Frequently asked questions

Please scroll down for answers. 

Q1. Where do I get maps and info?

Q2. How do I get to the start of the Pakihi Track?

Q3. Am I fit enough to ride the full loop?

Q4. What shuttle services are available?

Q5 How do I get from Rotorua, Tauranga, Whakatane or Ohope to the Motu Trails?

Q6 What about a Meremere hill drop-off?

Q7. How difficult technically is the riding on the Pakihi Track?

Q8. What are the accommodation options?

Q9. What about shops?

Q10. Mobile coverage?

Q11. What temperatures can I expect?

Q12. Which direction is harder on the Motu Road Trail?

Q13. How much traffic is there on the Motu Road Trail?

Q14. What’s the Dunes Trail like?

Q15. Can I take dogs on the trails?

Q16. How do I heli-ride?

Q17. Where can I hire a PLB (personal locator beacon)?

 

Q1. Where do I get maps and info?

  • Read this site, it contains a lot of information!
  • www.facebook.com/motutrails for latest news and information
  • Visit Opotiki, Gisborne, or Whakatane i-SITEs for brochures, and info on what else to do and where to stay
  • www.pacificcoasthighwayguide.co.nz for excellent information on touring Eastland
  • Jim Robinson, Motu Trails Charitable Trust.

Q2. How do I get to the start of the Pakihi Track?

  • You can be shuttled from Opotiki and other places (see Q4) up to Matawai, Motu village or the Gisborne/Opotiki boundary line on the Motu Road. Your best drop off point depends on your level of fitness and the distance you want to ride.
  • From the boundary line, it’s almost all downhill to the start of the Pakihi Track. For a longer ride, you can go out along the Dunes Trail and up the Motu Road (see Q3).
  • Or, you can drive up the Motu Road from the coast and get dropped off at the top of Meremere hill (see Q6). For safety, the Pakihi is downhill only. You cannot ride up from the Pakihi road end.

Q3. Am I fit enough to ride the full loop?

To ride the full 93km Motu Trails loop, head out from Opotiki on the Dunes Trail, up the Motu Road Trail, down the Pakihi Track, and back on the road and river stopbank to Opotiki. Some people do this in one day. Plenty others enjoy a more relaxed journey by breaking it into two days.

The full loop takes a fairly fit rider 5-8 hours of riding. It is a big day! In two days, it is very achievable, so long as you are comfortable on the Pakihi (see Q7).

Q4. What shuttle services are available?

The trip from Opotiki up SH2 (the Waioeka Gorge) to the Gisborne/Opotiki boundary line is about 100km.

  • Motu Trails Hire and Shuttle is based in Te Waiti near the end of the Pakihi. Call 07 929 7564 or 027 2874283, email info@hireandshuttle.co.nz or visit www.hireandshuttle.co.nz
  • Motu Trails Ltd is at 138 St John Street, near the start of the Dunes Trail. Call 07 315 5864, email admin@motucycletrails.com, or visit www.motucycletrails.com
  • If you are staying at Toatoa Farm Stay or Motu Community House, they can arrange shuttle/gear transport.

 All these providers offer secure parking. The most common shuttle departure points are Opotiki and Te Waiti, up to the Opotiki/Gisborne boundary line near the top of the Pakihi. You’re dropped off to ride the Pakihi Track, then if you wish the van can pick you up at the Pakihi road end. Prices vary according to your requirements and numbers. Call or email them to ask.

During the spring/summer/autumn period there are shuttles going up several times a week. During winter, there’s often a shuttle on weekends, but not always. There are no fixed schedules, as shuttles run on an as-needed basis, so contact the companies. There are minimum numbers (or a minimum charge) before a shuttle van will run.

If you don’t have a group, check www.facebook.com/motutrails as upcoming shuttle runs may be notified, so you can join other riders for the trip up.

Q5 How do I get from Rotorua, Tauranga, Whakatane or Ohope to the Motu Trails?

All three providers may be able to pick you up from Rotorua or Whakatane. Call them to know more.

Q6 What about a Meremere hill drop-off?

