Riding Rotorua

The plan:  two weeks holiday in Rotorua, New Zealand.  No car, just bikes, a cabin next door to the famous Whakarewarewa forest, and a budget that prioritises coffee, food and relaxing with friends.  The trails were smooth, corners were fast, adrenalin was high and every trail had it’s own character.  Even a short ride had about as much climbing as the half day rides I do around home as there are so many fast, flowing trails down the hill that you have to climb back up to do them again.

Perfect weather meant only a couple of rest days, which were filled in with walks and a grade five kayak adventure.  I took advantage of the ‘no experience necessary’ clause and smashed the paddle into my nose while trying to throw it over a tree (I really thought I’d clear it and catch it on the other side).  I also managed to get bitten by a horse (good idea not to pat the wild ones by the river) and bruise any remaining appendages after misjudging a jump and riding into a tree.  Photos of less accident-prone adventures are below.

Welcome to Jurassic Park

So much green, so many ferns.

Not surprising that the plant makes its way into so much traditional art.

Alice in Rotoland

New favourite trail: Corners track. 3.7kms of downhill bermy brilliance!

How do you choose where to ride when everywhere is the other best track ever?!

…like this one, called “Old Chevy”.

The ride from the forest to town weaves through sulfury, mud bubbling, steaming waterscapes. Don’t fall in!

Look mum, no hands! Good thing our kayak guides could make the water feel like silk! (Photo: Kaituna Cascades)

Overnight hut on the Moerangi MTB track. No photos of the ride, but go see Avatar and swap the flying creatures for flying wheels. Tipped as the next ‘must do’ North Island adventure.

Put simply, Rotorua is an amazing place to experience.  There is a strong community that lives and breathes mountain biking which makes for an incredible feeling walking around town, and the generosity and kindness of almost everyone I met really blew me away.  Thanks especially to Jeff and Marcello from Kiwibikes and Gaz and Glen from Nzo (check out the new Aussie site if you’re wardrobe needs assistance) for sharing their days, and meeting our enthusiasm with buckets of their own.  Thanks also to Jimmy and Jeremy at the new Bicycle Garage store in Lilyfield, Sydney for allowing me to put some frequent flyer miles on their super pro looking Merida bike bag.

Check out riderotorua.com for more info and keep an eye out for specials on the new Air New Zealand Sydney-Roto direct flights.  Hope to see you there for the World SSingleSSpeed SShenanigans in October!

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