Looking for outdoor activities in the spring? Cycle one of New Zealand’s epic cycle routes
You’ve probably heard of the New Zealand Great Walks, but have you heard of our Great Rides? From gentle coastal trails to more challenging mountain biking adventures, there is something for everyone along these cycle paths.
So hop on your bike and get ready to explore Aotearoa on two wheels! Here are our top suggestions:
Hawke’s Bay Trails
Beautiful Hawke’s Bay is a slice of Europe in our backyard. With abundant sunshine and bountiful vineyards producing some of the best wines in the country, this is the perfect destination for wine tasting and a bicycle trip.
The mostly flat terrain makes riding fun for novice riders and families. Expect to encounter stunning coastal scenery, Art Deco architecture, panoramic views from Peak Te Mata, and the world’s largest gannet colony at Cape Kidnappers.
Discover all this and more on a 5-day bike tour with Takaro Trails.
Old Coach Road, Ohakune
This cycle and pedestrian path was built at the beginning of the 20th century to transport passengers in horse-drawn carriages. Today it’s a fantastic family ride that offers a variety of terrain. Beginning at Horopito, the trail winds along the lower slopes of Mount Ruapehu, over part of the original cobbled causeway, along limestone cliffs, volcanic plateaus, and through native forest.
This 3-day mountain biking experience involves a day of driving along the Old Coach route, plus plenty of time to enjoy other outdoor activities in and around the national park.
Queenstown cycle paths
Although generally known as the adventure capital for bungee jumping and skiing, Queenstown’s cycle paths don’t disappoint either. A five-day bike tour starting with the former mining colony of Arrowtown is one of the South Island’s most scenic trails, rich in color and history.
Stroll along the Arrowtown River Bridges Trail, brave the technically challenging edges of Lake Wakatipu, and take a scenic walk along the Kawarau Suspension Bridge on the Gibbston River Trail to visit as many related wineries as you like. It’s five days of adventure, fun and great wine tasting.
Remutaka cycle path, Wellington
This cycle path begins at Wellington Harbor, winding through the Hutt Valley and Remutaka Ranges before skirting the edge of Cook Strait, offering varied terrain ranging from lush forest and wetlands to rugged coastline.
On this eight-hour trail highlights tour, you can experience all the diversity of this trail. Pass through beautiful forest landscapes, tunnels and bridges before crossing picturesque pastoral landscapes to the coast, where you may be lucky enough to spot killer whales, seals and dolphins.
Lake Dunstan, Central Otago
This new 55 km trail connects the towns of Clyde and Cromwell. It’s a relatively gentle ride that takes you on a scenic journey along the shores of Lake Dunstan and the Kawarau and Clutha rivers.
As well as admiring some of Central Otago’s iconic landscapes, you’ll come across Coffee Afloat, New Zealand’s first floating burger bar serving cyclists on a lake among the mountains. Embark on a 3- or 5-day adventure on the Dunstan Lake Bike Trail that begins and ends in Queenstown.
Ultimate Adventure in Gisborne and Eastland
Sparkling waters and legendary sunrises await you at Tairāwhiti Gisborne. A bike-rail tour through this region is a unique way to explore the history, culture and landscapes of a part of the North Island that is still relatively unexplored.
On a 5-day rail bike adventure in Gisborne, learn about the region’s Maori history, taste biodynamic wines, stay awhile and listen to nature in the Zen Hut, and soak up the sun along the 90km stretch of spectacular coastline.
Alps to Ocean, Christchurch – Canterbury
This iconic ride is New Zealand’s longest continuous cycle route, making it one of our must-see cycle routes. It is a cycle path for adventurous travelers looking for a challenge.
This 6-day Alpine to Ocean bike adventure begins in Christchurch and takes you through glacier-etched valleys, turquoise lakes, small towns and villages, and high-country sheep farms. Enjoy craft breweries, incredible stargazing, hydroelectric dams and power plants, and classic country hospitality along the way.
Otago Central Rail Trail
The Otago Central Rail Trail is the oldest cycle route in the country and a fantastic way to experience the diversity of this region.
The entire trail is 152km and takes 3-5 days, but you can do smaller sections. This full-day bike tour is enough to get a taste of the trail, focusing on the stage from Auripo to Clyde via Lauder, Chatto Creek, and Alexandra. Expect spectacular scenery and stops at local tavernas and cafes that interrupt the day and give you the chance to chat with the locals.
It’s time to hike these trails! Check out all of Stuff’s must-see New Zealand bike trips here.