Motu Trails Loop
Motu Trails Loop
- Time 1-2 days
- Distance 90kms
You can start and finish your ride in Opotiki, or Te Waiti. Or you can ride in-and-out from Motu, adding another 30 kilometres to the loop.
Riding from Ōpōtiki, you cruise the full length of the Dunes Trail, which links directly with the northern end of the Motu Road Trail. From here it is mostly uphill riding, heading inland on Motu Road for 38 kilometres. There are two major climbs, approximately 6 kilometres long (Meremere Hill) and 3.5 kilometres long (Papamoa/Toatoa Hill). After another short climb, you get to the start of Pakihi Track.
Pakihi Track offers you just over 20 kilometres of stunning riding, mostly downhill. Pakihi Track is an advanced (grade 4) mountain biking adventure. This track suits mountain bikers with good off-road riding skills and considerable riding experience. Read the safety information carefully before deciding whether the track is for you.
From the end of the Pakihi Track, you have 23 kilometres of gravel and long, straight sealed roads, followed by the Otara Stopbank Trail, back to Ōpōtiki. If it's a hot day or there's a headwind, it can be a challenging finish.
A good way to extend the Motu Trails loop into a longer two-day ride is to ride from Ōpōtiki to Motu village on day one, then ride back to Ōpōtiki via Pakihi Track on day two. This gives you days of about 65km and 55km with over 2300m total climbing.
If you don't have appropriate skills and experience for Pakihi, riding both ways on Motu Road is a fantastic alternative.
Guided and supported tours are available with Cycle Gisborne.
You can do this loop in one day if you are fit. Many people take two days, staying at one of our suggested accommodation providers, heading up to Motu Community House or The Weka Nest. You can also stay in the Pakihi Track Hut.
If you are riding the loop in one day, please don't underestimate the distance — it is a long 90 kilometres. Start early. Especially when you get to the Pakihi Track, have a break, take your time, it is not a track to rush.
The total elevation round the 90 kilometres loop is about 1100 metres; if you add in a visit to Motu, the total elevation is 2300 metres. Keep in mind that while the Dunes Trail and Motu Road Trail are graded 2-3 (easy and intermediate) the Pakihi Track section is graded 4 (advanced). There are no shops or cafes for most of the loop.
The Motu Road has some traffic, vehicle counts are low but always ride with care. There may be forestry vehicles.
We strongly recommend you take standard safety gear for backcountry riding:
- Spare tubes (if you run tubeless still take a tube) and basic tool kit
- Emergency foil sleeping bag
- Rain jacket and warm spare clothing
- Basic first aid kit
- Personal locator beacon (PLB). These can be hired from Ōpōtiki i-SITE and Cycle Gisborne.