We had some friends over from Tauranga and wanted to show off some of our awesome mountain biking trails here in Taupo. I was a bit nervous. I have mountain biked before but our friends are accomplished tri-athletes and my husband is just plain competitive. Thankfully the Great Lake Trail is not too technical and you don’t want to go fast or you will miss a beautiful bush trail, cool birds or an amazing lake view.
We started at China-man’s Corner which is a carpark off of Whangamata Road. The trail follows the Orakau stream and goes by a flax wetland. I have never seem so many flax in one place together. A good place to recover and get a drink and soak in the view. A trek uphill is worth the work as you can see views of the western bays, the lake and the Tongariro National Park volcanoes beyond. Another good spot to stop and rest.
You then drop down for a fun downhill ride all the way to Kawakawa Bay. The only way to get here is by boat, bike or hike so you pretty much have the bay to yourself. Stunning and a great swimming spot in the summer! Then it is 9.8k back up the hill but worth the trip.
I managed to “somewhat” keep up with the tri-athletes but my legs were screaming by this point so we headed off to Wairakei Terraces Thermal Health Spa for a dip in the beautiful thermal pools. There was a selection of hot pools to choose from in a range of temperatures and a gorgeous waterfall. It felt amazing. I thanked the receptionist on the way out as this saved me. After that I felt as good as new and ready for a hearty meal of pasta at my new favorite restaurant in Taupo – Portobello’s.