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VIDEO: Nine Days in the Rotorua Redwoods
Aussie Surfers travel to Indonesia, Hawaii and the Maldives.
Aussie Snowboarders travel to Cananda, USA and Japan.
Aussie Mountain Bikers travel to Ö Rotorua.
Outside of MTB circles Rotorua is known for its boiling mud, geysers and other geothermal features but for mountain bikers Rotorua is the promised land .. and hereís why.
The Whakarewarea Forest, otherwise known as the Rotorua Redwoods, Whaka Forest, The Redwoods or simply "The Forest" is actually bigger than the ENTIRE skiable area of the Perisher Resort. In fact .. itís not just bigger itís almost DOUBLE the size.
Letís think about that. The Eyre T-bar on Mt Perisher and everything all the way to the far end of Smiggin Holes, then North Perisher, all of Blue Cow and donít forget Guthega. Thatís a WHAK-EN BIG FOREST!!
The Redwoods has 5 main peaks that kinda form a big semi-circle. The biggest peak (up Tawa Rd) has a greater vertical metre descent than any ski lifts in Australia with the exception of Thredbo, it has shuttle access almost to the top of the hill .. and ... it's a big AND ... there are six different ways down. Yeah I said 6. YES 6! Thatís not counting all the double black downhill trails, Under Billy a short alternate start to Billy T, a number of off shoots, parallel alternatives and some of the lower mountain trails that can turn your descent into a XC epic. From the top of the shuttle (and walk up a bit further in some cases) there are 6 different single track descents you can ride on your trail bike.
Corners Ė At absolutely BOLLOCKING fast speed from top to bottom no stops Ė 10 minutes. Most people take a few breaks on the way down.
Compare: Itís like riding Stromlos Luge Ö for 10 minutes!
Little Red Riding Huck and Huckleberry Hound Ė Huck-a-thon that requires way more balls than I have to ride at full pace. Runs adjacent to Corners but gets there a lot quicker and bigger with a far more time in the air.
Under Billy / G Rock / Chestnut Link / Roller Coaster - 20 minutes .. take out the XC section of the lower Roller Coaster its 15 minutes with almost zero pedal strokes. Replace Under Billy with Billy T and thereís an extra few minutes of fast descending, Ride Te Tihi-O-Tawa instead and you have an extra 6 minutes of steep rooty rutted madness.
Tuhoto Ariki will put more roots in your day than youíve seen in a year and itís off shoots Katatore and Hatu Patu were too good for many of the EWS riders at Crankworx.
For more photos from this trip check out our Facebook Gallery
There are some of you that have pulled out your phones and checked out these trails in the Rotorua Trailmapps App from the Apple App Store or Google Play App store. I assume youíve already booked your airfares. For those of you that just glossed over the detail lets quickly recap: all that stuff was just 1 of 5 peaks. Thatís a truck load more than any gravity trail centre in Australia and all I've mentioned so far is the 1, shuttle accessed peak.
There are roughly 100 single tracks in The Redwoods, thatís about the same as East Kowen but most trails are kilometres long and I count only 6 dedicated climbing trails, 10 XC trails (that typically have a reasonable descent) and a few trails that go both ways. The rest .. are designated descents and the reality is the Kiwis will ride most of them on whatever bike they pulled out of the shed on the day.
Allow me to briefly run through the other peaks.
Peak 2 - Tokorangi Pa / Katore Rd has 6 descents. Tokorangi/Turkist Delight (7 mins), Gunna Gotta (28 mins mainly because I was shitting myself a more reasonable time would be half that), Corridor, As You Do, Tank To Town and K2. Then you can also throw in Katore Jumps, the Tickler, Paddyís Run and No Can Do. But thereís a more descents that continue down on the lower slopes like Exit Trail (3 mins), Old Exit, Challenge (2 mins), Challenge Roadside, Boulderdash .. and more. And the view .. oh!
Peak 3 - Moerangi Rd Ė Kung Fu Walrus and Kung Fu Walrus Extension (14 minute first run on a slippery track) and the "World Famous in New Zealand" Split Enz (3.5 minutes) followed by Pondy DH which is the fastest Iíve ever ridden on single track (2 minutes). Plus a few Black runs featured in the EWS.
Peak 5 Ė Lookout Rd is out in the boonies and No Brains runs down from the top of long climb. Itís like North Perisher, itís there, itís a descent and a great view but not entirely sure why you go there more than once but it lends itself to developing great bullshit stories like "I remember back in 2015 when No Brains was so wet you could refill your water pack from the vapour coming off it". Gotta do it at least once.
There is no question that The Redwoods is an amazing place to descend but there is plenty of pedally action and I encourage you to look at some of the trails I did on my 2nd trip for more info. Also check out the Whaka 100 trail routes if you are serious about your XC kms. There is a HUGE array of forestry roads to get you around to the various single tracks and if you want climb then .. well .. thereís 5 peaks with dirt climbs that will bust your bits!
So thatís the facts .. what else can I say? The story of The Redwoods is in the facts.
This was my 3rd trip to The Redwoods in under 2 years and the truth be known 2 days after I arrived back I booked my next trip in January 2016. Itís really that good! However so far all Iíve talked about and all Iíve visited is The Redwoods, Rotorua has a WHOLE LOT more to offer mountain bikers.
Skyline Rotorua is a gravity park accessed by Gondola, a favourite with downhillers and people who generally like "park style" trails with berms and jumps.
Rainbow Mountain - talk about Rainbow Mountain to ANY Rotorua local and their eyes glaze over as they quietly get aroused. Apparently itís a pretty serious climb and everyone has to hike-a-bike a bit, but they say the descent is amazing! Details of this trail is included in the Rotorua Trailmapps App from the Apple App Store or Google Play App store.
Then if you want to get remote thereís a bunch of other stuff like full day 1 way rides, over-nighters, rail trails and bike packing etc. Google it if itís your thing but hereís a good starting point www.riderotorua.com
For more information on mountain biking in The Rotorua Redwoods check out my previous blog posts and videos.
Trail Centres and Trails featured in this blog
- East Kowen (Kowen Pine Forest, Canberra, ACT)
- Rotorua Redwoods (New Zealand, NZ)
- Thredbo Resort (Snowy Mountains, NSW)