Motu Trails

Cycle and walking track

The Motu Trails is one of the official New Zealand Cycle Trails. The trail stretches between Ōpōtiki in the Eastern Bay of Plenty and Matawai. With three trails to choose from - and the option of combining them all - the Motu Trails offer a range of cycling itineraries depending on age, fitness level and riding ability.

Easy ride

Dunes Trail

Distance: 10 km each way

Access: Multiple access points between Memorial Park, Tirohanga and Waiaua.

Enjoy panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean, Whakaari (White Island) and towards East Cape. Meandering over Ōpōtiki's dunes and beach, it's just as good for walking and running as it is for biking. With no hills above 15 metres, and plenty of places to access the sand, children love it!

Intermediat ride

Motu Road Trail

Distance: 67 km from Matawai to the coast.

Access: At Waiaua from the Dunes Trail and SH35; at Matawai from SH2.

Ride through massive forests and remote farmland. The Motu Road was once the original access between the Eastern Bay of Plenty and Gisborne. In the 1980s and 1990s, this section was a famed stage of the Rally of New Zealand. Now the Motu Road trail is an exhilarating journey by bike (it still carries the occasional vehicle).

The easiest cycling direction is south to north. Get a drop off at Matawai (altitude 550 metres), or even the Gisborne/Ōpōtiki district boundary (nearly 800 metres). There's a stiff climb out of Mōtū, but after that, it's mostly (not all!) downhill to the coast.

Advanced Ride

Pakihi Track

Distance: 21 km of single track, plus gravel and sealed road (various options)

Access: One-way for cyclists, from Motu Rd to Pakihi Rd. Walkers can go either way. Be prepared to stop and let walkers past.

Note: There is no mobile phone coverage in this area, so make sure you're well prepared.

The Pakihi Track was constructed by hundreds of workers over a century ago, as a proposed stock route. In the 1990s, the Pakihi Track became one of New Zealand's landmark backcountry biking trails. However, the Pakihi Track only became fully rideable with the creation of the Motu Trails in 2011-2012. Today, the Pakihi Track has 24 wooden bridges, plus a 32-metre swing bridge and some incredible track work.

Most people take about two to four hours to ride. It's technically straightforward, but because there are steep drop-offs below the track, care must be taken at all times. The track is rated 'advanced'. Be aware that there can be slip damage and, if in doubt, walk sections that worry you.


Service Providers

Bike hire and shuttles

While the Motu trails is free to use you may need to hire some equipment, such as a bike or arrange a shuttle service to pick you up and drop you off. Here are a list of providers:

Motu Trails Freedom Bike Hire
Email: | Phone: 07 315 5864 | Address: 138 St. Johns Street, Opotiki, New Zealand
Motu Trails Hire & Shuttle
Email: | Phone: 0800 66 8887 | Website: | Address: 75 Church Street, Opotiki, New Zealand
Travel Shop (Travel Agent)
Email: | Phone: 07 315 8881 | Website: