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Pedalling paradise in the Bay

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There’s still plenty of summer left to enjoy a beautiful bike ride in the Bay of Plenty.

Whether you’re an e-bike cruiser, lycra-clad fitness junkie, wrangling a biker gang of kids, or only in it for the coffee at the end – there’s a bike ride for you this summer.

Western Bay’s bike trails have gone from strength to strength and rival those in the best of Aotearoa New Zealand’s biking hot-spots.

Here are a few of our top cycle trails for your whānau to ride this summer.

Ōmokoroa to Tauranga

Harbourside board walks, sea views at every turn and a great playground and swimming spot at the end – this 19km bike ride from Ōmokoroa to Tauranga certainly packs a punch.

The track is made up of both new and existing off-road shared paths and local road connections. It’s a popular one, so get ready to say ‘kia ora’ to other holidaymakers along the way.

If you’re not keen to ride the whole thing, there are plenty of shorter options. You may like to take a cruisy ride from Plummers Point to Ōmokoroa and back. Stop in at Hūhārua Park, which has recently received a Green Flag Award – one of just 26 parks in New Zealand. The Ongarahu Pa site by the main car park at Plummers Point is truly serene and has a stunning view over the harbour – the perfect place to relax after all that pedal power.

After riding along boardwalks and checking out the lovely homes you’ll reach the beautiful seaside town of Ōmokoroa. There you’ll find a superb destination playground, café, restaurant, dairy for ice blocks and the boat club for lunch by the water. Of course, it’s the perfect place for a dip in the ocean too, so be sure to pack your togs!

Katikati

If you’ve got a tribe of tamariki, plus Grandma and Grandpa on their e-bikes, the leisurely cycle trails in Katikati will hit the sweet spot for a whānau outing.

These family friendly rides will give you the chance to enjoy the art, birdlife, orchards, and water that this historic town is known for.

There are several short rides to choose from. One of the prettiest is the path from the river to the harbour, which has recently been upgraded. You can picnic in Haiku Park and check out the great art installations at the same time, or treat yourself to kai at one of the many cafés on the main street.

Waitekohekohe recreational park

If mountain biking is your thing, the Waitekohekohe recreational park on the outskirts of Katikati will be your summer biking paradise.

The park’s name is apt as it was gifted by the local hāpu, Ngāi Tamawhariua, and refers to spiritual waters and a sense of yearning and climbing.

Waitekohekohe recreational park

There are so many options in this 88 hectare park, with a series of short forest tracks for mountain bikers of all abilities. After racing through the trails, there’s a fabulous swimming hole to cool off in too – got to love that!

Waihī Beach

For one of the flattest rides in the District, you can’t go past the cycle trails in the beachside town of Waihī Beach and Bowentown. Here you can enjoy the best of both worlds, as you cruise alongside the surf beach and also meander inland past the Athenree estuary.

Bowentown boardwalk

This 9km trail is a great ride for the whole whānau to enjoy. There are loads of places to stop and refuel, with cafés, playgrounds, reserves and even some opportunities for retail therapy in the heart of the township.

Most of the trail is flat, but the view from the top of the eastern most point, above Cave Bay, is ample reward for the extra effort it takes to cycle there.

Pāpāmoa to Paengaroa

For those feeling a bit adventurous: why not peddle the 20km (one way) cycle trail from Pāpāmoa to Paengaroa? This safe and flat route goes inland alongside the Tauranga Eastern Link.

The highway’s banks are planted with beautiful native trees and the Kaituna River bridge features a stunning set of pouwhenua (carved Māori land markers).

At Paengaroa, you can’t go past the fabulous Trading Post Italian bistro for lunch, where the lasagna and caramello tart are must-haves to help fuel you for the ride back. Or, stop in at the shop at the renowned Comvita factory for some delicious honey for your summer recipes.

Kaikōkopu Trail

For a great day trip and a good leg workout, get amongst the 61km ride (return) on the Kaikopoku Trail from Paengaroa to Okere Falls. This wonderful country ride with plenty of ups and downs has re-opened after the wet weather in early 2023.

It’s got a bit of everything as you’ll cruise through kiwifruit orchards, native bush, dairy and sheep farms, and enjoy lake and sea views. Once you reach the fast-flowing Okere Falls, you may want to get a dose of adrenalin with whitewater rafting or kayaking.

For a shorter ride, park at the end of Ridge Rd and cruise the 12km to Okere Falls.

Pāpāmoa to Maketu

If you love a good pie, then the 11km ride from Bell Road (beside the Kaituna River) or 13km from Pāpāmoa to Maketu is the one for you!

It’s a bit more intrepid than some of the other cycle trails in the Western Bay, as it’s mostly along back country roads, with a dedicated cycle trail just for the last leg along the Maketu Estuary.

Once in Maketu you can refresh with a dip in the ocean and recharge with one of the famously delicious Maketu pies – there’s everything from lamb and mint and mince and cheese to mussel, butter chicken and apple pies.

Te Ara Kahikatea Pathway – Te Puke

Kids will love this flat 4km trail that makes for a relaxed whānau ride. Pedal through wetlands and alongside the Waiari Stream on the eastern outskirts of Te Puke. The loop pathway goes through Jubilee Park before meandering through rural paddocks. If you’re lucky you might spot some farm animals.

You’ll also cycle over and under bridges and past Te Puke’s oldest cemetery. Plus, dog lovers will be able to stop in at the new dog exercise area as you ride past Lawrence Oliver Park.

> SHARE WITH CARE

When biking this summer it’s important that you share the trails with care. Here are a few tips for safe and happy riding this summer:

Remember you’re sharing the cycle trail with other people, including those on scooters and skateboards, as well as walkers, runners, and dogs.

  • Be nice, be safe, be seen – be your best biking self.
  • If you’re on an e-bike, be mindful of your speed especially when you’re passing others.
  • Keep to the left of the path and ring your bell and call out in a friendly way when you’re passing someone.

Related: Unique spaces made for great events

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