Motu Trails

RIDING THE TRAIL

The Motu Trails cater for a wide range of cycling abilities and fitness levels. You can ride anything from a short spin up to two or more days. You can even link all the trails together in one big loop. Find details on accommodation, shuttle, bike hire, food and heli-ride here: www.motutrails.co.nz

Dunes Trail (Grade 2 Easy) 10 km one way, 22 km return

This beautiful trail starts at the Pakowhaiki Otutaopuku Bridge (Memorial Park) in Opotiki and meanders along a spectacular stretch of coast to Jackson Rd (and the start of the Motu Road Trail).

Hugging the sand dunes, the trail provides excellent unspoilt views of the Pacific Ocean and rugged hinterland of the East Cape.

This is a Grade 2 (Easy) trail that caters for cyclists of all abilities and fitness levels. The trail has an easy gradient that is enjoyed by walkers, runners and cyclists.

The return journey of 20km can be comfortably ridden in two or three hours from either end with time to stop for a swim and a picnic along the way.

The Dunes Trail also provides a great warm-up for those preparing to tackle the more challenging Motu Road Trail.

Motu Road Trail (Grade 3 Intermediate) 67 km

This trail follows the historic coach road from Matawai (about 500m above sea level, climbing to almost 800m through the Raukumara Ranges) down to the Eastern Bay of Plenty coast.

This is a Grade 3 (Intermediate) trail through remote bush country wilderness. It can be ridden in either direction, but you’ll get the best views (and more downhill riding) starting from Matawai.

Just beyond the tiny settlement of Motu is a steep 3km climb, but the views from the top are worth it! The trail then follows the ridgeline where you’ll enjoy lots of freewheeling.

Then it’s mostly downhill en route to the coast, where the Motu Road Trail connects with the Dunes Trail to take you into Opotiki.

Avid riders seeking a more challenging ride to Opotiki can divert off the Motu Road Trail on to the more advanced Pakihi Track.

Pakihi Track (Grade 4 Advanced) 44 km

For cyclists, the Pakihi track is ONE-WAY from Motu Road towards Opotiki. It is not a trail to ride at high speed.

It starts 29km (about halfway) along the Motu Road Trail and includes 20km of advanced off-road riding through splendid isolation.

The largely downhill track takes you through magnificent bush, with wonderful panoramas that will demand many stops to appreciate the view. The trail crosses some 25 bridges, including a 35m swing bridge.

Pakihi Rd marks your return to civilisation with a 24km road ride through bush and farmland to Opotiki.

This is a Grade 4 (Advanced) trail that requires a reasonable level of fitness. The off-road section includes steep dropoffs that require a cautious approach.

Ride the Loop, (Grades 2-4 Easy-Advanced) 91km

You can have a taste of all three of the Motu Trails, starting and ending in Opotiki.

Head off along the Dunes Trail, which links directly with the bottom of the Motu Road Trail, which leads to the start of the Pakihi Track to take you back to Opotiki.

We recommend you take two days to ride the loop. The Pakihi Track can also be completed via the Otara Stopbank Trail back to Memorial Park in Opotiki.

Remember that while the Dunes Trail and Motu Road Trail are graded Easy and Intermediate, the Pakihi Track section of this ride is for advanced riders.

Getting There

Opotiki is in the heart of the Eastern Bay of Plenty, and is known as gateway to East Cape. Gisborne is New Zealand's eastern-most city.

Whakatane (45 minutes’ drive from Opotiki) and Gisborne (two hours) offer the nearest airports to Opotiki. Bus services connect Whakatane, Opotiki and Gisborne.

You can start your Motu Trails ride in Opotiki or Matawai/Motu. Matawai is approximately 70km from both Gisborne and Opotiki on State Highway 2.

There are shuttle services from Opotiki and Te Waiti (near Opotiki). You can be collected from Ohope, Whakatane, Rotorua, Tauranga and other locations (minimum numbers apply). Find details at motutrails.co.nz.

Visitor Information

Trail Partner

Inspiration, News and Updates

Majestic rugged mountains, spectacular glaciers, wild coastlines, emerald blue lakes - it’s all here and within reach. New Zealand boasts an amazing variety of landscapes and equally amazing biking. This ultimate 14 day adventure offers the perfect opportunity to ride 3 of the famous cycle trails allowing you to achi...

