Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Rotorua, New Zealand ride report

Posted by Muddy John | October 26, 2010 | 3 comments so far

Rotorua -; Be Rude Not 2
Just in case any Moles find themselves unexpectedly in Auckland New Zealand for the weekend, it is good to know that the mountain bike capital of New Zealand is just a few hours drive south, at Rotorua.

In fact most Kiwis would probably consider it the mountain bike capital of the southern hemisphere, if not the world. That is certainly the impression I got from Amanda during a recent Tea Stop at Newlands Corner when I mentioned I was obliged to visit the Antipodes on business.

Arriving on the Saturday afternoon I was greeted by the characteristic sulphurous stink associated with the hot springs, geezers and mud pools that attracts most visitors. But that day the numbers had been swelled by the World Single Speed championships, so hotel rooms were hard to find.

There are plenty of bike hire shops in town, but on the sunny Sunday morning I travelled a few miles out of town to the Whakarewarewa Forest trails area and hired a Scott Reflex from the caravan set up by Planet Bike in the Waipa car park.

The forest is on gentle sandstone hills so in many ways has a familiar feel to anybody used to the Surrey Greensand Hills – Leith, Holmbury and Pitch – with quick drying sandy singletrack winding through forests of pine and bracken, like Coldharbour’s Summer Lightning.

There are a couple of big differences though, firstly the density of great trails all well marked out and carefully graded for difficulty, and secondly the ubiquitous Tree Ferns – which like the name suggests are ferns that grow on top of trunks 5m of more high.

Rotorua - End of the Dragon's Tail

Planet Bike suggested a few trails so I followed their advice with a warm up on The Dipper, a green trail which Moles would find easy but flowing. After that I upgraded to some of the red trails including A Trail, Genesis, Be Rude Not 2, and my favourite of the day Dragon’s Tail.

With my confidence boosted by some fantastic flowing single track, I climbed the fire road a few hundred meters to tackle Hot X Buns – a blue trail, which in Kiwi ratings is more difficult than red. This trail was at the edge of my comfort zone, like the bottom of BKB before it was remodelled, but it gave me a great sense of achievement to complete it.

By now I had been out for 3 hours now and in the spring sun the temperature was over 20C, so my habitual lack of steady water consumption was beginning to tell. It was time to head back to the car park with a final blast down Dragon’s Tail, and Mad to Miss It.

Luckily there was also a refreshments caravan where I stocked up on water, caffeine and calories, before heading back towards Auckland. So thanks Amanda for the tip.

Filed under Rides in October 2010

Muddy John

About the author

John has been biking in the Surrey Hills since the late 1990s but only started riding with the MuddyMoles in 2008. In the couple of years since then he has learned more about mountain biking from the Moles than he learned in the previous ten.

Having remained loyal to his vintage pale blue and orange Stumpjumper hardtail since the last century, he has recently explored the limits of his storage space and his wife’s patience by adding an On-One Inbred Singlespeed and an Orange Five.

John is usually wearing or riding something blue and does not eat any raw fruit beginning with the letter T.

There are 3 comments on ‘Rotorua, New Zealand ride report’

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  1. Jem says:

    Quite jealous John. NZ is a place I would love to visit.

    Sounds as though you had a fantastic time.

    Another country ticked off your mtb list.

  2. Matt says:

    I have to agree with Jem, I would love to visit NZ… play at being a mountain biker or a hobbit depending on the mood :o)

    John, nicely ridden on the Dragon’s Tail looking at you in that pic. Must be the Five star ride you have these days!

  3. Amanda says:

    The name of the tree fern you saw is called a punga tree and grows quite densely in most bush in NZ it also makes great borders for gardens etc.

    Though you would like some useless information… ;0)

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