FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions
Where are the Motu Trails ?
A

In the east of the North Island of New Zealand. The trails stretch between Opotiki and Matawai, in the eastern Bay of Plenty / Eastland region. From Tauranga and Rotorua, you can drive to Opotiki in 1hr 45min, with another hour to Motu.

Where's Rere Falls Trail ?
A

Between Matawai and Gisborne, in the Tairawhiti / Eastland region of the North Island of New Zealand. Rere Falls Trail connects with the Motu Road Trail section of Motu Trails.

Where do I get maps and info ?
A

This web site has trail maps and info. Get printed copies of the brochure/map from Whakatane, Opotiki or Gisborne iSITE visitor information centres. For latest news, photos and track updates check the Motu Trails Cycleway Facebook or Instagram pages. You can also email us for updates, at jim@motutrails.co.nz You'll find general visitor information at the following websites: www.opotikinz.co.nz www.tairawhitigisborne.co.nz www.whakatane.com www.pacificcoasthighwayguide.co.nz

What's the Dunes Trail like ?
A

The Dunes Trail offers 9km of family friendly, grade 2 riding (18km return). The views are spectacular and there are many access points to the beach. It is undulating the whole way. The trail is mostly compacted gravel. There are about 10 squeeze gates along the trail to prevent motorbikes. These may mean children need to dismount to pass through. Most adults can pass through without dismounting, though with panniers or a trailer, you will have to lift the bike. If you want to take a hand bike on the trail you can contact us, jim@motutrails.co.nz, for a key to the adjoining swing gates.

How difficult is the Pakihi Track?
A

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 1.2 metres wide or more. Lower down, in places, it’s 1 metre wide, though if there has been track damage it can sometimes be narrower in places. There are 25 bridges and the gradient is mostly an even, gradual downhill. The advanced grading is because some stretches have near-vertical drop-offs beside the track. The drop-offs on the upper 11km are mostly bush-clad. The lower 10km, the drop-offs are often exposed. Many people, including recreational level bikers, are comfortable riding the Pakihi. Others find the drop-offs 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 the Pakihi. At a steady pace you can walk the whole Pakihi Track in about five hours. If you choose to ride the Pakihi Track, 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 under 21km long so there is no rush. The Pakihi Track is back-country. It can be impacted by weather events. After a storm, there may well be more gravel/rock debris and sometimes rock falls. Check the latest trail conditions. Be prepared. There is no mobile phone reception. As with any back-country track, it is recommended you take a personal locator beacon, a PLB.

How do I get to the start of the Pakihi Track?
A

You can get a shuttle drop-off 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 ride the Dunes Trail and up the Motu Road to the top of the Pakihi. Or, you can get dropped off at the top of Meremere hill on the Motu Road. For safety, the Pakihi is downhill only. You cannot ride up the track from the Pakihi road end. If you are walking or running the Pakihi, the track is two-way. You can get to the Pakihi road end (northern end) of the track by driving from Opotiki down Otara and Pakihi roads. The track is 23km from Opotiki, with 9km of gravel road.

Which way should I ride the Motu Road Trail ?
A

It’s much harder to ride from the Opotiki coast to Matawai, than the other way. Riding from Matawai, there’s a big climb after Motu settlement, but from there it’s predominantly downhill. If you're not looking for the challenge, a good option is to get a shuttle drop-off to Motu or Matawai, that way you'll have more downhill than uphill.

What shuttle and guiding services are available?
A

You can get shuttle transport with Motu Trails Ltd, Motu Trails Hire & Shuttle, and Cycle Gisborne. Minimum numbers apply. Check the A-Z of services for more. You can get guiding on the Dunes Trail and Motu Road Trail with Mighty Motu Bike Tours. You can get guiding on the Motu Road, Rere Falls Trail and more with Cycle Gisborne. Motu Trails official partners don't offer guiding services on the Pakihi Track. Check the A-Z of services for more.

What's mobile phone coverage like around the trails?
A

Mobile phone coverage is patchy on the Dunes Trail. There is very little mobile phone coverage on the Motu Road and none on the Pakihi Track.

