3 of the BestBeginner
Submitted by Mike Tennent
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Undulating, small hills only
Native bushPlantation/exotic forestRiversideLakeside
The first bit of single trail is brand new and un-signed... it looks like a shared used trail the way it is set with seats, however if it eventually becomes bikes only I will modify this guide.
From the carpark head into the driveway for Toi Ohomai... this is Poplar Ave, stay to the left and after about 100m the seal will run out and you will be on gravel 4wd track, keep going straight.
The track rises slightly and you will come to a forestry barrier gate, go around or under this and carry on Poplar Ave until you reach an intersection. Take the very right branch and carry on. A wee way down here at about 1.2km on your GPS you will come slightly out of the trees and hear running water, look to your left for a single trail entry. Head in here, it looks innocuous from the road but once in you will see it is well formed and new.
Follow the main trail here, there are a couple of offshoots but they all go the same way...although one takes you onto a small spit. At about 1.7km you will come out onto another 4wd road, turn left.... and follow this for about 1km until you climb a small hill and reach the next intersection. Here you turn left as well. Follow this road for about 1.2km. There are a few roads off to the left, ignore them all and stay on the one you are on.
At that point (around the 3.8km mark on the GPS) you should see a post with a Black arrow and a walking man... the arrow points left and that's where you are going. This is the oldest of the 3 lovely single trails and is referred to locally as 'The Natives'... right from the start of this trail is a Strava Segment if you are feeling strong.... only 730m and 56m vert... give it a go! This trail is very straightforward and you just follow it right through and onto the 4wd forestry track on the other side, then follow that track and eventually you will reach that first intersection.
If you have had enough, then go across the intersection and back out the way we came in earlier... your run will be about 7km but you don't get to tick this off as done! Otherwise veer left and follow the black arrow pole onto a 4wd track to the sealed road. At the road, cross straight over onto a wee single trail and turn left into there.... follow that for about 100m and turn right onto the forestry road the way the black arrow indicates until another black arrow points left and follow that trail for a couple of hundred metres. At the next intersection turn LEFT (the black arrow points right but we are definitely going left).
Follow this road to the next major intersection, turn left again to the next intersection where you should see several signs including a Map Board over the road... head straight over this intersection... ahead you should see a sign for Ball & Chain Trail. To the right of this is Puarenga Stream Trail... head down there onto about 1km of magic trail... we are near the end now so let yourself flow... there are several crossings but there are also trails on both sides so you can't go too far wrong... I stayed left for the first 150m or so and crossed the bridge to the right where the "Puarenga Trail Continues" sign is. At the end of this trail run through toward the Mill ahead of you and look across to your left and you should see your vehicle.
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Features of interest
A lovely small lake and probably the most beautiful stream run in the area.
Make Up of Run
Untracked / Route only: 0%
Technical Single Track: 10%
Moderate Single Track: 0%
Easy Single Track: 20%
Farm Road / 4WD Track: 50%
Gravel Road: 20%
Sealed Road: 0%
Heading out of Rotorua towards Taupo on State Highway 5, just out of town is the turnoff to Waipa Mill and to the main MTB Hub for Rotorua.... turn left here, head around and past the MTB Hub and on toward the Mill. Just short of the mill entry is a road to the right - the Waipa Bypass Road.... follow this around until you see the sign for Toi Ohomai Gate 1. There is a parking area in front, so park there.
Parking on the Waipa Bypass Road, do not go into Toi Ohomai to park, even if it is open.
Take the time to read this and maybe take some notes or download the pdf to your phone. There is pretty good phone coverage show you should be able to watch yourself on Strava while checking the trail map on Wild Things.
Long-sleeved thermal top, Windproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Map.
Nothing drinkable. The forest has sprinklers recycling dirty water and so the water from the lake or streams should not be drunk.
Pretty great all year round
Post run indulgence
Fat Dog Cafe
Arawa Street in the City
Consistently good food.
Sponsor this trail
See other runs nearby:
Tokorangi Pa Track
Tarawera Trail Route Recce
Valley of the Killer Zombie Wallabies
Blue and Green Lake Loops
Whakarewarea Circuit - the Black Track
Yellow Plus Cardiac
Fat Man's Run
Okataina...Eastern & Western
The Other Okataina Trails
RTRC Club Track Loop
A Roundabout Way to the Lost Tank
Whirinaki Long Loop
Lake Okareka Walkway