Top 3 places to mountain bike in the North Island

Where to go mountain biking in the North Island of New Zealand.

I’ve had a blast exploring the mountain bike trails of the North Island. Starting in Auckland, my partner and I made our way to Wellington, stopping in Taupo, Rotorura and Napier to ride the local trails.

After spending a few weeks in the North, documenting a number of excellent places to ride, we’ve decided to bring you our top three picks of places to ride in the North; solely based on our opinion and the judged against the places we’ve seen.

The top three places to ride in the North Island, in no particular order, as rated by, are:

1st – Woodhill Bike Park, Auckland, NZ 

Woodhill is an awesome area for any type of rider and skill level. With over 135 km of trail to explore, there is little chance for you to get bored.

If you love jumps, small jumps, huge jumps, jumping off trailers, then this place is for you.If you prefer to keep both wheels on the ground, then don’t be shy, as there are loads of x-country trails for you to explore.

From beginner to expert, you’ll find something that matches your ability or pushes you to that next level of riding.

I recommend this as a great place for families. The trail network is very well marked and there are some great beginner trails for you to take your kids on; making this an awesome day out for the whole family.

2nd – Pan Pac Eskdale Mountain Bike Park, Napier, NZ

Developed and maintained by the Hawke’s Bay Mountain Bike Club, the largest in the country with over 1800 members, the Eskdale MTB Park offers a little bit of something for everyone.

There are a few downhill and freeride trails for those adventurous enough to check them out, and there is plenty of sweet x-country singletrack for you to explore. With over 80 km of trail, this area offers up some great riding. I found the trails super flowy, fast and fun.

An interesting fact: Eskdale is home to three pro downhill riders, including the 2009 World Junior DH Champ, Brook Macdonald.

3rd – Makara Peak MTB Park, Wellington, NZ

It’s typically rare to find an awesome network of singletrack trails in the heart of a large city. But, Wellington has Makara Peak MTB Park.

With its epic views of the city, the ocean and the surrounding rolling hills, this was one of our favourites in the north. Just over 40 km of singletrack trail make up this area.

There is a small, but fun skills area and some pretty sweet downhill runs.

A great park for x-country riding, there are plenty of tracks to explore. The Sally Alley and Arahiti up tracks are a few of my favourites as they wind their way up to Makara Peak, hugging the mountain side and offering some incredible views.

This is a great park for all skill levels and abilities, and offers up some great riding right in the heart of the City.

Happy Trails!

For part 1 of New Zealand MTB Adventure, click here

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