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New Zealand’s outdoor lifestyle, spectacular landscapes and varied terrain set the scene for some of the world’s best cycling and mountainbiking experiences. From north to south - in urban and remote locations throughout New Zealand - there are tracks to appeal to all riding levels from novice to experienced riders.


View more downloadable images of Cycling and Mountainbiking in Tourism New Zealand's Image Library.

Cycling New Zealand

From casual pedaling between vineyards to high country adventures, cycling the by-ways is a chance to get to know the real New Zealand - fresh air, wildlife and songbirds, tasty regional fare and friendly locals.

New Zealand offers some singularly Kiwi cycling experiences - like packing the bike into a helicopter for a high country adventure, pedaling back through time into gold mining days, free wheeling in a famous movie location, and finishing the day soaking in a thermal pool.

Cycling is a popular New Zealand sport, and while keen bikers can choose challenging multi-day alpine tracks, there are also many quiet country roads, coastal meanders, vineyard and forest trails offering easy riding for the less experienced.

Most tracks are open year-round, but some trails in remote or mountainous regions may be closed for winter months. Multi-day tracks offer a variety of basic and luxury accommodation, cafés and food stops.

New Zealand cycle trails gear up for 2014

New Zealand cycle trails gear up for 2014

What goes around, comes around and the wheels have been turning steadily as New Zealand’s national cycleway network has spun from idea into reality.


Family mountainbiking around Lake Dunstan

Family mountainbiking the shores around beautiful Lake Dunstan - a man-made lake in Central Otago that's also a popular fishing spot.

Photo credit: David Wall

New Zealand’s cycle trails

New Zealand is developing a series of cycling tracks that once completed will form Nga Haerenga - New Zealand’s national cycleway.

There are 22 projects known collectively as ‘the great rides’. Most are completed and operating, with the final few projected for completion during summer 2013 / 2014.

The first fully-completed ‘great ride’ - the St James Great Trail, in the northern South Island - opened in October 2010. The 60km track, which follows river valleys and traverses the St James mountain range, is open from November until April.

In the Central North Island, keen cyclists have a wide choice of cycling trails. The Waikato region offers the Waikato River Trails, the Timber Trail through Pureora Forest near Waitomo, and the Hauraki Rail Trail which takes in the towns of Te Aroha, Paeroa, Thames and Waihi.

Further south, on the Ruapehu - Whanganui Nga Ara Tuhono trail, The Old Coach Road section is a family-friendly 11km day ride, while the longer two-day Mangapurua Track ride is for more experienced cyclists.

New Zealand Cycleways website

On the St James Cycle Trail

Part of Nga Haerenga - New Zealand's national cycle trail network - the 64km St James cycle trail follows an alpine route through New Zealand's Southern Alps.

Otago Central Rail Trail

Otago Central Rail Trail, in the central South Island, is New Zealand’s most popular existing cycling trail. Every year thousands of Kiwis and visitors of all ages and abilities complete the three-day journey through 150km of memorable scenery and gold mining history.

The route follows an old railway line, has no steep hills and many welcoming stop-offs where cyclists can soak in the legendary southern hospitality and scenery.

Cyclists can choose to either do the trail independently or with one of many tour operators that organise accommodation, bike hire and bag transfers.

Cycling the Otago Central Rail Trail

Cycling the Otago Central Rail Trail

The Otago Central Railway line was once the link that opened up the rural highland of Central Otago.

Cycling through a Hawke's Bay vineyard with Coastal Wine Cycles

New Zealand offers a huge range of cycling activities for all levels of cyclists from vineyard doddles to multi-day mountainbiking expeditions.

Photo credit: Coastal Wine Cycles