Great Lake Walkway
Starting from where Lake Taupo flows into the Waikato River, this lakeside ride offers fantastic views of the great lake. There are numerous cafes, picnic areas and toilets.
Distance: 11 km one way, 22 km return
Ride Time: 1–2 hours each way
Park in Ferry Road, beside the lake at the end of the main street in Taupo. There is a café 200 metres away in front of the marina.
From Ferry Road the path heads southeast, always between the lakefront and the road (Lake Terrace, which used to be highway 1). You will pass something of interest every few minutes: The Hole in One Golf Challenge, hot water beaches, picnic spots, and a playground. The path is also close to holiday houses, hotels and motels much of the way, but mostly it passes through lakefront parks and reserves.
The walkway ends at 5 Mile Bay, almost 11 km from the start. There is a 600-metre gravel section near the end, although this may be sealed in 2016. This path is mostly 1.5 metres wide, and passing other people can become tiring during holiday periods when there are hundreds of people strolling around the lakefront. Patience is required.
There are all sorts of activities along the route. Swimming, boat hire (yachts or canoes) and the Hole in One Challenge where you try to hit a golf ball into the hole on a floating ‘green’ on the lake. For picnickers, there are also coin operated BBQs.
Cafes: Stir Café is a caravan at the marina 200 metres from the carpark on Ferry Road. The Steaming Bean Café coffee truck, along the walkway on Lake Terrace. Watersports Centre and Café shop in Two Mile Bay (4 km from the start).
Bike Hire: Top Gear Cycles on Tamamutu Street in Taupo have a range of cycles and can arrange delivery, phone 07 377 0552. Or Tread Routes can arrange bikes, transport and even a guide for all of the cycle paths around Taupo, phone 07 377 8319 and check out www.treadroutes.co.nz.
An hour’s drive away in Rotorua is the Te Ara Ahi ride, or you could head over to Hawke’s Bay and be spoilt for choice.