Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023


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I've done it Done

Motupipi Hill

Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023


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I've done it Done

Grunt Factor: 11 ?

Gnarl Factor: 13 ?








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Urban fringe


Undulating, small hills only

Native bush

Plantation/exotic forest

Run Makeup


Sealed Road

Gravel Road

Farm Road / 4WD Track

Easy Single Track

Average Uphill Gradient: +5.3%

Average Downhill Gradient: -5.3%


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Estimated Times to Run







Superb soft trail running through the shady Motupipi forest - perfect during hot Golden Bay summer days, away from the crowded beaches. Please obey all signs where applicable and try not to shortcut the hairpins.

Park at the big Rototai bend. Start along the cycle trail then over a narrow road bridge and turn left up Burnside Rd. Follow the farm road, then right through gate to enter Motupipi Hill Reserve. The single trail starts at the edge of the forest - follow the "blue circuit" signage (white arrow in a blue circle).

The main anticlockwise loop begins at "donation box tree"- just keep following the arrows. At the skid site turn right to follow the arrow signs. The next part of the trail has the most vertical, and at about 5k, there are nice sea and estuary views. Back at the skid site, cross it and look for the arrow sign on the right. The trail now loops back to "donation box tree". Turn sharp right to follow a blue arrow exit sign.

However, just before the final exit you need to turn sharp left and complete one lap of the Easy Peasy loop (sign posted on tree). After one lap, exit following the light blue sign (dark blue is a steeper exit) and retrace the same way you came in, down to the edge of forest, and back to the car park.

Motupipi Hill is a conservation area, managed for native forest restoration, bio-diversity and human-powered recreation (mountain biking and walking). It is managed by the Rata-Tui Restoration Trust (RTRT), which was set up by Beth Burdett and Phil Castle. The entrance to Motupipi Hill is from the end of Burnside Road (half way between Takaka and Pohara). There is no drive-on access to MH and no parking in Burnside Road. Please park on Abel Tasman Drive at the small car park at the intersection of Rototai Road. Some historical photos can be found here

There is parking for 3-4 vehicles.

4 km

5 minutes




Visualise the course as an entrance, then one main clockwise loop with two small anticlockwise loops (like rabbit ears).

Generally good.

Short-sleeved thermal top, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Map

no water



Wholemeal Cafe

Trail Legend

Mike McManaway

Mike McManaway

has completed Motupipi Hill 9 times in the last year.

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Fastest Known Times (FKTs)

A lap of the 'Easy Peasy loop' is required for an FKT time on this route.

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Trail Reviews

Loved this trail and thought the arrows were making it super easy to navigate until I discovered we'd gone nearly all the way around again to the skid site instead of exiting around easy rider! Thankfully a local pointed out the more direct forest road out to take us back to near the start of the forest and we were added an extra 2km to our holiday run. Beautiful underfoot and the designed for bikes gradients make the climbs really runnable.

Rebecca Sunderland

November 18

What a gem! Loved this - lots of shady, sweet single track running and the elevation is spaced out so you get into a nice flow of ups and downs. Not too rooty underfoot either so didn’t have to concentrate very hard which was nice on a hot day. Great views of the bay once you get to the far side.

A ‘no exit’ sign has been added to the final descent - worth noting that this is for bikers only.

Stefanie Parks

February 7, 2023

Loved all the shade, great respite on a hot day! Nice and soft underfoot, and quite enjoyed all the regenerating bush.

Matt Halverson

December 30, 2021

My favourite Golden Bay trail run! I've been doing versions of this for years. It's beautifully shady on a hot summer's day, and the view over Motupipi inlet from the viewpoint at the far end is a very worthwhile stop. Lovely undulating forest and pretty rare to meet anyone else.

Sylvia Maclaren

December 27, 2021

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