Bring your bike!
Getting out on your bike is a great way to explore The Coromandel’s wide-open spaces and enjoy the sweet, fresh scent of native New Zealand bush, and take in the broad Pacific Ocean vistas. From family-friendly parks, thrilling downhill tracks and challenging cross country trails, there’s a route for all fitness levels, skills and occasions.
Thrill-seeking mountain bikers will find plenty to challenge their skills in this park in the Matariki Forest just 4km north of Whangamatā. There has been a lot of recent work rebuilding and developing tracks and the park is riding super well. The upgraded trails (check out Over the Falls and Tube Cruiser for some fast action) are in great shape, with swooping berms, table-tops and gap jumps.
The park offers everything from kid-friendly trails and jumps to Grade 2-5 single track. From the main entrance, head up Causeway Road, where over half a dozen trails branch off full of fun features. The trails are signposted and graded, and the map at the park entrance helps you get around. Ridges Mountain Bike Park is set in a commercial pine forest, so climbs are mostly via forestry roads and descents on purpose-built single-track. It's run by volunteers, so if you are riding with locals, chances are they'll have been out there on the end of a shovel or a rake, it’s that kind of place. And club members love getting feedback!
The tracks are shared with production forestry operations; this means that from time to time there are some restrictions, but there will be signs in place, and the park's Facebook page is the go-to for current conditions. When you pick up a day pass from the outlets in town, you can get an update and a trail map. Although at a mere $60 for an annual family pass, you will get your money's worth.
Image credit: @graememurraynz @ridecoromandel
The trail network in Ride Coromandel Bike Park, further north in Coromandel Town is another way to explore our craggy hills, forests, and steep slopes with a grin on your face. The northern two-wheeled crew's vision is to create world-class cycling experiences and trail networks for riders of all levels (e-bikers too) that restore and protect the region's biodiversity and history.
Started by a group of mates, as it often does, the town now has its own piece of bike magic - a Velosolutions pump track, grade 2,3 and 5 descent trails (with jumps), shills track and 6km single track. All within a coffee ride from town, as they say. The club is fundraising for a water station and a defibrillator, so while there is no charge to ride, visitors can show their appreciation, and donate via the club's website. But make no mistake, these guys are serious bikers and while it's early days for the park, which opened just over a year ago, there is plenty more planned for the hills in Coromandel Town.
The two intermediate single tracks are in the Kauri Block, so there are wash stations at the park entrance. Please use them to protect the forest against kauri dieback disease.
Winner of the 2021 Waikato Sport & Active Recreation Awards Outstanding Active Space Initiative category, it's definitely worth putting on the list.
There are some mountain bike trails in the Whitianga Bike Park, however, they are quite short and technical. There is a beginner track and BMX track, and conveniently, the park is accessible by bike from downtown.
Thames and Kauaeranga Valley
Mountainbiking in the Coromandel Forest Park is possible in a couple of places, with the lower section of the Karaka Track open to dual-use. The Thames Mountainbike Club has built two parks at Moanataiari and Hotoriori, which are good for beginners or those with limited time.
For a different outlook completely, this trail traverses the remote northern tip of the peninsula between Stony and Fletcher Bays. It is a shared-use DOC track, with a separate section for mountain bikers. Steep in places and sometimes rutted, the views are spectacular, and the walkway itself at 10km long is a fun scenic adventure.
You can hire bikes and grab a shuttle from Coromandel Town if you prefer to ride one way, which is a great idea. Then you get a scenic ride in the van down the western coast as the sun goes down, and can relax after your big day out.