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Rotorua’s world-renowned mountain bike trails have won global praise from Red Bull as one of the eight top mountain biking destinations on earth – the only place awarded such recognition in the Southern Hemisphere.
Red Bull’s The Red Bulletin magazine, released world-wide this week, ranks Rotorua among the best mountain bike destinations and describes the city’s 60 trails, which span more than 130 kilometres, as a ‘dream destination’ for beginners and thrill-seekers alike.
The Kiwi mountain biking mecca set amongst unbeatable scenery in 55,000 hectares of the Whakarewarewa Forest boasts a variety of graded tracks. Other worldwide destinations to make Red Bull’s prestigious list include iconic regions like Whistler in Canada, Big Water in the United States, the Himalayan Foothills in Nepal, and the Gobi Desert in China.
Rotorua has long been recognised as a premium mountain biking destination in Australasia and Destination Rotorua Marketing general manager, Oscar Nathan, says this accolade will put the region even more firmly on the radars of mountain biking enthusiasts around the world.
“Rotorua is extremely proud to have this high-profile international recognition. It really cements our positioning as the mountain bike capital of New Zealand and more widely as a top mountain biking destination in the Southern Hemisphere,” Nathan says.
“Reviewers and mountain biking pros consistently give our trails a five star rating and rave about the purpose-built trails through both exotic and native forest. Nowhere else in the world can you take in views of beautiful lakes, geothermal activity and mountains, all in one ride.”
Nathan says successful track and road riders like Olympic and Commonwealth Games medallist, Sam Bewley, and world number one BMX rider, Sarah Walker, began their rise to cycling stardom on Rotorua’s steep climbs and technical trails.
The city has played host to a number of premier mountain biking events including the UCI 2006 Worlds, the UCI 2006 Oceania Championships, the New Zealand mountain bike championships, the 2008 and 2013 single speed nationals and the inaugural 2013 Rotorua Bike Festival.
Rotorua Mayor, Kevin Winters, says that in terms of recognition for the region’s trails, it doesn’t get a lot better than this.
“Being named one of the best mountain biking destinations on earth is something special. This is fantastic news for our mountain bike operators, the many parties who diligently look after and maintain our trails, and of course our region’s people who can take huge pride in this award,” says Mr Winters.
This sentiment is reflected at Mountain Bike New Zealand headquarters, with president Jordan Moss saying the top eight title will further cement Rotorua’s reputation as being truly world-famous and help attract more mountain bike riders here from overseas.
“We are extremely lucky to have one of the world’s absolute best trail networks on our doorstep. We have an unrivalled blend of riding surfaces, topography and scenery that caters for all skill and fitness levels.
“Mountain biking is one of the world’s fastest growing sports and Rotorua has made it both easy and a pleasure to take part, with dedicated shuttle services, hire options and tour guides now readily available all year round,” says Moss.
In 2010, Australian Mountain Bike magazine editor, Chris Southwood, raved about his experience on the city’s mountain biking trails.
“Even the hype doesn’t really do the place justice. What the lucky folk of Rotorua have right on their doorstep is truly world leading with trails that are mesmerising, absorbing and just plain fun.”
To witness video action from Rotorua’s premium mountain bike trails visit:
“Trail Notes” - http://vimeo.com/33524622
“Be Rude Not To” - http://vimeo.com/8323174
“Mad If You Don’t” - http://vimeo.com/53472060
Editor’s note: Red Bull’s The Red Bulletin rankings are as follows:
1.Fraser River, Canada; 2. Whistler, Canada; 3. Big Water, Utah; 4. Mustang, Nepal, 5. Tyrol, Austria; 6. Alpe D’Huez, France; 7. Turpan, Gobi Desert, China; 8. Rotorua, New Zealand.