The length and variety of this network means there’s something for everyone. Day rides offer enjoyable sightseeing across the Ruapehu and Whanganui regions, while fit, experienced mountain bikers will love the full Mountains to Sea Ngā Ara Tūhonojourney taking anywhere from 2–6 days.
The six sections start with the Mountain Road, a view-filled descent down Mt Ruapehu in Tongariro National Park. The trail then follows the Ohakune Old Coach Road, an historic byway featuring jaw-dropping railway viaducts and lush native forest.
The quiet, country Ruatiti Road section leads to the Mangapurua Track, a classic backcountry mountain bike ride through the wilds of Whanganui National Park. Long-deserted pioneer farms, lofty bluffs and the Bridge to Nowhere are among its highlights.
A thrilling jetboat ride, or memorable kayak adventure will take you down the Whanganui River to Pipiriki, the start of the Whanganui River Road. The importance of Te Awa Tupua–Whanganui River was underscored by its declaration in 2017 as a living entity in landmark legislation and a United Nations proclamation.
The River Road is a tranquil meander notable for important Māori and settler history, with fascinating heritage sites dotted along it. Continuing through to Whanganui, New Zealand’s only UNESCO City of Design, the Great Ride follows a super-easy riverside trail that’s a deservedly popular day ride for visitors.
Keen mountain bikers can also factor in two more classic sections – the Fishers (grade 3, intermediate) and Kaiwhakauka (grade 4, advanced) tracks.
Ngā Haerenga New Zealand Cycle Trails Official Website
A detailed description of this Great Ride, including maps and more information, can be found here.
Most of the Mountains to Sea Ngā Ara Tūhono is grade 3 (intermediate) following bike paths, quality singletrack, quiet country roads and an old cobbled road. Some trickier and remote sections on the Kaiwhakauka Track push the grading up to grade 4 (advanced).
A quality, well-maintained mountain bike with suspension is essential; e-mountain-bikes are also welcome.
Riding the entire trail is a challenging and often remote adventure requiring off-road experience, fitness, careful planning and favourable weather. Some sections pass through alpine environments and high rainfall areas making warm clothing and wet weather gear essential. Always check the forecast and trail status(opens in new window) before setting off.
Local advice, bike hire and shuttles are readily available for a variety of day ride and multi-day options taking in must-see sights, suitable for most riding abilities.