Can I take a dog?
A

On the Dunes Trail you can take a dog, but keep it on a lead. The trail is well-used so a roaming dog is a hazard. The trail also passes through areas with wild birdlife. On the Pakihi, your dog should be kiwi-aversion trained. Talk to DOC 07 307 2770.

What kind of bike do I need?
A

You need a mountain bike to ride the Pakihi Track. A mountain bike is recommended for the Motu Road Trail, though a skilled rider may use a CX or touring bike. On the Dunes trail, you don’t need a mountain bike, but you do need good tyres as the surface is mostly packed gravel. Rere Falls Trail, you can use a road bike for the section Gisborne-Rere. From Rere-Matawai, there is gravel road.

What temperatures can I expect?
A

The coastal Bay of Plenty typically has mild weather. Inland to Motu and Matawai, and on parts of the Pakihi, you're between 400 and 750 metres altitude, so 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. In summer, across the region, it's common to have daytime temperatures of 18 - 25 degrees Centigrade.

Where can I stay?
A

There is a lot of accommodation handy to the Dunes Trail. For Motu Road Trail, you have Toatoa Farmstay and Motu Community House. At the end of the Pakihi, you have Weka Wilds and Bushaven. For Rere Falls Trail, you have Eastwoodhill, the Jolly Stockman, and Portside Hotel. Check the A-Z of services. Whenever possible please choose these operators as they are supporting the trails.

How do I report a slip or track damage?
A

Thank you for reporting a new slip or track damage. Email jim@motutrails.co.nz, report to your shuttle provider, report to the Motu Trails Cycleway Facebook, or report to the Opotiki iSITE.

How do I support / donate to Motu Trails Charitable Trust?
A

Thank you. Supporting Motu Trails Charitable Trust reall does help. Visit Givealittle.co.nz and search Motu Trails. Or donate straight into our account: Motu Trails Charitable Trust, 06-0637-0259896-00 Another way you can help is to do the New Zealand Cycle Trail survey. Visit Getsmartglobal.com/nzcycletrails and click on Motu Trails.

Where can I hire a PLB?
A

You can hire a personal locator beacon from Opotiki or Gisborne iSITEs.

Are the trails free to access?
A

Yes. You can purchase services around the trail, but the trails themselves are free to all. The trails are made available through a lot of investment and work, including a lot of volunteer work. We welcome all support. To make a donation to Motu Trails Charitable Trust, visit www.Givealittle.co.nz and search Motu Trails. Or donate straight into our account: Motu Trails Charitable Trust, 06-0637-0259896-00 Thank you.

Can I camp?
A

Check the A-Z page for places to stay around the trails. There are many holiday parks with camp sites. You also have DOC campsites at Whitikau Forks and Te Waiti valley Boulders. You can put up a tent by Pakihi hut. To put up a tent at Motu, talk to Motu Community House; to put up a tent at Toatoa talk to Toatoa Farm Stay.

Who are the shuttle operators?
A

See the A-Z for Motu Trails Hire & Shuttle, Motu Trails Ltd; Cycle Gisborne; Motu Community House; Toatoa Farm Stay.

Is there water around the trails?
A

There's a drinking fountain at Memorial Park, at the start of the Dunes Trail. Many drink from the Pakihi valley side streams; on Motu Road, many also drink from a small stream half way up the northern side of Papamoa hill, 8km before the Pakihi junction. If these don't appeal, you need to take water. On Rere Fals Trail, take water.

How much traffic is on the Motu Road?
A

Usually, very little. Out of peak periods, you may only see one or two cars per hour. However, always remember the road is open. Stay left and be prepared to stop at all times. At some peak periods, there may be considerably more traffic, perhaps 10 or 15 vehicles per hour.

What gear should I take on the Pakihi?
A

You are advised to take: puncture repair/tubes and pump, basic alan key set, warm clothing, coat, food. In winter, also take gloves, hat, leggings. A personal locator beacon and a foil emergency sleeping blanket are both a good idea for all back-country riding.