Keen mountain biker Andrew Taylor got out of his comfort zone to visit Te Miro Mountain Bike Park – and was impressed.
He says that since his visit, a huge amount of work has been undertaken and the track is now even bigger and better – and he’s planning a return visit before summer is over to check out the upgrades.
Having been involved in the sport for 15 years, since his first ride on a borrowed bike at “Craters of the Moon” in Taupo, he admits to being hooked.
“I’ve ridden many trails throughout both islands of New Zealand and also in the USA and Sweden. My favourite trail of all time is “Moonlight Meadows” in the mountains of Moab, Utah but my favourite spot to ride closer to home is the Whakarewarewa forest in Rotorua.”
By Andrew Taylor
he Te Miro MTB Park has quite a history, yet is still somewhat unknown to the MTB community of the wider area (Waikato and Auckland). This is especially surprising when you consider that Cycleways NZ test rider Elvis Z gave Te Miro a 10 out of 10 after a recent visit!
A diamond in the rough?
When the prospect of riding in Te Miro was presented to me, I have to say I wasn’t overly excited about it.
Sure, it’s nice to get out and ride new places, but I am from Papamoa and within one hour’s drive to the mountain biking mecca that is The Whakarewarewa Redwoods; arguably the best mountain biking area in the country, with well over 100kms of well maintained trails that have had years of experience put into their construction to make them what they are today.
So, my expectation of riding available in the sleepy, rural area of Te Miro wasn’t high. The scale on the trail map had me thinking that we would have covered all the trails within about an hour or so, and I was prepared for some bush bashing. I mean how much traffic and maintenance can trails in Te Miro get?
Was I in for a surprise!
After parking at the carpark overlooking the lake and kitting up, we headed into the trails by way of “PDTrack”. Not sure who built this but they did a great job. A well bermed trail with great flow.
Optional jumps make this a track for the novice through to the experienced. Needless to say there was plenty of whooping and hollering going on. The trails are built on clay but have a well packed bed of pine needles on top, traction was good but you did have to watch the front wheel.
We then ambled up the “Track Access Road” to the entry of “Gobblers Knob”. The welcoming sign brought an instant smile to our faces after the climb. “Four kilometres of single track, Follow me!”
Who could refuse?
A brilliant track with more pitch than “PDTrack” but the same well built style with large swooping berms and plenty of optional jumps and rollers. You can cruise this track or if you are prepared to pedal you can turn it into a right little ripper!
When we were finally spat out into the “clearing” the group was buzzing and instantly started to recall certain corners or jumps that tested or thrilled them on the way down. Everyone was hyped. The call was made “let’s ride up and do it again.”
We chose the more direct route to the top “The Incline”. This is no misnomer.
No one in the group managed to clear the sometimes very steep and therefore technical clay-based hill. (Aside from the incline, all of the uphills in this area have been well built with switchbacks that really take the “push” out of the uphills).
By the time we made it to the exit of the incline, we decided that this place just might be worth some investigation, so the second lap of “Gobblers Knob” was forgone in order to check out “44 Eleven’ and the “Kaimai Kurla’.
More great single tracks with some technical sections thrown in to keep things interesting.
Once we made it back to the junction of “44 Eleven” and “The Incline” we again declined the fun and fast “Gobblers Knob” in favour of “Native”.
What a great decision! This track was a complete change of pace and style. As we quickly entered into some real central North Iisland native bush with massive cabbage trees, pongas, rimu, supplejack and all. It was stunning, and picking its way through the trees and roots was a well constructed technical single track.
The roots really kept you on your toes but the reward when clearing a tricky section was great.
This trail traversed the northern side of the lake all the way out to the farmland on the eastern border of the forest. The view over the Hauraki Plains to the mighty Kaimai Ranges was spectacular.
At this point our map ran out of lines and names. But with a bit of thought and the use of the lake as a landmark we were able to find our way back to the lake’s spillway and we could see the vehicles.
We quickly slotted into “2 Timer” riding it back to front right up to “2 Way” and then “Ready or Not” back to the carpark.
By now we had been riding for three hours, but there was still a nagging call to go back and re-visit “Gobblers Knob”, so after taking on some energy and ditching the packs we headed back in via “PD Track”.
However, we took a left instead of a right and found another unmarked trail that traversed out to the left/western side of “PD Track” and then cut down the slope to meet up at the creek crossing by the entry to “Kaimeleon”.
This time we thought we might try a third way to get to the top of “Gobblers Knob” a dotted line with yellow highlighter. We are not quite sure what happened here but somewhere along the way we made a left instead of a right and quickly descended via a very steep clay rut, that was a real white knuckle test of survival, to the point where we began??? Hmmmm.
By now the day was fading and the decision was made to ride “Joiner Link” and “Kaimeleon” back to the carpark.
Almost four hours of solid riding on beautifully built and well maintained tracks ranging from smooth sweeping berms through to technical native singly track with plenty of options to keep the adrenaline junkies happy.
Even though it is an extra 30 minutes of driving compared with going to “The Redwoods” I will definitely be coming back to ride here again. Soon.
A diamond in the rough? Definitely!
Te Miro MTB Park
Te Miro Mountain Bike Park, 20 minutes north-east of Cambridge, is a popular venue for a wide range of riders.
Built by Te Miro Mountain Bike Club for the enjoyment of their members and other like-minded individuals, Te Miro Mountain Bike Park offers a variety of terrain and tracks to suit active families as well as hard-core enthusiasts.
With trail names such as Big Red, Ready or Not and Kaimai Kurla, the adventures vary from technical single track sections and steep downhills, to large sweeping berms or lakeside trails. Native and exotic forest surrounds the park’s trails, providing not only great infrastructure but also picturesque scenery and plenty of interesting places to stop for a breather.
• Native and exotic forest trails
• Stunning views over the reservoir lake and surrounding farmland
• Optional jumps and rollers
• Challenging technical sections on grade 4-5 tracks (all tracks well signposted)
At a glance
• Grade 2 – 5 (depending on the track within the park).
• Access via Waterworks Road, Te Miro
For more information on places to explore by bike in New Zealand, visit cyclewaynewzealand.co.nz