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Hokonui Water Race Trail

Does riding through pristine indigenous bush with only the call of native birds for company sound like a good idea?

Well, do we have the perfect mountain bike trails for you.

The Hokonui Water Race Trail and its associated tracks are only a five-minute drive from Gore. Forged among untouched bushland, you can start your journey at three locations –

  • Pope Road
  • Domain Road
  • Dolamore Park

If you look carefully, you can still see the remnants of the water race the main trail is named after.

The history books tell us the water race was dug by hand out of the bush in the late 1890s. It took water from Whiskey Creek to a gold dredging operation, started after local farmer James Humphries discovered gold when sinking a well on his farm near the Waimumu Stream.

On a fine day, breaks in the canopy on the higher trails produce spectacular views of Southland’s lush farmland to Bluff Hill and Stewart Island.

Here are details about the trails. You can download a map of the trail and walking tracks in the area using this link.

New trail name (Official)

Trail grade number/colour

Distance

Average time

Bike / Walk

(Times are for walking unless otherwise indicated)

Trail description

Hokonui Water Race Trail

Green

Easy

Grade 2+

Pope Road to Domain Road

6km

Domain Road to Dolamore Park

1.07km

45 min bike / 2.5 hours walk

10 min bike / 25 min walk

One of the great rides in Southland. Climb through lush native bush and then wend your way around the side of one of Southland’s most iconic landscapes. You’ll encounter part of the old Hokonui water race, before the easy descent into Dolamore Park.

This two-way trail offers a fun flowing cross country ride for everyone. Optional features on the side of the trail reward those looking to switch up their ride.

Link Trail

Light blue

Intermediate

Grade 3

443m

8 min

A short singletrack trail linking the Hokonui Water Race Trail to the start of Te Matara, Tāne-mahuta, Jump Line, and Pīwakawaka.

Lookout Trail

Green

Easy

Grade 2+

458m

10 min bike / 30 min walk

A short two way side trail to a lookout with a great view of Kelvin Peak. Also gives access to Lookout Singletrack Descent Trail.

Lookout Singletrack descent

Light blue

Intermediate

Grade 3

282m

5 mins

A short, natural, twisty singletrack. Roots are slippery when wet but still rideable. Joins onto the Hokonui Water Race Trail.

Jump line

Dark blue

Advanced

Grade 4

837m

10 min

Fast drops, jumps and berms. All features include ‘B’ lines or ride arounds. One of the best trails in Southland, we think.

Te Matara

Black

Expert

Grade 5

910m

30 min

Technical native bush single-track at its finest. Wet roots, rocks and mud. Steep in places but full-on fun.

Pīwakawaka

Dark blue

Advanced

Grade 4

311m

5 min

A steep short trail with roots and sharp corners. Fast in the dry, real challenging in the wet but always fun.

Tāne-mahuta

Black

Expert

Grade 5

213m

3 min

A short steep technical trail with a significant drop near the start and large root clusters. Can be very slippery when wet.

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