New Zealand is a paradise for biking enthusiasts, offering an array of trails that traverse through its stunning landscapes. From leisurely rides through lush vineyards to challenging mountain treks, New Zealand’s biking trails cater to all levels of cyclists. Here’s an exploration of some of this beautiful country’s most captivating biking trails.
The Otago Central Rail Trail
A journey through the heart of the South Island, the Otago Central Rail Trail is a 152-kilometer stretch that offers an immersive experience of New Zealand’s gold mining history. Ideal for families and casual riders, this trail passes through historic towns, old tunnels, and over viaducts, offering a glimpse into the past. The trail’s gentle gradients make it accessible for all ages and fitness levels.
The Great Lake Trail
Located near Lake Taupo in the North Island, the Great Lake Trail is a 71-kilometer journey that boasts spectacular views of the lake and Tongariro National Park. The trail meanders through ancient forests along crystal-clear streams and offers stunning vistas of volcanic landscapes. It’s a perfect mix of natural beauty and physical challenge, suitable for intermediate to advanced riders.
The Heaphy Track
One of New Zealand’s Great Walks, the Heaphy Track in the Kahurangi National Park is a 78.4-kilometer adventure that is also open to mountain bikers. This trail takes riders through diverse landscapes, from lush rainforests and tussock highlands to rugged coastal shores. The Heaphy Track is challenging and best suited for experienced mountain bikers.
The Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail
The Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail is a breathtaking journey of over 300 kilometers connecting the Southern Alps to the Pacific Ocean. This trail offers diverse scenery, from the majestic Aoraki/Mount Cook to serene lakes, golden tussock lands, and wineries. The trail is a mix of on and off-road sections suitable for intermediate riders.
The Queen Charlotte Track
Situated in the Marlborough Sounds, the Queen Charlotte Track is a 70-kilometer trail that offers a unique blend of coastal and forest riding. The trail is renowned for its stunning views of the Sounds, lush coastal bush, and wildlife. Suitable for intermediate to advanced riders, the trail can be challenging with its steep climbs and descents.
The Timber Trail
Deep in the heart of the North Island’s forested heartland, the Timber Trail is an 85-kilometer journey through the Pureora Forest Park. This trail is known for its suspension bridges, including New Zealand’s longest at 141 meters. The Timber Trail traverses through ancient forests, offering a serene and almost mystical biking experience. It’s suitable for most fitness levels.
The Roxburgh Gorge Trail
The Roxburgh Gorge Trail offers a remarkable journey through a landscape sculpted by the mighty Clutha Mata-au River. This 34-kilometer trail, located in Central Otago, features awe-inspiring rock formations and historical sites from the gold mining era. The trail includes a unique jet boat transfer, adding an extra element of adventure.
The Te Ara Ahi – Thermal by Bike
This unique trail takes riders through a geothermal wonderland in the Rotorua region. The 66-kilometer Te Ara Ahi trail passes through thermal hotspots, geysers, and boiling mud pools, offering a fascinating glimpse into the Earth’s inner workings. The trail is easy to intermediate level, making it accessible to most riders.
New Zealand’s diverse biking trails provide a unique way to explore the country’s breathtaking landscapes. From the serene vineyards of Otago to the volcanic terrains of the North Island, these trails offer unforgettable experiences for cyclists of all levels. Whether you seek a leisurely ride or a challenging mountain biking adventure, New Zealand’s trails will not disappoint.