The Waihaha Hut Track in the Pureora Forest Park has been upgraded to become a shared use mountain biking and walking track.
The Department of Conservation has just given the official go ahead for mountain bikers to use what was, before the upgrade, a walkers-only track. The track improvements, carried out by Bike Taupo, have made it more accessible for both riders and walkers.
“We’ve always known people wanted to ride this track, but because the original track was not built with mountain bikers in mind it was not very suitable for riding. We are incredibly grateful to Trail Fund NZ for providing the funds to make this upgrade happen, opening up a whole new adventure for mountain bikers in our region,” said Rowan Sapsford, Chair of Bike Taupo.
Overgrown sections have been cleared and the track is now better formed, reducing boggy patches and making it easier for users to navigate. The upgraded track has been assessed as grade 4, meaning it still has some difficult sections where riders will need to carry their bikes, but overall it is considered to be suitable for riders of most skill levels and fitness.
The track starts at the Waihaha River Bridge on the Western Bays Road (SH 32), over the road from the start of the Great Lake Trail. It is set in native forest within the Pureora Ranges and follows the Waihaha River for 9 kilometres up to the Waihaha Hut. The 10 bunk Waihaha Hut is set in a clearing overlooking the river and is a popular location for trampers overnighting in the area. Riders of average fitness would complete the return ride in 3 hours.
Damian Coutts, General Manager of Destination Great Lake Taupo, said he was pleased to see another great adventure ride added to the Taupo region’s trails. “The Waihaha Hut track is a great addition to our repertoire of trails, reinforcing our reputation as an all-round cycling destination. Our region is also gaining a reputation amongst mountain bikers as the adventure riding capital of the North Island. Our trails take riders into beautiful and remote locations but are still readily accessible from Taupo.”
More information about the Waihaha Hut Trail is available at http://www.greatlaketaupo.com/things-to-do/biking/