Nature @ its best

Motu Road


Level: Intermediate - See km below

The Motu Trails Motu Road Trail follows the historic Motu coach road from Matawai (high on the ranges, midway between Opotiki and Gisborne) to the coast and on to Opotiki.


This trail is challenging with a number of moderate climbs and longer descents through beautiful bush-clad hill country, interspersed with isolated farmland. A good fitness level is required and although the Trail can be ridden from either direction, starting at the Matawai end (600asl) will reduce the length of the climbs and provide more opportunities to take in the views!


A moderate fitness level is required and although this wonderful Motu Trails ride can be completed in a day (by fit cyclists) we offer accommodation en-route.




Matawai Drop-off  = 1.0hrs (add 15 minutes from Bushaven)

1 - 3 = $240
4 - 7 = $60 per person     95km to Bushaven
8 - 11 =  $50 per person    78km to Opotiki


Motu Hill Drop-off  = 1.5hrs  (add 15 minutes from Bushaven)

1 - 3 = $300
4 - 7  = $75 per person     73km to Bushaven   
8 - 11  = $65 per person    55km to Opotiki





Day 1 = 44km, Day 2 = 34km   (from Matawai to Opotiki)

Accommodation en-route which includes evening meal, bed, breakfast and a packed lunch. 
Add $115 per person
(minimum 2 or $ value, maximum 6)




Starting at Matawai, prepare to leave civilization with a good coffee and some home cooked food from the Hard Drive Cafe.  The trail starts with a gentle and relatively flat 14km of tar seal to Motu Village, from here you can detour to the spectacular Motu Falls, a 4 km gentle climb and a great spot for a swim and bite to eat before the Motu Hill climb.


After crossing the bridge, by the toilets at Motu Village, a steep incline awaits you, the Motu Hill, approximately 3km long but theres a false top, another 1.5km odd of climb gets you to the boundry sign (our shuttle drop off point for the Pakihi Track).


This climb is by far the hardest on the Motu Road Trail, the views along the way are spectacular and diverse.  From here it's easy going with plenty of free-wheeling to the toilets at the Motu Trails Pakihi Track entrance. Continuing on down the Motu Road Trail, a series of inclines and descends awaits you over the next 37km, but the isolation, bush country wilderness will leave you wanting more!  (maybe for the Mighty Motu Trails Pakihi Track).

The last leg before Opotiki is the 9.5km Motu Trails Dunes Trail with coffee available at the Tirohanga Beach Shop / Takeaway.


The Te Kowahi Track (Motu Coach Road) was first documented by missionary William Williams in 1840.

It took 60 men using pick and shovel, five years to develop the Motu Coach Road wide enough for a coach to pass through.

Motu Coach Road was officially opened in 1918.

The Gisborne to Motu railway line opened in 1917 and by 1920 business was booming, averaging 724  weekly passengers, with 1115 sheep and pigs and many tonnes of timber and metal.  The line was finally closed in 1959.



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