 

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‘Social licence’. You’ll have heard the term and have an idea what it means. But exactly what does it look like in the context of the New Zealand Cycle Trail? Cycle Journeys’ Geoff Gabites provides some perspective. When did you first come across ‘social licence’ and what does it mean to you? The week...
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Dunes Trail — Motu Rd Trail — Pakihi Track — Motu Trails Loop (1-3 days, 11-91km) Update, 21 December 2018: The Pakihi Track is open with the following cautions: Just below the suspension bridge (12km from Motu end/8km from Pakihi end) there is a six-metre-wide slip with a temporary section of track. Everyo...

 

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Stellar reading in the latest issue of NZ Cycling Journal for anyone who wants to explore the Motu Trails Cycleway, and beyond. Hot off the press, the cover story for Volume 8 of the magazine describes a three-day bike-packing trip from Whakatane to Opotiki, and on to Motu Road and Rere Falls Trail. Liam Friary...

 

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By Bennett & Slater When you venture out on one of the New Zealand Cycle Trail’s Great Rides, chances are you’ll encounter one of the many environmental restoration projects that have flourished alongside the trails. They follow in the tread marks of Wellington’s legendary Makara Peak Mountain Bike Park...

 

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TRAIL SAFETY UPDATE: Motu Trails (Pakihi Track) DATE: 20 July 2018 ISSUE:  The Pakihi Track is open again  A big thank-you to the DOC team who re-cut the track across the 40-metre-wide slip face, they have done a great job. The track over the slip is cut about 1-1.2 metres wide. The surface will take a wh...

 

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Motu Trails will benefit hugely from Aucklander Garth Barfoot’s $100,000 donation towards on-trail projects. Garth is a legend in the world of triathlon/IRONMAN, both for his many years of competing and for the major support he has given to the sport and to athletes. Now his support and generosity become a key ...

 

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TRAIL SAFETY UPDATE: Pakihi Track  DATE: 15 June 2018 ISSUE: PAKIHI TRACK IS CLOSED The major slip on the Pakihi Track has now been inspected by DOC. The Pakihi Track is closed, as a large slip approximately 40m across in width and 100m in length, has come down and taken out the track sited approximately 3...

 

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TRAIL SAFETY UPDATE: Motu Trails  DATE: 9 June 2018 ISSUE: Pakihi Track Slip PAKIHI TRACK ALERT: We have been alerted that there is a big slip on the Pakihi. It is difficult to get across. Until the slip is inspected, the Pakihi Track remains open however please be aware you may need to turn around. Exerc...

 

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TRAIL SAFETY UPDATE: Motu Trails DATE: 6 June 2018 ISSUE: Slip on the Motu Road We have been informed that the Motu Road is blocked by a slip near Toatoa. Updates will be provided as they come to hand. Please ride carefully. Thank you.   Update:  12 noon 6.6.18 - We are hopeful the slip will ...

 

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TRAIL SAFETY UPDATE:  Motu Trails DATE: 26 March 2018 ISSUE: Pakihi Track is now OPEN The Pakihi Track is again OPEN. DOC cleared the windfalls and some slips last week. Volunteers have done clearing on the lower track and at Boulders where the track has washed out. This Boulders solution is not perfect, b...

 

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TRAIL SAFETY UPDATE: Motu Trails DATE: 19 March 2018 ISSUE: Pakihi Track Closed DOC will be working on the Pakihi Track this week. To enable this work to happen safely, the track is closed for the week. We apologise for any inconvenience. The Motu Road, Dunes Trail and Rere Falls Trail are open. Thank yo...

 

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This Summer sees an exciting new addition for Motu Trails with the launch of guided tours on the Dunes Trail from 1 December.  Mighty Motu Bike Tours will offer guided trips on the popular section of trail and potentially beyond. Kenny McCracken of KG Kayaks will be running the tours.  As well as being local, he...

 

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TRAIL SAFETY UPDATE: Motu Trails (Pakihi Track) DATE: 27 November - 8 December 2017 ISSUE: DOC Contractors on the Pakihi Track Please note that between the 27 November and 8 December 2017 DOC Contractors will be carrying out work to the Pakihi Track section of the Motu Trails. Sections totalling around 100 ...

 

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Participants in the long-course of Sunday 29 October’s Rere Falls Trail Adventure Ride should perhaps give the Moutohora rail bridge a salute as they pedal by. The bridge, so long an icon of the Motu valley, was opened with great fanfare 100 years ago this November. It was part of an 8km section of railway line be...

