OverviewTrail Status: Open
Waihaha — Whakaipo Bay (2 days, 71km)
The stunning Great Lake Trail follows the shores of beautiful Lake Taupo, New Zealand’s largest lake, from Waihaha to Whakaipo Bay.
This trail was officially opened in April 2014 and provides 71km of all-weather riding through native forest with views across Lake Taupo to the majestic Tongariro National Park.
Riders have the option of riding the full trail over two days or choosing shorter options to suit fitness, experience and the time available. There are three sections of trail that can be ridden as standalone rides. A water taxi can ferry riders and bikes to four access points along the trail.
Taupo is an International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) Silver Level Ride Centre and the Great Lake Trail forms part of the Taupo trail network that has been awarded this recognition.
Lake Taupo – the ‘Great Lake’
Lake Taupo’s reputation as a trout-fishing haven stretches across the globe, and this is in no small part due to its massive size.
This is the biggest lake in Australasia and is roughly the size of Singapore.
An abundance of brown and rainbow trout can be fished all year round (with a licence). But this is just one activity of the many on offer; get a feel for the immensity of Lake Taupo by kayaking, canoeing, windsurfing or sailing.
Walk or mountain bike the tracks along the shore and you’ll be rewarded with sensational views.
Tongariro National Park
Views of this magnificent national park are visible along the trail. The park’s landscape and scenery range from desert to vast tussock land, mountain beech forest and wetlands.
The Great Lake Trail is a Grade3 (Intermediate) cycle trail, so a reasonable level of fitness is required to ride the entire trail. Mountain bikes with front suspension are recommended.
The Great Lake Trail can be ridden in all seasons due to its volcanic pumice surface, however the track can be slippery in places when wet. Knobbly mountain bike tyres are advisable at all times of the year.
There can be a cold wind blowing off the mountains, even in summer, and parts of the Great Lake Trail are exposed and remote, so be prepared.
MOBILE PHONE COVERAGE: Mobile phone coverage is available along some of the trail but not all of it.
DRINKING WATER: Carry enough drinking water for the entire trip
Despite the fact that Taupo has a moderate climate this area can be cold, especially in comparison to other areas in the North Island.
During the summer months, daytime temperatures range from 11 ̊ C to 25 ̊ C. During the winter, daytime temperatures range from 3 ̊ C to 12 ̊ C, with severe frosts.