Last Updated: 6th Jan 2024


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Great Lake Trail Loop

Taupo, Waikato

Submitted by Mike Tennent

Last Updated: 6th Jan 2024


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I've done it Done


Grunt Factor: 26

Gnarl Factor: 20








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Front country - easily accessible


Undulating, some big hills

Dog Friendly

Native bush

Plantation/exotic forest



Open ridges/tops


Run Makeup


Sealed Road

Easy Single Track

Moderate Single Track

Average Uphill Gradient: +4.9%

Average Downhill Gradient: -5.2%


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Estimated Times to Run







Departing from the carpark, take the trail that runs parallel to the road (on the left of the carpark as you drove in). This will eventually end at a road. Follow the road for about 750m until you see the trail sign on the left hand side. From there on this trail is 100% single trail - it is shared with bikes though so be aware.

After about 10km you will come to an intersection, you can go left to Kinloch if you need coffee, otherwise turn right here and head to Kawakawa Bay. There is a nice wee climb in this section and a great stopping viewpoint.

At Kawakawa Bay you will probably meet up with copious numbers of campers as it's very popular, especially with rock-climbers. It is also the only point of the loop where you come in contact with the lake. Once you leave the bay, the trail traverses along parallel to the shore for roughly 3km before starting the long and gradual climb back up to the carpark. This section passes some excellent wetland.

Great views over Lake Taupo. Plenty of birdlife.

Sizable carpark with toilets

27 km

21 minutes





Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Survival blanket, Cellphone, Map.

Nothing for the first 10km or so.... after that there are scattered streams, although not always easy to get to.

Well prepared trail to pretty much Great Walk standard, so good throughout the year.

Nothing much other than mountain bikes

Trail Legend

Murray Taylor

Murray Taylor

has completed Great Lake Trail Loop twice in the last year.

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Trail Reviews

Great loop with a super surface. We are lucky to have this locally. I added in the whangamata stream for some extra kms

Ruth Steeghs

January 19

Nice, well formed track but too much of the same and a bit boring for me. There is only a couple of spots along the way where you can get a nice view of the lake.

Rachel Richardson

November 13, 2022

Great track! The track has been thoughtfully drawn in pen onto the Great Lakes trail map at the start. The initial route is called the O2K track. It is essentially a mountain bike path but very quiet. Could build up a nice stride. Under trees for at least 70% of the way. The trail goes right down to Lake Taupo shoreline. Had a blast!

Karen Koch

April 11, 2021

Nice cover from the hot sun heat for most of the run and a few awesome lookout spots. It depends what you like in a run, I prefer more technical running (rocks, steep drops, etc) and this track is basically a mountain bike track - it's wide & smooth. There is only the smallest of segments on the road though! Overall pretty fun

James Gribble

March 6, 2021

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Overlapping Trails

These overlap with this trail to some degree. You may wish to combine them but please note that to qualify for FKTs on these runs you should record a separate activity for each.

Orahau To Kinloch

Orahau To Kinloch

Length: 17.0km

Level: Beginner

O2K Roller

O2K Roller

Length: 22.0km

Level: Beginner - Intermediate

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