By Ally Davey
Photo credit: Graeme Murray, @graememurraynz
Up here in northern Coromandel, we have a passion for two wheels, the outdoors and our biodiversity within it. My local is Ride Coromandel in Coromandel Town and I get over there to ride at every opportunity. As our park is run by volunteers, there's plenty of time spent on the end of a rake and spade as well. Our mission (apart from building a place we really want to ride) is to enhance the health and well-being of our communities and visitors by connecting them back to the ngahere in our park, whilst safeguarding and enhancing our culture, natural heritage, biodiversity and ecology. We aim to connect you to our place when you ride here. And give you a great time!
We welcome all kinds of riders from little kids to beginners and top local talent, and we love riding in other club parks around the region and catching up with the crews there. There is truly something for everyone, and here are my top tips to find your ride in our place. We've teamed up with our mates at Capra to pull all the bike parks and local rides into one place for you. Download the app for free and check out where the locals ride: https://capra.page.link/hT55
One thing you do need to remember to make sure that your gear is clean before you come to our parks to protect our forests. The Ride Coromandel park passes through 10,000 native kauri trees we have planted, so we have a purpose-built kauri dieback wash station. But clean bikes and shoes support healthy forest throughout The Coromandel, so please take care.
Mountainbike parks for families
Our park is just a 3-minute bike ride up Hauraki Road from the cafes in the centre of town, so it couldn't be more central. We have 6km of looped Grade 3 single track with stunning views, a bike playground, a skills park, gravity lines and a Velosolutions all-weather pump track Ride Coromandel is a volunteer project run by the Spirit or Coromandel Trust, but make no mistake, our single tracks are professionally-built with lots of berms and tight turns interspersed with flowing sections, a great day for the whole family. We appreciate koha when you visit and you can even borrow one of our bikes if you need one. We also have adaptive mountain bike-friendly trails and we welcome dogs too.
Family flow and gravity park just north of town, Grade 2-5 trails and some great singletrack, massive fun for the whole family. Situated just 4km north of town on SH25, in the Tairua Forest, the park is made and run by volunteers, so please grab a pass or membership on HivePass to support their hard work. Crazy cheap prices given the quality of the trails (and they are working on upgrading them all the time), you will find yourself returning here time and again. The local crew is pretty keen, there's some top young talent riding here. And you can go for a surf after your ride, added bonus.
Back country trails in the hills behind the town featuring St John a well-known grade 5 downhill, but there are trails for all riders. and skill levels Parking is at the end of Moanataieri Road (steep and gravelly) and with a great picnic area and views over the Hauraki Gulf. Again its a club field, so if you would like to connect with local riders (you will no doubt see some out there) or join the club check them out on Trailforks, Hivepass, and TMBC.
The Hotoritori MTB Trail is located in the nearby Kauaeranga Valley. This is an intermediate grade ride on 4 x 4 gravel tracks, in native forest and pine forest tracks and along streams, with great swimming holes for hot riding days.
The Hauraki Rail Trail for beginners and cruisers
For a more leisurely pace the Hauraki Rail Trail is a great place to start. The flat easy trail from town to town, never too far from a cafe, rest stop and bed for the night. It is easy to hop on and off the trail to create a flexible itinerary, but more and more people are discovering the sense of freedom of an overnight (or several nights) one-way biking trip. The really great thing about the rail trail is its consistency and the diversity of landscapes that it traverses. The northernmost leg starts in Kaiaua, taking in the Shorebird Coast, Hauraki Plains and rural hubs of Thames and Paeroa. The section through the Karangahake Gorge to Waihi is still just as easy to navigate, even though the gorge is deep and steep, and heading further south brings you to the spa town of Te Aroha and pastoral Matamata.
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