 

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TRAIL SAFETY UPDATE:  Motu Trails DATE:  7 July 2017 SH2 CLOSURE FRI 6PM: Please note that State Highway 2, Waioeka Gorge, is CLOSED due to a large slip. Also, to avoid a safety hazard, Motu Road has been CLOSED to non-essential traffic. Motu Road remains open to residents and essential traffic and open f...

 

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It doesn’t matter who you are, there’s a bike ride for everyone with the third edition of the Motu Special mountain bike event on Sunday 27 August; and the second Rere Falls Trail Adventure Ride following on Sunday 29 October. The Motu Special has five different races: Weet-Bix Tomtit Special, Motu Community Hou...

 

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TRAIL SAFETY UPDATE: Motu Trails - Pakihi Track: OPEN. DATE: 19 April 2017 ISSUE: Pakihi Track OPEN The Pakihi Trach has had a full scoping by DOC today. The track is now open. The top half is largely unaffected by the recent weather but below the hut there are areas of loose rocks and small slips. The Paki...

 

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TRAIL SAFETY UPDATE: Motu Trails DATE: 12 April 2017 Please note DOC has closed the Pakihi Track until Tuesday. This is due to the severe weather forecast, which follows all the recent, so there's a significant risk of further slips and windfalls. The Dunes Trail and Motu Road remain open....

 

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The previously-announced logging operation in the Pakihi valley will commence the week of 16 January, with trucks rolling on the Pakihi road from the following week. This will be from a point about 3km from the road end, out to the end of the seal and up Otara road towards Opotiki. The operation will average 1-2...

 

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TRAIL SAFETY UPDATE: Pakihi Track along the Motu Trails DATE: 26 November 2016 ISSUE: Pakihi Track remains closed due to a major slip. Unfortunately, the Pakihi Track will remain closed until a permanent reinstatement of track has been completed. This is due to the level of hazard due to the slip. The track...

 

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It was with great sadness this week that we learned of the passing of Richard Coates. Richard was a long time advocate for the Motu Trails, and on the Motu Trails Charitable Trust since the very early days. Richard's support and significant contributions were evident in his presence at almost every meeting of the ...

 

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RADIATA WOODLOT HARVEST - 626 PAKAHI ROAD Forest Link plan to start the harvest of a small radiata woodlot at 626 Pakahi Road in the next few weeks. Road signs will be posted prior to the operation starting. The harvesting will be small scale, only producing an average of 1-2 truckloads per day once underway. The...

 

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Please note the Pakihi Track on the Motu Trails has a slip between bridges 18-19, and there is some other damage. Until the track is inspected it remains open. Extreme caution is advised, and it would be prudent to consider delaying a ride until the extent of the damage is clear. ...

 

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We are pleased to advise the Pakihi Track of the Motu Trails is now fully open for riders to enjoy. ...

 

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** PAKIHI TRACK IS CLOSED ** Please be advised the Pakihi Track section of the Motu Trails Cycleway is now closed until further notice. On Friday/Saturday 28 November there was a slip at the Pakihi bridge. With safety in mind, DOC has decided to close the Pakihi Track until the slip can be fully assessed over th...

 

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*MOTU TRAILS SAFETY ALERT* Please be advised that a slip has come down on the Motu Trails Cycleway at the uphill end of the Pakihi suspension bridge, and there are more rocks threatening to come down. DOC has been alerted, however the situation needs assessing before any decisions are made. It would be sen...

 

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Fantastic news announced today with another positive boost confirmed for the Motu Trails Charitable Trust, with funding support from the Department of Conservation. The Trust, which promotes the Motu Trails and activities associated with them, will receive $15,000 funding under DOC’s Community Conservation Partnersh...

 

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Taking place this Saturday 10th October is Opotiki's 22nd Motu Challenge. It's one of the country's premier multisport races, and regarded as the North Island’s premium multisport event. Previous winners include Richard and Elina Ussher, and Sam Clark among many other top-class athletes who have competed. A gruel...

 

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Many of Nga Haerenga's cycle trails are steeped in history and folklore. These recently sited Maori Pou (or poles) are a vibrant addition to the Motu Trails Cycleway, and make quite an impression with their commanding colourful presence. The Motu Trails offer incredible biking along stunning beaches and through native...

 

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Chris Southwood - Cycling Author
Pakihi Track is one of the most awe-inspiring mountain bike experiences on the planet. Carved through pristine native bush, it clings to the sides of steep gorges before snaking along the edge of the emerald Pakihi Stream. CHRIS SOUTHWOOD – Co-founder at Flow Mountain Bike