Meandering over dunes and beach, the wide, packed-gravel trail is great for cycling, walking or running. With no hills above about 15 m, and plenty of places to access the beach, children love it.
With the Pakihi Track and Motu Road, the Dunes Trail forms the Motu Trails, one of 22 Great Rides on The New Zealand Cycle Trail.
The Dunes Trail starts from Memorial Park Reserve, Ōpōtiki. It travels 10 km along the Pacific Ocean coast to Jackson Road, where the Motu Road Trail starts.
Much of the Dunes Trail is about 2 m wide, undulating with easy gradients. Going the full 10 km you’ll have a total of about 100 m elevation gain and descent each way.
As you pass along the trail keep an eye out for the native flora and fauna. Since the trail was established in 2011, there have been numerous community planting days, restoring the natural dunes environment.
There are multiple places to access the trail. Most people park at the start of the track at Memorial Park in Ōpōtiki, at Hukuwai Beach at 3 km, or at Tirohanga at 6 km. The eastern end of the trail is in the Tirohanga Conservation Reserve.
Ōpōtiki is about 40 min drive from Whakatane. Rotorua and Tauranga are about another hour away. Gisborne is about a 1hr 50 min drive from Ōpōtiki.