Photo copyright: Bike Taupo

Great Lake Trail

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.

Be Prepared

It doesn’t take long to plan. We’ve developed a guide with the NZ Mountain Safety Council to help you. Read and download the guide FREE and ensure you’re prepared for the following.

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

Weather Info

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.

Trail Partner

Inspiration, News and Updates

Lindy Chinnery lives in Lawrence and is our most recent winner of two super Kennett Brothers books for completing a getSmart Survey for the Trails. Lindy is a real adventurer, having recently completed a 1700 km solo biking and camping trip through Canada and the West Coast of the USA. We asked Lindy to share som...


If you’re keen to explore the idea of a manageable back-country ride, take a look at the super new Timber Trail website and learn a little more about one of New Zealand’s best mountain bike wilderness adventures. Since opening in 2013, the 84km Timber Trail through the Pureora Forest in the central North Island ...
TRAIL SAFETY UPDATE: Great Lake Trail DATE: 26 October 2017 PLEASE NOTE THE TRAIL IS NOW FULLY OPEN   TRAIL SAFETY UPDATE: Great Lake Trail DATE: 8 April 2017 ISSUE: Slips and trees down along the trail We have been advised there are two major slips at Kotukutuku. Also the Zig Zags in the bush comi...


Rowan Sapsford - Bike Taupo
The Great Lake Trail offers an exciting opportunity for cyclists and walkers to enjoy the awesome scenery of the western shores of Lake Taupo. The trail complements the region as a year-round cycling destination. ROWAN SAPSFORD – Chair, Bike Taupo