Choosing a Great Ride
Spread throughout the country, the Great Rides of New Zealand range from short, easy sightseeing trips to more challenging adventures through the backcountry. Each has its own unique character and attractions, from wineries, galleries and family fun, to wild coastlines, ancient forest and geothermal wonders.
Each Great Ride is graded according to nationwide trail standards so you know what to expect. The grades range from 1 (easiest, such as a rail trail) to 5 (expert, such as rough singletrack with big climbs). Most Great Rides are graded 1–3, which means they’re suitable for beginners to intermediate riders.
All Great Rides are divided into sections, which might not be all the same grade across the whole trail. Each section’s grade, distance and approximate riding time are provided so you can choose the right ride and know what to expect when you get there.
Food, accommodation and shops
Although many trails go cross-country or head into remote areas, accommodation and food are never far away. Most trails pass through towns and small settlements where cyclists are welcome and well catered for with a range of accommodation, cafes, restaurants and shops.
More remote trail sections often feature atmospheric accommodation such as farmstays, boutique lodges and rustic backcountry huts. There are also plenty of country cafes, wineries and breweries dotted along the trails – welcome stopping points for many riders, as you can imagine! The Ngā Haerenga New Zealand Cycle Trails website(opens in new window), and official trail websites list all these trail partners and more.