9 km
2.5 - 3 hours
1 hour
Information for this trail was last updated May 2024
Cycle, walk or run along a gravel trail beside a spectacular stretch of Pacific Ocean coastline. Regular rises pop you up above the sand dunes for panoramic views of the open ocean, of Moutohorā (Whale Island), Whakaari (White Island), and of the mighty Raukūmara Ranges.

You’ll ride through native plantings protecting the fragile dune ecosystem. You’ll have access points along the way to the beach – for a rest, a picnic or a quick dip in the surf. You’ll ride boardwalks, cross bridges and see pou whenua (carved posts). You’ll soak up the feeling of peace, wide open space and freedom that is the eastern Bay of Plenty.  

At the trail’s end, take a rest in the shelter then turn around and ride back. Or continue your adventure on the Motu Road Trail. The Dunes Trail can also be walked or run – and it’s an excellent family ride with its many, short, up-and-downs to offer challenge, and the ability to turn around at whatever distance you choose. Link to Motu Trails 

History of the trail

The first waka (canoe) arrived in the Ōpōtiki area about 800 years ago and the Dunes Trail traverses culturally important land. For many generations, and indeed today, the pristine coastal waters and steep hills have been a prized food cupboard for the many hapu of the Whakatōhea Iwi. 

Tips & Logistics

You are welcome to ride e-bikes on the Dunes Trail.

Dogs are welcome but please keep them on a leash.

A few places on the trail can get wind-blown sand, so be prepared to walk a few metres in these places. Link to Motu Trails