Photo copyright: Evan Freshwater

Te Ara Ahi – Thermal by Bike

OverviewTrail Status: Open

Rotorua — Waikite Valley (2 days, 48km)

This trail offers a 48km adventure through a thermal wonderland of steaming vents, bubbling mud pools and spectacular geysers.

Between the trail heads at Rotorua and the Waikite Valley Thermal Pools, this cycle trail takes riders to four significant geothermal fields: Whakarewarewa, Waimangu Volcanic Valley, Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland and Waikite Valley Thermal Springs. Each has its own unique geothermal features, including rare flora and fauna, and is rich in Maori history and folklore. Possibly the most famous of these is the Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve, located next to Te Puia (the New Zealand Maori Arts & Crafts Institute). Here you will also find Whakarewarewa Village, which has existed for over 700 years and is home to many families of the survivors of the 1886 eruption of Mt Tarawera.

Other unique features along the trail include the Lake Okaro restoration project (re-established wetland), Rainbow Mountain, Te Ranga Hot Pools and the Waikite Geothermal Field. Most of the geothermal areas are well established tourist attractions, with a wide range of amenities such as cafés, souvenir shops, toilets and bike storage facilities.

We recommend you take at least two days to ride this trail. And if you want more after that, Rotorua is a mountainbiking mecca, with a range of worldclass cycle trails to explore.

Whakarewarewa – The Living Maori Village

Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley incorporates a living, breathing Maori village that relies on geothermal power for the ease of everyday living. Throughout the day local residents act as village guides, providing a tour with a difference – from relaying village stories, to cooking meals and explaining how they use the natural landscape for bathing, washing clothes and predicting weather patterns. You can also see spine-tingling cultural performances including the haka, and taste delicious traditional Maori food.

Lake Rotorua

This picturesque lake is the second biggest in the North Island and is perfect for windsurfing, sailing and fishing. Tours are available to Mokoia Island, in the middle of the lake.

Be Prepared

MOBILE PHONE COVERAGE: Good coverage from the start of the trail at Princes Gates through to Waiotapu. No coverage on Waikite Valley Rd.

DRINKING WATER: Available at cafés at the Rotorua Mountain Bike car park in the Waipa Valley, Waimangu Volcanic Valley, Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, Waikite Valley Thermal Pools and at Lake Okaro and the Waiotapu Tavern.

Weather Info

The best time to ride is in the summer between November and April.

However this will also be an enjoyable autumn and winter ride as there are plenty of warm water attractions and natural hot pools in the area.

Trail Partner

Inspiration, News and Updates

Ride for Good is an exciting new community fundraising event taking place on The New Zealand Cycle Trail over Easter 2017. The exciting new off road cycling event is all set to take place on The New Zealand Cycle Trail, taking in some of the greatest views and scenery that you will experience anywhere in the world. ...


One of the most spectacular and challenging sections of the Pou Herenga Tai - Twin Coast Cycle Trail will be opened by the community this month. The final 28km Okaihau to Horeke leg of the 84km trail will be opened on 18 March with a morning cycle, run or walk event. It will be followed by a prize giving hosted b...
TE ARA AHI - TRAIL UPDATE - The Rotorua Lakes Council have confirmed the Sulphur Bay section of Te Ara Ahi has reopened. This section was closed yesterday while crews mopped up and extinguished a number of sulphur fires resulting from Sunday’s scrub fire. Riders are advised to stay on the trail at all times and not w...


There has been fire damage in a few places crossing the Te Ara Ahi Cycle Trail. There is no damage to bridges or infrastructure, however the Sulphur Point end of the Trail is currently closed. Riders are able to ride around the damaged area alongside the Te Ngae Road. Please ride safely and with caution until the trail...


Todd McClay, MP for Rotorua
Te Ara Ahi Trail: Nowhere else in the world can you get on a pushbike and ride for 47km past four geothermal attractions. TODD McCLAY – MP for Rotorua