There’s a bike-riding paradise in the forests of New Zealand’s North Island, so we asked local photographer and MTB enthusiast Graeme Murray to show us some of the region’s top trails.
Despite the rise of numerous trail centres and the abundance of great natural riding all over New Zealand, Rotorua can still stake a claim to being the country’s foremost mountain biking region. No matter where you come from and how good your trails are, you’re always guaranteed to leave with a smile on your face and raving about the quality, variety and volume of trails in the Whakarewarewa Forest.
Add the increasing number of trails at Skyline and the fantastic Rainbow Mountain down the road, and it’s clear that Rotorua is the place to be. Just ask the locals and you’ll be met with glowing praise and enthusiastic pride. Photographer Graeme Murray spends more time in the forest than most, so we asked him to tell us about the most epic trails.
Most of the trails Graeme included in his list are located in the Moerangi section of the forest, where the elevation is highest and the terrain is at its burliest. It featured in the first Crankworx Rotorua Enduro World Series (EWS) race in 2015, but didn’t appear this year – which Graeme puts down to its sheer gnarliness.
There are three tracks in the native at the very top, and out of those I think Kataore is the gnarliest
Some of the world’s best riders thought that it was one of the hardest trails in the EWS in 2015 anywhere in the world at the time. It’s steep, gnarly, and when it’s wet it’s a whole lot more fun!Graeme Murray
Following the fall line towards the Blue Lakes, you’ll be relieved to have survived Kataore’s roots and drops with bike and body intact.