Mountain bike enthusiasts list the trails in New Zealand’s Whakarewarewa Redwood Forest near Rotorua as among the best in the world. I don’t claim to be an expert on the subject, but based on my experience there I wouldn’t disagree. More than 50 miles of trails run through the forest in a seemingly endless series of loops that climb into the mountains and provide terrain for experts and newbies alike. I showed up on a day when the temperature hovered around 50 degrees Fahrenheit and a pelting rain made it feel a lot colder than that. Despite the misery, I spent the better part of the day there, returning cold and muddy but exhilarated.
The trails run through what is essentially a forestry plantation so, in addition to meeting up with other cyclists and hikers, I came across a few logging trucks. The staff at Mountain Bike Rotorua where I rented my gear explained that the logging and mountain biking communities have, over time, formed a symbiotic relationship. Apparently the ideal way to promote a healthy forest aligns with how mountain bikers like to ride. I took their word for it.
Some technical problems (I forgot to press the “on” button) meant I wasn’t able to capture the more dramatic runs on my GoPro, but I was able to salvage one clip.