Grade
Hilly
Distance
1.5 km
Walking
1 hour
Cycling
2 - 3 hours

Riverside Road - Mātokitoki Valley - Valley Road circuit is 20 km circuit, 2-3 hours duration. "There and back" off-road track is 1.5 km; walk, 1 hour.

Information for this trail was last updated April 2024

Te Ara o te Whārua o Mātokitoki (Mātokitoki Valley Track) connects Mātokitoki Valley with Riverside Road, via Cave Road. The compacted gravel trail follows an unformed legal road through regenerating kānuka forest. Watch out for steep sections with tight corners when riding downhill from Cave Road towards Mātokitoki Valley Road.

Signs will be installed on the off-road segment of this trail but, in the interim, it is easy to find the route without signage. At the Cave Road entrance to the trail, go through the gate with the "close the gate" sign. One other gate on the trail needs to be opened and closed.

When starting the trail from the Mātokitoki Valley Road end, go to the end of Matokitoki Valley Road, approximately 5km from Valley Road. You will see a "private road" sign straight ahead, while on the left is a rough parking area and bollards (to exclude vehicles) marking the trail entrance. 

Trail fly-through

History of the trail

The Mātokitoki Valley track was formed in 1955 after an exceptionally wet period that saw a large Riverside Road slip cut off access to a dozen families.

For several months, upper Riverside Road residents used this route via Mātokitoki Valley to bypass the slip and drive to town. Once Riverside Road was repaired and saplings were planted to stabilise the slip, the Mātokitoki Valley track was abandoned and managed as part of the adjacent properties. 

For decades, this dirt track within regenerating kānuka forest was used by Gisborne Harriers, the tramping club and mountain bikers. However, access was awkward until 2015 when Gisborne District Council reached an agreement with adjacent landowners that the gates across the old road would remain unlocked. In 2021, Gisborne District Council contractors formed a compacted gravel track along the route, using road millings obtained from their road maintenance programme, for the surface material.

Tips & Logistics

From the car park at the end of Mātokitoki Valley Road along the Mātokitoki Valley Trail, then along Cave Road to Riverside Road, and back again is a distance of about 7 km, a walk of about two hours. Cave Road is a quiet back country road and pleasant walking. 

The "there and back" walk along the Mātokitoki Valley Trail alone is just 3 km, a walk of about one hour.

The 20 km circuit encompassing Riverside Road, Cave Road, Te Ara o te Whārua o Mātokitoki, Mātokitoki Valley Road, and Valley Road, is a good workout for people cycling, with several hills and good views.