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Level: Advanced
Length: 24 mi (38.6 km)
Surface: 4x4 Trail
Configuration: Out & Back
Elevation: -
Total: 1 riders

Mountain Biking Thompsons Track

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#293 of 387 mountain bike trails in New Zealand
#17,958 in the world

Thompsons Track is a very rough old unformed four wheel drive track that crosses the Kaimai Range between Katikati on the east and Matamata on the west. It's much loved by the four wheel drive clubs who enjoy getting bogged in the winding thread of monster holes and ruts that is the "track"! For mountain bikers it is the only legal crossing of the Kaimai Range.

On either side of the range the track starts out as a maintained road but it soon leaves civilisation behind as it enters the forest and climbs towards the crest of the range some 400 vertical meters above. Don't bother with it after rain. In fact, only attempt it after a long hot dry summer! When wet the track is a messy mud purgatory - or heaven if you're a petrol head!

You can ride it out-and-back from either side - if you really want to! Or just go up to the top, take in the views and head back the way you came. Best of all would be to organise a shuttle - there is no legal biking track back over the Kaimais to make a loop of it. It's about 20km from one side to the other.

As you take in the view from the summit, bear in mind that you are not far from the site of New Zealand's worst internal air disaster. Twenty three people lost their lives in 1963 when a DC3 crashed one stormy evening as it crossed the Kaimai Range on its approach to Tauranga airport.

First added by Jim Cummings on Jan 2, 2017. Last updated Apr 21, 2020. → add an update
Before you go
  • Drinking water: unknown
  • Lift service: unknown
  • Night riding: unknown
  • Pump track: unknown
  • Restrooms: unknown
  • Fat bike grooming: unknown
  • E-bikes allowed: unknown
  • Fee required: unknown
This trail information is user-generated. Help improve this information by suggesting a correction.
Getting there
Eastern side: From Tauranga head north on highway 2. Thompsons Track starts out as a road that branches off highway 2 a few kilometres before Katikati. You can start riding right there or drive on up the road a few kilometres. Western side. From Te Aroha head south for 12 kilometres on the Te Aroha-Gordon Road till you come to Thompsons Road on your left. It quickly morphs in to Thompsons Track.
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(on Jan 2, 2017)
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Mountain Bike Trails Near Tauranga, New Zealand

Intermediate | 6 mi

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  • Jim Cummings

    I've ridden and walked bits and pieces of Thompsons track several times over the last 20 years. It was awful when I first encountered it and it has only got worse! Actually, there was one time when I enjoyed the ride down the western side but in general even hikers leave Thompsons Track to the petrol heads. You should too!

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