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Where To Ride: Pureroa Forest North Block

When it comes to novice-to-intermediate trails to ride here in New Zealand, we aren’t particularly spoiled for choice unless you head along to an organised event with access to private land.

So where the heck can you ride your dual-sport bike?

Today we’re looking at the Pureroa Forest - particularly the North Block - where I’ve recently been spending a bit of time attempting to build up my skills riding the CRF250L Rally.

Located just off State Highway 30 (AKA Scott Rd), access to the North Block of Pureroa Forest is through Waitaramoa Rd which is about 800m to the west of Barryville. This gravel road runs through Forestry land into the Pureroa Forest park for about 20km.

It’s a great spot to practice gravel road riding as it’s barely trafficked, though you will need to keep an eye out for hunters and four-wheel drivers who also use this road on the weekends.

Since Cyclone Gabrielle this area features a lot of fallen trees so it would be advisable to take a folding pruning saw along with your usual tools to help clear a path if you need to.

Select Loop Road - According to the amazing resource that is website, Select Loop Road which runs off Waitaramoa Rd is a “beginner-friendly ride through native bush”.

Unfortunately, since Cyclone Gabrielle there are two sections of fallen trees to navigate to make it all the way around Select Loop Road which make it possibly a bit daunting for beginners.

The first section of trees to navigate is pretty easily managed and on my last ride through we cleared a small path through with our pruning saws. The second, however, includes a large fallen native tree that requires you to go bush to get around. This was a hard slog on the CRF250 Rally and resulted in a couple of falls into the soft undergrowth. Hopefully, the track will be cleared in the near future and it will be back to its novice-friendly status.

Also shooting off Waikaramoa Rd are a number of other tracks and trails that are well worth exploring. Most end in dead ends a few hundred meters off Waikaramoa Rd, but some wind their way off into the bush for a good long stretch and feature a number of challenges including mud bogs, ruts and overgrowth bush.

For a more seasoned Dual-Sport rider, there is a track in the North West of the forest I’m going to call the North West Loop. This trail is much more challenging than Select Loop Rd and features bogs, slippery hill climbs and a water crossing or two to keep you on your toes. Like Select Loop Road, there is a large tree down across this track that you have to go into “Enduro Mode” to get around. I’ve ridden this trail from both directions and definitely recommend hitting it from the bridge end rather than the stream crossing end.

The area as a whole is used by a wide range of people, so remember to be respectful of others while you're out on the trails. So far I’ve come across hunters, 4x4 guys and even people out for a cheeky camp while in the forest. There really does seem to be something for everyone out here so go out and enjoy it, but make sure you handle yourself in a manner that won’t reflect badly on dual sport riders. We’d hate to lose access to such a great place to ride.


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