New Zealand is a great place to enjoy the outdoors. From our amazing walks to cruising the waters to skydiving out of aeroplanes – there are so many ways to see our beautiful country. One of the most popular is cycling. Whether it’s on the road or off-road, we love our cycling here in New Zealand. With new tracks and trails opening all the time as well as some of our most popular walking tracks being converted to dual use, there has never been a better time to head to New Zealand, dust off your bike and get out and see the country and cycling pace.
Whether you bring your own bike or hire one when you get here, no matter where you are in the country, you will be able to hunt out some great tracks and trails.
Here are 10 of our favourites.
1. Hauraki Rail Trail
Located just over an hour south of Auckland is the small town of Thames on the way to the Coromandel. From here, you can access the stunning Hauraki Rail Trail. This trail has been expanding for the past few years, with new sections being added all the time. The traditional route takes you from Thames to Waihi, however, there are now five sections to the trail covering 173km and taking you down as far as Matamata. The path takes you through the stunning Karagahake Gorge, one of New Zealand’s most spectacular sights and is well worth spending a few days exploring.
Find out more: https://haurakirailtrail.co.nz/
2. Queen Charlotte Track
The Queen Charlotte Track is one of our favourite places in New Zealand to explore. Located at the top of the South Island, this is a great example of a walking trail that has been converted for dual use, allowing cyclists to enjoy this fabulous area. With stunning coastal views, native bush and the stunning Marlborough Sounds for company, this is a challenging bike trail covering 70km split into three sections. One section of the track is closed to cyclists during the busy summer months but other than that, the track is available all year round.
Find out more: http://www.qctrack.co.nz/on-the-track/bike-the-track/
3. West Coast Wilderness Trail
The West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island is one of the most rugged in the world. That makes it perfect for crazy cyclists! With rugged shorelines just waiting to be explored, the West Coast Wilderness Trail takes you from Greymouth to Ross on one of the country’s smoothest and most accessible trails. Your journey will take you through ancient rainforest, along glacial rivers, around moody lakes and across some pretty stunning wetlands. There is so much to see and do on this trail that you will want to give yourself a few days to explore the 135.5km trail.
Find out more: https://www.westcoastwildernesstrail.co.nz/
4. Otago Central Rail Trail
The Otago Central Rail Trail is New Zealand’s original Great Ride. Covering 152kms from start to finish, the Otago Central Rail Trail follows the former route of the Otago Central Railway. It was New Zealand’s first off-road cycleway and walking trail and continues to go from strength to strength. The compacted gravel pathway makes for super-easy cycling and there are no real steep hills on the trail making it ideal for beginners and recreational cyclists. Paths are two way which means you can ride sociably alongside others as long as you keep an eye out for cyclists coming the other way! The trail is suitable for all ages making this a firm family favourite and a great way to explore this beautiful part of New Zealand.
Find out more: http://www.otagocentralrailtrail.co.nz/about-our-trail/
5. Queenstown Trail
The Queenstown Trail is a great way to get out and try something different the next time you are in Queenstown. The trail, covering 120kms, will take you through some of the region’s most spectacular scenery as you cycle through awe-inspiring vistas, around crystal clear lakes, up and down river gorges and discover hidden ruins. The trail will take you all the way from Queenstown to Gibbston Valley with a number of side options. It’s a great way to get out and explore the vineyards of the Central Otago region. There are so many different options with a range of maps available showing you all the different routes and difficulty levels.
Find out more: https://queenstowntrail.co.nz/
If you are planning a trip to Queenstown, make sure you check out the latest deals on car rental in Queenstown and find out why we’re one of New Zealand’s favourite rental car companies.
6. The Redwoods
The Redwoods in Rotorua is one of the best places in New Zealand to go cycling, especially if you are into downhill mountain biking. The Redwoods are home to one of New Zealand’s oldest mountain bike networks and features over 130kms of continually evolving trails. There’s something to cater for all levels of rider from beginners and family groups through to experts looking for extreme action. The trails are all well graded and the area is split into sections where you will find similar trails so you are not having to cycle too far between trails. It’s a truly wonderful place and free to access if you have your own bike or there are great rental options down there.
Find out more: https://redwoods.co.nz/bike/
7. Roxburgh Gorge Trail
The Roxburgh Gorge Trail is one of New Zealand’s best one-day cycle trails and takes you from Alexandra to Lake Roxburgh Damn. No matter what season you cycle the trail, it will never be the same from one day to the next with the landscape changing with the seasons. The trail will take you through historic gold mining country and this provides a big attraction on the ride. There is currently a section of the trail that is unavailable to cyclists so there is the option to hop on the scenic 12km scenic boat trip where you will learn more about the area. The Roxburgh Trail connects into the Otago Central Rail Trail at Alexandra as well as the Clutha Gold Trail and these three trails provide almost 250kms of non-stop cycling!
8. Great Taste Trail
The Great Taste Trail is located at the top of New Zealand’s South Island in the Tasman region and will take you from Nelson right through to Kaiteriteri. At 178kms in length, the trail takes between 1-4 days to complete depending on how fast you want to take things and will take you up towards the stunning Abel Tasman National Park. This is a loop trail which is perfect for those looking to start and finish in the same place. The trail starts at Nelson Airport making it the perfect weekend getaway for cycling enthusiasts.
9. Alps 2 Ocean Trail
As the name suggests, this world-famous cycle trail takes you from the Alps to the Ocean on New Zealand’s South Island. This is a great chance to see New Zealand in all its technicolour glory as you cycle from the highest mountains, past great lakes and rivers and down to the ocean. This cycle is suitable for all ages and is broken down into nine sections. If you do want to take on the entire route, it’s a whopping 300+ kms starting in Aoraki Mt Cook Village. There is an alternative route that starts in Tekapo which is slightly shorter but we reckon if you want to do it properly, start in Mount Cook.
Find out more: https://www.alps2ocean.com/
10. The Old Ghost Road
If you want to get all Lord of the Rings when you are here, then maybe give the Old Ghost Road a try and pretend you are like Aragon heading into the unknown! In the North West corner of the South Island, a long-forgotten old miners’ road has been revived as a mountain biking and tramping trail connecting the Upper Buller Gorge to the mighty Mokihinui River. This trail is 85kms and traverse majestic native forest, open tussock tops, river flats and forgotten valleys. This is a relatively new cycling trail but is one of the most fascinating as it follows the old miners’ road. Along the trail, you will come across four ghost towns – former mining villages that are long abandoned. It all sounds a bit eerie but the Old Ghost Road is a great cycling trail just waiting to be explored.
Find out more: https://oldghostroad.org.nz/
So there you have it – 10 of our favourite cycle trails in New Zealand. Have you cycled any of them? We’d love to hear from you if you have so we can add some of your pics to our blog.
If you need to rent a car to get you to any of these amazing biking spots, we’ve got great deals running all year round on our website – we’ve also go the awesome Toyota Hilux which is the perfect vehicle for chucking the bikes in the back and hitting the road!
*All images courtesy of supporting website