Rides An opportunity has arisen for a person with a background in tourism marketing. We are looking for someone that has a keen interest in the Waitomo and Ruapehu Districts and who would like to a...
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Please note the Pakihi Track on the Motu Trails has a slip between bridges 18-19, and there is some other damage. Until the track is inspected it remains open. Extreme caution is advised, and it would be prudent to consider delaying a ride until the extent of the damage is clear. ...

 

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We are pleased to advise the Pakihi Track of the Motu Trails is now fully open for riders to enjoy. ...

 

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** PAKIHI TRACK IS CLOSED ** Please be advised the Pakihi Track section of the Motu Trails Cycleway is now closed until further notice. On Friday/Saturday 28 November there was a slip at the Pakihi bridge. With safety in mind, DOC has decided to close the Pakihi Track until the slip can be fully assessed over th...

 

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*MOTU TRAILS SAFETY ALERT* Please be advised that a slip has come down on the Motu Trails Cycleway at the uphill end of the Pakihi suspension bridge, and there are more rocks threatening to come down. DOC has been alerted, however the situation needs assessing before any decisions are made. It would be sen...

 

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Fantastic news announced today with another positive boost confirmed for the Motu Trails Charitable Trust, with funding support from the Department of Conservation. The Trust, which promotes the Motu Trails and activities associated with them, will receive $15,000 funding under DOC’s Community Conservation Partnersh...

 

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Taking place this Saturday 10th October is Opotiki's 22nd Motu Challenge. It's one of the country's premier multisport races, and regarded as the North Island’s premium multisport event. Previous winners include Richard and Elina Ussher, and Sam Clark among many other top-class athletes who have competed. A gruel...

 

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Many of Nga Haerenga's cycle trails are steeped in history and folklore. These recently sited Maori Pou (or poles) are a vibrant addition to the Motu Trails Cycleway, and make quite an impression with their commanding colourful presence. The Motu Trails offer incredible biking along stunning beaches and through native...

 

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Chris Southwood - Cycling Author
Pakihi Track is one of the most awe-inspiring mountain bike experiences on the planet. Carved through pristine native bush, it clings to the sides of steep gorges before snaking along the edge of the emerald Pakihi Stream. CHRIS SOUTHWOOD – Co-founder at Flow Mountain Bike