A guide to mountain biking in Kaikoura

Kaikoura is highly regarded as a sanctuary for all things marine. But it's also a great place to bike. Here are some of the best riding trails in Kaikoura.

Where the mountains meet the sea, the coastal township of Kaikoura is highly regarded as a sanctuary for all things marine. Situated 2.5 hours north of Christchurch, the small Kaikoura community takes pride in ensuring that the town is eco-focused and sustainable in order to preserve the pristine environment for future generations. The community’s hard work, passion and desire has paid off with the township recently being awarded the platinum EarthCheck accreditation.

So it’s not surprising that several mountain biking tracks have popped up in the area. Biking is seen as a great way to get around, explore the township and take in the rugged landscapes whilst leaving a minimal footprint.

Rides to enjoy in the area include:

Kowhai River
Enjoy this easygoing ride suitable for the whole family. Starting at the Mt Fyffe car park and following the Kowhai River, the tracks are a mixture of 4WD and purpose-built single tracks. The track leaves the river and runs behind the golf course and Ocean Ridge subdivision before crossing the highway into the pine plantation for the final leg into Kaikoura township. At the completion of the ride enjoy a bite to eat at one of the many cafés in the township.

Mt Fyffe Track
Mountain biking is allowed on the Mt Fyffe track, but be warned it’s steep and mountain bikers must give way to walkers and keep their bikes under control at all times. The 4WD track leads to Mt Fyffe Hutt turning into an open trail to the summit. The ascent requires a lot of pedal power and the descent is very fast – make sure you check your brakes before departing. Once at the end of Mt Fyffe you can continue to Palmer. The track is located at the end of Mt Fyffe road, beginning in farmland before changing into a technical single track through native bush. There’s a junction point in the forest that can be cycled in either direction to form a loop.

Half Moon Bay to Okiwi Bay 
This intermediate track is 30km and will take 4-5 hours. The track's situated 20 minutes north of Kaikoura in Half Moon Bay. The ride is bordered by the Kaikoura Range and the Pacific Ocean. Due to the track being used for 4WD it can be rutted in places and the grass can hide rocks, so keep an eye out! The ride is not technical, however, good fitness is required due to the steep nature of the track.

Good to note: This track can be made into a loop with a half hour ride on SH1. However please note that many trucks and heavy vehicles use SH1 as their main through-route to Christchurch.

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