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photo: Destination Great Lake Taupo

photo: Destination Great Lake Taupo

The Te Iringa Trail in the Great Lake Taupo region in New Zealand wasn’t known for being mountain bike friendly due to challenging terrain and a massive number of fallen trees that required riders to hike-a-bike much of the trail. But two local mountain bike groups–the Hawkes Bay Mountain Bike Club and Taupo Mountain Bike Club–recently completed a massive trail work project to make the trail more accessible.

photo: Destination Great Lake Taupo

photo: Destination Great Lake Taupo

To give an idea of how challenging the Te Iringa trail was (and still is by all accounts), greatlaketaupo.com rates the trail a “technical grade 5 trail” and recommends riders spend 2 days completing the 38km out-and-back. And just to be clear, that’s 19km per day, which translates to just 12 miles in a day. Even with all the trail work to clear windfall, there’s still plenty of hike-a-bike to be done, and the ride is only recommended for advanced to expert riders looking for a remote, backcountry ride.

To carry out this trail work project, a helicopter was used to get trail crews to the camps where they spent the night in the bush. Fortunately, at the end of the out-and-back there is a hut–the Oamaru Hut–which sleeps 12. Riders can also choose to bring a tent and sleep out along the trail, bikepacking style.

Rowan Sapsford, Chair of Bike Taupo, had this to say:

The ride is still an adventure ride but the improvements we have made mean it is now more of a mountain bike trail and less of a hike and bike. We have carried out this work while still being careful to maintain the original wilderness character of the trail.

Riding the Te Iringa Trail is clearly a challenge but judging by the photos, it looks to be totally worth the effort!

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