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Level: Intermediate
Length: 60 mi (96.6 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: Loop
Elevation: -
Total: 7 riders

Mountain Biking Motu Trails

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#21 of 387 mountain bike trails in New Zealand
#3,189 in the world

The Motu Trails offer something for everyone...
*** The Dunes Trail is a 10km trail (20km round trip) along the Pacific coast starting and ending in Opotiki. It's an easy trail suitable for all the family, with unspoilt views of Pacific Ocean and the rugged hills of the ranges. Those hills are home to the remaining trails in the system.
*** The Motu Road Trail is a 67km trail that starts at the top of the ranges at the town of Matawai. The road descends 535 metres to the coast where it comes out at the end of the Dunes Trail. It's generally easy riding on a gravel road through back country but it's not all downhill!
*** The Pakihi Track is a 44km trail that starts part way along the Motu Road and sidles around steep bush clad hill sides. It's rugged and remote but the gradient is very well controlled and goes steadly down to the coastal plain where it follows sealed roads back to Opotiki.
*** The Motu Loop simply combines some the other three trails to start and finish in Opotiki. You go out on the Dunes Trail, ride part way up the Motu Road Trail then down the Pakihi Track. All up its 91 kms with an altitude gain and loss of 660 metres not counting undulations. You can split it over two days by staying at the Totatoa Farm Stay.
The town of Opotiki is well set up to look after bikers. Accommodation, shopping, bike hire and shuttle services are all available. There are operators who offer guided and supported tours. The information centre is very informed and helpful. They're here... http://www.opotikinz.com/

First added by Jim Cummings on Jul 17, 2014. Last updated Apr 28, 2020. → add an update
Before you go
  • Drinking water: yes
  • Lift service: unknown
  • Night riding: yes
  • Pump track: unknown
  • Restrooms: yes
  • Fat bike grooming: yes
  • E-bikes allowed: unknown
  • Fee required: unknown
This trail information is user-generated. Help improve this information by suggesting a correction.
Getting there
There are four trails in this system and home base for them is the town of Opotiki although it's the end rather than the start of one of the trails.
System trails (4)
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Motu Trails Trail map

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Xman (on Aug 27, 2019)
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Trail conditions

Good (on Aug 27, 2019)
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Mountain Bike Trails Near Opotiki, New Zealand

Intermediate | 57 mi
Beginner | 13 mi

Rider questions

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  • Copops
    Reviewing Pakihi Track:

    Lovely down hill ride, easy cruise rather than steep hard out down hill. Lots of tree cover, leaves and rocks on the first half of the track. Lower half of the track is along the river bank, some drop offs and one tricky section requiring clambering over a rockfall. Allow a couple of hours for a cruise ride

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  • mitch_collins

    On this particular day, there was a large overnight landslide backside of the loop and we had to peel back and ended up doing over 100km. Made for a much longer day without snacks.

    After the dunes it is mostly gravel road climbing into Barry Crump country, once you get around the back and down the Cattle Track (shared with hikers), it becomes much better. They should have cleared the slip by now and your journey will be much better than mine!

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  • Jim Cummings
    Reviewing Dunes Trail:

    It's a really pleasant ride for all the family on a curvy, gently undulating track that is well surfaced and never steep. It's one of the best "family-scenic" style rides around.

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  • Jim Cummings
    Reviewing Motu Loop:

    This is the best way to experience the legendary magic of the Motu Trails. Do it in one day if you're really fit; in two days staying at Toatoa Farmstay if you're reasonably fit.

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  • Jim Cummings
    Reviewing Pakihi Track:

    It's officially a grade 4 (advanced) trail because of the steep side exposure in some parts but many grade 3 riders (intermediate) ride it, walking the scary parts.

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  • Jim Cummings
    Reviewing Pakihi Track:

    The Pakihi Track deserves its legenday reputation. It's a remote back-country icon. The remarkable thing about it that it's not difficult despite traversing such a steep, rugged wilderness.

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  • Jim Cummings

    There are four good rides in the Motu Trails - the Dunes Trail, Motu Road, Pakihi Track and the Motu Loop...

    The Dunes Trail is a wonderful ride for all the family along the Pacific coast close to the beach. The track is well surfaced all the way - you won't get bogged in soft sand and it's nice and curvy with small and easy undulations.

    The Motu Road is a gravel road in remote back country with some really nice down hill riding. The gradient is well controlled - you won't strain your brake finger! And riding up it is a great training run.

    The Pakihi Track is legendary! It's an incredible combination of wild, remote, steep, forested wilderness and a benched track that almost follows the contours round the hillsides but gradually descends so that you'll be free wheeling for most of the way. At any rate, that describes 20km of the total 40km. The other half is not actually the Pakihi track but roads from the bottom of the forest back to Opotiki. Some of the commercial operators will take you to the top of the track and pick you up at the bottom so you don't have to ride along the flat roads to Opotiki.

    The Motu Loop is the best way to sample all three trails. You start in Opotiki, ride out along the Dunes Trail, up the Motu Road, to the start of the Pakihi Track, then return down the Pakihi. That's close to 100km. To split it over two days stay at the Toatoa Farm Stay.

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  • Jim Cummings
    Reviewing Motu Road Trail:

    The Motu Road is almost legendary for its pioneer history and extreme sporting events but the ride down it from Matawai to Opotiki is easy enough and thrilling. Yes, you do have to grunt up some sections but mostly you'll be smiling as the wind whistles past your ears and you're in free-wheel heaven. It's steep rugged country, mainly bush clad but with remote farms in the gentler valleys. The road is mainly gravel and not very steep but it's narrow and there are no guard rails above the steep side exposure.

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