The ultimate GETAWAY
My hubby Jack and I planned a trip in April, coming down from Auckland on the three hour drive and getting straight into riding. Arriving at Mountain Bike Rotorua, we were soon kitted up with full suspension Giant mountain bikes, helmets and gloves. We al
Weaving between trees as sunlight pours through the canopy always makes me feel like I’m really away from it all. Mountain biking getaways with my husband are a favourite pastime and Rotorua is the ultimate spot with world class trails for all ability levels. Relaxing afterwards at the Polynesian Spa is magic too as the hot mineral waters soothe and revive the body.
guide Louis is a top international mountain bike athlete and just a genuinely cool guy. He made sure our suspension and bike size fit was perfect, we grabbed a smoothie from the Waipa Store onsite and then headed off to catch the shuttle bus. Louis took us straight to a new trail called Eagle vs Shark at the top of the drop off. A couple of pedal strokes was all we needed for the fast and flowy fun to begin. Flying closely between trees, this track just took off and felt incredible. Near the end, we emerged from between the trees into an opening and hooked some really high berms, before zooming back into the trees again. At the end of it we were on cloud nine, the first new trail was a masterpiece. Next up, Louis took us to Be Rude Not To, which was also felled and rebuilt with open flowy sections up top. We flew through the landscape and berms before it tightened up amongst the treeline and became more technical. Riding to Nursery Road, we then pedalled up to the new Challenge Trail lines and then Genesis. Louis explained that Whakarewarewa Forest has a unique public/ private partnership model, where the land is Iwi owned, managed by the council and the Rotorua Mountain Bike Club with its volunteers maintaining and building trails, so the forest continually evolves. It was awesome to see this at work and after hitting a few more trails, Louis took us back to the hub where we had a snack and a chat with him about his upcoming racing around the world.
Then it was time to treat the body to ultimate relaxation at Polynesian Spa. Buying an admission to the Adult Pools, we entered the complex featuring seven mineral pools – three with water from the acidic Priest Spring (39°C - 42°C) and four with water from the alkaline Rachael Spring (38°C - 39°C) We were soon lying in 40°C acidic waters from the Priest Spring, named after Father Mahoney, a Catholic Priest who was ‘cured’ of his crippling arthritis from bathing in the waters in 1878. The slightly acidic water relieves tired muscles, aches and pains. The hot waters certainly soothed our muscles and made us feel peaceful. We then moved across to the stand up pool, fed from the Rachael Spring, to walk around in the hot waters and stretch the legs a bit. The Rachael Spring is a source of alkaline water, which features the antiseptic action of sodium silicate nourishing the skin. It was historically said that those who bathe in the waters of the Rachael Spring are blessed with ageless beauty. After moving from pool to cascading pool, we also tried the new reflexology walk which has alkaline waters flowing across it. Right next to the lakefront, it is a beautiful, relaxing spot to give your feet the love they deserve after a day’s riding. Reflexology is an ancient healing art that applies pressure to specific areas of the feet. By walking in barefeet on the stones along the reflexology walk, it stimulates pressure points that correspond to all major body organs and areas – encouraging vital energy and blood flow throughout the body, relieving stress, improving balance and enhancing physical and mental wellbeing. Finally tearing ourselves away from the reflexology walk and pools, we walked out with a lighter spring in our step, feeling completely relaxed. Grabbing a fresh green juice on our way out, Jack and I headed back to Auckland for another work week, knowing we’d done our bodies some favours over the weekend.
Mountain biking in Rotorua’s Whakarewarewa Forest
Polynesian Spa overlooks lake Rotorua
Our awesome mountain bike guide, Louis, competing at Crankworx Rotorua
IMAGE: Clint Trahan