The Redwoods, also called Whakarewarewa Forest, is a fantastic forest park outside Rotorua with trails for hikers/joggers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders One of the cool things about the park is that the areas for each of the groups are generally segregated so that the various groups don’t literally run into each other. I’ve written a blog post on the Redwoods before.
Lately, I haven’t liked biking single-track trails. It’s too . . . tedious. Sometimes I just want to have a good long bike ride for several hour without having to stop. And sometimes I just want to get away from people. So I have this crazy bike ride that I’ve grown to like riding just on the back dirt roads in the Redwoods. Most of the time I have ridden this ride, I have seen maybe one or two other people over three hours.
The entire forest is criss-crossed with trails and logging roads closed to traffic. It’s fun because—at least the first time you do this ride—you may not be exactly sure where you are sometimes. There are lots of un-marked forks in the road. Some are dead ends; some lead to where to you want to go. It is possible to get lost, but eventually you will come to a dirt road or trail with a name, a sign board or, if you have a map of the park, you can always find your way back.
So let’s go—
Mountain bike parking area – and bikes for rent. You don’t want to stay around here. Follow Pohaturoa Road (closed to vehicles) out of the parking lot.
First intersection of many—stay on Pohaturoa Road for now heading toward the Visitor Centre on the other side of the park. Then turn right on Nursery Road.
No, you don’t want Red Tank Rd. Stay on Nursery Rd.
Nursery Road ends – go right, past the log mill, and immediately left onto Poplar Avenue.
Pass the entrance to the log mill.
Take an immediate left onto Poplar Ave. You pass a few forestry buildings and then there is a barrier closing the road to vehicles—continue straight.
Then at this unmarked intersection, go right onto Long Drive Road.
Unmarked intersection – take the right fork.
No, you don’t want Fern Drive. Stay left on Long Drive.
More unmarked – stay right.
Not 5 Mile Gate Rd North either; stay left.
The road more overgrown and narrow.
Long Drive at some point becomes Sandstone Rd. A turn-off for Corsican Rd which you ride past.
Keep right – this is the turnoff for Lookout Rd, a steep climb up to a microwave tower—maybe on the way back if you’re feeling strong. You don’t want to take it for now.
You’ll come out at a paved logging road (closed to bicycles). Go left for about 30 meters and then turn right.
Onto GreenLake Rd.
Now go left onto Branch Rd and up a short hill . . .
Which intersects with Tikitapu Road – go right.
No, you don’t want Moerangi Road or the No Exit Road – go straight.
Final intersection before heading back via Green Lake.
But before you start back, look through the trees at Blue Lake (Tikitapu).
Along Green Lake
Shortly after here, the road heads uphill past an abandoned picnic area. Keep right, cross a closed gate and reconnect with Green Lake Rd, going back the way you came.
Map of where you’ve been.
Finally, here is a short eight-second video on what parts of this route are like in the rain.