Eight* Extra Excellent E-Bike Trail Rides
With so many motorhomers owning electric bikes, NZMCA member Sue Newton (#48218) has put together an overview of her and husband Paul’s favourite bike trails.
Keen to encourage their fellow members to try the trails themselves, Sue says she has not put them in any particular order ‘except for the first one which is the Dunes trail - my No 1 choice of all these rides. Here’s Sue’s report:
1 . The Dunes ride is part of the Motu trail that starts at the township of Opotiki.
We have done this three times now and we like it so much that we usually stay overnight at the NZMCA Park there. It is in close proximity to the bridge which spans the Otara River and marks the start of the Dunes trail. The trail is next to the beach and as its name suggests, goes in and out, up and down through the dunes. It is approximately 11kms long, so by the time you return to the motorhome it is a nice little ride. The surface is mainly fine gravel and boardwalks with beautiful views of the coastline along the way. The last time we did the ride we decided to return via the beach, which proved to be an excellent option.
2 . Next is the shared pathway at Taupo, from Five Mile Bay in to Taupo township.
This follows the lakefront all the way and provides beautiful views of the mountains, Lake Taupo and the lake activities - i.e. sailing and paraponting - along with parkland reserve. For extra enjoyment over the summer period, there are drink and ice cream caravans along the way too!
The biking is all on a sealed pathway which is shared with pedestrians (who have right of way). If you’re keen for more exercise, then you can also bike a few kilometres south of Five Mile Bay: this eventually gives way to gravel but is still very easy terrain. There are plenty of places to sit and enjoy the view along the way; you can even take a picnic and have lunch at the end wherever that may be, before returning to your start point.
3. The Hamilton shared pathway along the west side of the Waikato River in the suburbs of Hamilton is another favourite ride of ours. It’s a very varied track, up and down and curvy, which makes it interesting anticipating what is around the next corner.
This is just such a nice ride that on the day we went it didn’t feel like we were in a big city. The views are great too - what a mighty river the Waikato is; and there were a few interesting gardens along the way too.
We started at Anne St and went onto Pukete Rd, not far from the Hamilton mountain bike park, however there was more trail to bike both ways, north and south. Earlier we had biked from the Avantidrome on the cycleway into Cambridge, but that didn’t satisfy our craving for a good bike ride that day, hence going on to Hamilton. I’m so glad we did.
4. The Lake Rotorua and Ngongotaha rail trail is another good ride as it is local for us. We usually park at the lakefront by the village green and adjacent to the city, bike around what is known as Sulphur Point, then on the shared pathway out to the rail trail, and on to Ngongotaha.
This last summer we had two of our grand-children (aged 11 and 12) to stay and we took them around the Sulphur Point area. They just loved it and said it was really pretty and interesting.
The rail trail itself passes through some sheltered and undeveloped land once you leave the houses behind, so you are unaware that the main road north is close by. If you are staying at the Ngongotaha NZMCA Park it is very easy to get to from there; just bike towards the village, turn left into Taui St then right into a parking area. By the way, you don’t cross over the railway line here, you cross over it further down.
5. South of Rotorua there is another sealed cycle trail which follows State Highway 5 heading towards Taupo. Even though you are right next to the main road this is still an enjoyable cycle track.
Leaving Rotorua and going south it does go uphill quite a bit, so it’s great to have the e-bike to help you out on this track, but going back towards Rotorua it’s just a breeze!
If you’re really keen you can bike 48kms from Rotorua right through to the Waikite Valley thermal pools; this is listed in the New Zealand Cycle Trail Guide and is part of Te Ara Ahi. However, we have only gone as far as the Waimangu Volcanic Valley from Waipa - otherwise known as the Whakarewarewa mountain bike park.
6. Napier waterfront is another great shared walkway, which is very easy to get to from the Eriksen Rd NZMCA Park; just head east towards the beach. From there you can go north or south.
There are no hills in this one but quite a few gentle curves. Then heading north there are plenty of interesting sights, the aquarium, a children’s playground, art deco houses, gardens etc. Further along there are the port activities; you may even see a cruise liner come in.
Wend your way around the Ahuriri area and you can keep biking north up to Bay View. There is so much to see here, it is a beautiful part of our country. Then there are all the tracks south towards Clive and Hastings too.
7. Masterton has Henley Lake to bike around; this is very pretty but only a shortish ride. However Masterton’s streets are so wide that you feel safe to bike around on them.
8. In the north, Kawakawa to Opua on the old rail trail is a good flat ride too. This is part of the Twin Coast Cycle Trail and was written about in this magazine last year, so I won’t go into any more detail about it.
9. Biking through the Karangahake Gorge tunnel and alongside the Waikino River is a very scenic part of the Hauraki Rail Trail.
Riding from Paeroa, it’s about 14kms to the historic Waikino Railway station with the trail taking you past the remains of the old gold battery. There’s lots of history here and it’s worth taking the time to look at it.
“Naturally, we have also ridden other bike trails,” Sue concludes, “but they tend to be more mountain bike tracks and are for the far more skilled and energetic biker than I am. Therefore I didn’t get as much pleasure out of those rides as I have from the tracks listed here.
“No doubt other members will have done bike trails similar to these ones; it would be good to read about them in this magazine.”