24 Sep

Motu Trails

Exploring the Motu Trails of the East Cape of New Zealand

If you’re looking for a unique and exciting cycling adventure, look no further than the Motu Trails on the East Cape of New Zealand. This trail network offers a fantastic mix of stunning natural beauty, rich history, and cycling experiences that will satisfy even the adventurous cyclists. And the best part? These trails were in part built and are maintained by local volunteers who have poured their heart and soul into creating this amazing cycling network.

The Motu Trails are a collection of trails that have been developed over recent years, with the help of volunteers, to provide a range of cycling experiences for visitors to the region. They offer a diverse range of trails, including the popular 10 kms Dunes Trail, which runs along the stunning coastline and offers breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and Whakaari/White Island. The 19 km downhill Pakihi Track is another popular trail that takes you from a high point on Motu Rd all the way down to Opotiki following the Otara River on your right.

One of the most impressive things about the Motu Trails is the excellent development of the network. The local volunteers have worked tirelessly to create and maintain these trails, ensuring that they are safe, accessible, and enjoyable for visitors of all ages and grade 1-4 skill levels. Thanks to their hard work, the trails are now a top cycling destination, attracting visitors from all over New Zealand. TracknTrail is a financial supporter of the trails.

If you’re planning a cycling trip to the Motu Trails, we recommend starting and finishing in the town of Opotiki. From here, you can ride the Dunes Trail, which takes you through the scenic coastal landscape and past historic sites, such as the Waiotahi and Ohiwa Beach Pa sites. You can take a break and enjoy a picnic at one of the many rest areas along the way.

Next, you can continue on to Motu Road, which takes you through the heart of the Motu River Valley. Along the way, you’ll experience stunning views of the valley and have the opportunity to visit the historic Te Waha o Rerekohu Church. After completing Motu Road, you’ll reach the Pakihi Track head, where you can take a break and enjoy the scenery before heading downhill and back to Opotiki.

The trails get their name from the local Maori word “Motu,” which means island or piece of land surrounded by water. This is a fitting name for the region, as it is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean and the Motu River.

It’s worth noting that while the Motu Trails are a fantastic cycling experience, they can also be remote and challenging. Visitors should come prepared with their own puncture repair kit, wet weather gear, and other essential supplies like high-energy snacks. It’s also important to note that there is no cell phone coverage in some areas, so it’s a good idea to bring a personal locator beacon or another communication device just in case.

The Motu Trails are also part of the Kopiko Aotearoa backpacking route, which is a 1,100km-long trail that runs from cape to cape across the central North Island of NZ. This means that visitors can extend their cycling adventures and explore other regions of the country if they wish.

In conclusion, the Motu Trails of the East Cape of New Zealand offer an incredible cycling experience, thanks to the hard work and dedication of local volunteers. Visitors can enjoy a mix of stunning natural beauty, rich history, and thrilling cycling experiences. With a bit of preparation and caution, this region is a must-visit for any cycling enthusiast looking for a unique adventure.

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