If you have your own driver and don’t mind a bit more riding, an alternative is to drive up the Motu Road to the top of Meremere hill (the first big hill). The summit is 32km from Opotiki, about half of which is on gravel road. From the top of Meremere to the top of the Pakihi Track is only 14km, with about 400m total climbing and several small descents. Please note, the Motu Road is narrow, unsealed and winding. Keep your driving speeds low and take extreme care. A 4WD is advised.

Q7. How difficult technically is the riding on the Pakihi Track?

The Pakihi is graded ‘advanced/grade 4’ however the track is not especially technical in mountain biking terms. The upper half, the track is about 1.2m wide or more. Lower down in places it’s more like about 90cm wide, though if there has been track damage it can sometimes be narrower in places.

There are 25 bridges and the gradient is a very even, gentle downhill. The advanced grading reflects that some stretches have steep drop-offs beside the track. The drop-offs on the upper 11km are mostly bush-clad. The lower 10km, the drop-offs are sometimes more open as you are by the river. Many people, including recreational level bikers, are totally comfortable riding the Pakihi. Others find the track intimidating.

If you are a nervous biker or unsure of your skills, it is probably best to enjoy the Motu Road Trail instead of the Pakihi Track. Or, you can always walk (at a good pace you can walk the whole Pakihi Track in about five hours). If you choose to ride, it’s important to get there in plenty of time, look well ahead up the track, and walk any bits that concern you. The whole track is only about 21km long so you really can cruise.

Especially during times of rain, there can be rock debris on the track. This can make the ride more technically difficult than after it has been raked.

The Pakihi Track is true backcountry. As such it can be impacted by weather events. After a storm, there may well be more gravel/rock debris and sometimes rock falls. You are advised to check www.facebook.com/motutrails or ask the Opotiki iSITE for updates. Be prepared, and always use your discretion.

Q8. What are the accommodation options?

Your accommodation options are in the service directory of this site and on the Motu Trails brochure.

Q9. What about shops?

You can buy some food and refreshments in Matawai and Tirohanga. There are no shops the length of the Motu Road. Opotiki and Gisborne offer all shops and services. The Hot Bread Shop in Opotiki and Jolly Stockman near Gisborne are both partners to Motu Trails.

Q10. Mobile coverage?

Once you get out of Opotiki, mobile coverage is limited. There is no mobile coverage on most of the Motu Road Trail, and none on the Pakihi Track. If you are riding alone on the Pakihi Track, a personal locator beacon (PLB) is recommended. Hire one from Opotiki i-SITE.

Q11. What temperatures can I expect?

Matawai is about 500m, and the Motu Road Trail peaks at almost 800m. The top of the Pakihi is 600m. It can get cold and misty in winter, and very occasionally it snows, however in settled weather it’s spectacular even in mid-winter. Always be prepared with warm clothing and wet weather gear.

Q12. Which direction is harder on the Motu Road Trail?

It’s definitely harder to ride from the Bay of Plenty coast to Matawai. Riding from Matawai, there’s a big climb after Motu settlement, but from there it’s predominantly downhill.

Q13. How much traffic is there on the Motu Road Trail?

Generally there is very little traffic. Vehicle count statistics a while back recorded an average 18 cars a day. You’ll often see only one or two cars the whole way. There is some logging from off the Motu Road but the drivers are aware of cyclists. Always be aware that the road may carry traffic.

Q14. What’s the Dunes Trail like?

The Dunes Trail offers 10km of family friendly grade 2 riding. It never goes above about 15m, with compacted gravel most of the way. The section around Tirohanga Bluff has been completed, so there is no riding on the road or beach.

One consideration is there are a number of squeeze gates to prevent motorbikes entering the trail. These may mean children have to dismount to go through. Most adults can pass through without dismounting, though with panniers or a trailer, you will have to lift the bike.

Q15. Can I take dogs on the trails?

Yes. Please ensure they are controlled at all times to avoid accidents with other users. On the Pakihi, dogs must have had kiwi aversion training.

Q16. How do I heli-ride?

For a spectacular addition to your day, you can heli-ride any of the trails with Opotiki Helicopters (07 315 4941).

Q17. Where can I hire a PLB (personal locator beacon)?

Opotiki iSITE offers PLBs for hire, from $30 for three days. Credit card required. A PLB is recommended for the Pakihi if you are riding alone. [Opotiki iSITE contacts]