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Tags:
Level: Intermediate
Length: 30 mi (48.3 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: Other
Elevation: +263/264 ft
Total: 16 riders
 

Mountain Biking Hunua Ranges

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#284 of 415 mountain bike trails in New Zealand
#9678 in the world

There are four trails. None of them has any great merit and it will take another 150 years for the pillaged native forest here to regenerate.

1. Valley Loop Track. It's an easy 12km loop around gravel roads except for about 150 metres of intermediate singletrack at the apex of the loop.

2. River-Farm Track. It's a 13km partly cross-country style intermediate singletrack and partly road.

3. Challenge Track. It's a 16km loop. Half is a sadly neglected hikers trail masquerading as singletrack; the rest is road, except for a 1.5km section of intermediate singletrack.

4. Experts Downhill. It's a 7km loop from the car park or you can tack it on to the end of the Challenge Track.

There is also a skills building paddock for beginners.

RIVER-FARM TRACK
This 13km loop track combines the River Track and the Moumoukai Farm Track.

To find it from the car park, go through the camp ground gate and turn right, cross the bike skills paddock and follow the trail through some bush. You'll come out at a road, turn left and you'll reach the first River Track sign in about a kilometre. Follow those signs till you're back on the gravel. Switch back to the right then and follow the Moumoukai Track signs which will take you round the rest of the loop.

The trail is about two-thirds old style, cross-country singletrack, and the rest is road. It's a pleasant two hour ride without magic.

CHALLENGE TRACK
If you like your trails to be challenging with unrideable steep and greasy uphills, deeply rutted unsteerable downhills, lots of little bog holes, gorse trying to puncture your tyres and vines trying to lift off your helmet, then you'll love this one...

It's a 16km loop; about half on gravel roads. You find it by going round the locked gate at the end of Moumoukai Road. Follow the Road up past the dam for about 6km and you'll see the first Challenge Track sign at an intersection near the top of the hill. From here the track is well signed. Soon you'll be on the singletrack along the top of the ridge in masochist heaven.

On the way back down the road there is another short section of singletrack called the Challenge Downhill. It's an easy 1.5km ride through the forest; not at all challenging.

EXPERTS DOWNHILL
I did this one as a loop, riding from the car park up Moumoukai Road to the top of the hill. There I took the road on the left, swung the bike over the gate and soon found the trail on the left. It starts with a near vertical push up to the trig, then perhaps 500 metres of ridiculous grass and gorse track before the gate where the real downhill starts.

The warning sign there rates the trail double black diamond extreme. It might be when it's wet but I rode it dry and found it much less threatening. It's nearly all just steep down with a few optional jumps. I didn't spot the berms, off camber corners and other flights of fantasy detailed on the notice board at the car park. You come out on the River Trail. Turn left and you're home in no time.

The loop is about 7km and took me just over an hour excluding stops. I quite enjoyed the ride down but Aucklanders have voted with their tires; it was apparent that this trail is seldom ridden.

Text by jimcummings, summer, 2015.

Before you go
  • No Drinking water
  • No E-bikes permitted
  • No Fat biking allowed in winter
  • No Fee required
  • No Lift service
  • No Night riding allowed
  • No Pump track
  • No Restrooms
Getting there
From Papakura head east on Hunua Road for 18km. Turn left into Moumoukai Road and follow your nose over the hill for nearly 7km to the car park on your right in front of the well-signed Upper Mangatawhiri camp ground. You'll see a display board; toilet and bike wash down area. Don't worry about over shooting it - the road comes to a locked gate below the Mangatawhiri dam just 50 metres past the car park. If you want to use the navigation app on your smart phone, put in Waterline Road, which will take you to the locked gate where you can loop back the 50 metres to the car park.
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Trail conditions

Good (Mar 20, 2016)
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Reviews

  • Steve Haythorne
    ***

    Great intermediate trials with one hell of a private downhill course, especially if wet. Lots of gravel roads giving access to a number of really true blue NZ Bush rides. One of the better track systems in Auckland.

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  • Jim Cummings
    *

    There is an easy gravel road ride, 13km of old-style cross-country trails that have the odd fun moment plus a hiking track masquerading as singletrack and an extreme downhill.

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  • *****

    Did 20k of intermediate and advanced trail including river track. Track was in great condition with a little of everything. Really enjoyed ourselves. Took my daughter and she was able to get through most of it as well, so a good day for all

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  • james_murdie
    *****

    Variety off trails, from awesome dh to kms of medium grade single track in thick native bush

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