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Te Tihi-O-Tawa and onto Billy T   (2.25km)

Rotorua RedwoodsLast Update: 14/11/2015
Some trail names are made up, if there is a different name please let us know.

Video Uploaded: 18/1/2014

Difficulty - Intermediate - Advanced
Slope - Moderate - Steep
Space - Tight
Surface - Dirt - Eternal Puddles - Heavy leaf and branch litter - Roots - Rutted - Wood
Trail type - Single track


It's a trail I may well have never ridden had it not been for Gaz Sullivan of NZO recommending it.  I'm so glad I made the effort to ride it.  At the time it was the greatest trail I'd ever ridden.  Read on to hear why.

The Te Tihi-O-Tawa trail head is at the very top of the mountain and a serious climb up Tawa Rd from the shuttle drop off.  Strava tells me its only about 80m vertical but it feels a lot more and I only recall riding about 100m of the kilometre climb to the trail head before I was struggling to control my breathing and get air in.  I've only ever had this problem at high altitude and yet it happened 2 days in a row as I climbed the access trail.

Unfortunately you can't see much from the top of the mountain due to the high foliage. Maybe if you went bush bashing you could find a clearing but after a climb like that I didn't have the energy.

Te Tihi-O-Tawa shares the trail entrance with Tuhoto Ariki (read the notes before riding) it's well signposted where Te Tihi-O-Tawa forks off to the right.

Te Tihi-O-Tawa runs through natural forest.  Its very dark, thick, jungle like with beams of light slicing through the fern cover.   You really feel away from it all and the a sense of "I could crash up here and no one would ever find me" is all too real.

Te Tihi-O-Tawa is narrow and very natural with only a few slightly banked corners and other features to aid drainage.  Generally the trail is quite wet and due to the bazillion roots it makes for a technical and extremely slippery descent.  TTOT has also become quite rutted in places, especially in some of the steeper sections toward the lower end.

There are some nice flowy sections however for the most part the trail descends quite steeply.  It really has an immeasurable number of roots, ruts, bumps and stumps that come at you very quickly however when ridden at speed are they are more easily managed than when cruising.

Due to the tightness of the trail you are not going to hold anywhere near the speed of trails like CornersHuckleberry HoundBilly T or even Split Enz.  I found it a nice change of pace and fantastic trail to really test my ability to deal with technical situations with little to no warning.  I was totally buzzed after riding this trail.

If you're training for Gravity Enduro Racing .. you want to try this trail!

The video was taken on my first run down, upping the pace on my second run made the video unwatchable due to the camera movement.  It's not the greatest video due to the lighting and the vibrations however I think it gives a fairly accurate representation of how challenging and ... well AMAZINGLY FUN .. this trail is!

My new favourite trail .. Aaron January 2014

Te Tihi-O-Tawa merges with the bottom section of Billy T (as shown in the video), far more groomed than Te Tihi-O-Tawa.  It's more open, has a number of hucks, small berms and some nice technical sections.  There is also a KILLER drop that after 3 trips I still haven't considered dropping into.  On the other side is a massive gap jump that's just scary thinking about.  The alternate route is what I took on the video.

On the other side of the clearing the trail drops down through the forest reasonably quickly and quite rough over the past 2 years it's become more technical with the last rutted section at least twice as big as in the video.  There's a small gap jump - that I wussed in this video.

At the bottom of Billy T is Moerangi Rd from here you can turn left and climb up to Split Enz (highly recommended) or head more or less over the road to G Rock which is not dissimilar to Billy T.

Do yourself a favour.  Make the climb up Tawa Rd from the shuttle drop off and ride Te Tihi-O-Tawa.

Blog articles that mention this trail


This website is brought to you by MTB weekend warrior Aaron Markie.
There are plenty of great websites out there with a wealth of information about Mountain Bike Trails,
however in my experience its hard to get a good mix of info, maps, photos and videos of trails I've never ridden.
The idea of this website is to tie those 4 elements together and give you a more detailed look at the MTB Trails I ride.
If you have anything to add then let me know.