Cycling is one of the best ways to explore New Zealand's legendary landscape. So, pump up your tyres, pack your panniers and don your best cycling gear on, and head to one of New Zealand's best bike tracks for an unforgettable outdoor experience.
1. Pan Pac Eskdale Mountain Bike Park, Eskdale, Napier
Located within the privately owned commercial Tangoio Forest. This is a mountain bikers dream, with over 80km of purpose built biking trails suitable for all abilities, including cross-country, free ride and downhill trails; and forest roads and 4x4 tracks. The highest peak in the park stands at 290m elevation, so you can imagine the amazing views, and with the forest being a whopping 356ha, the variety of tracks available ensure every taste is catered to. Read more.
2. Whakarewarewa Redwood Forest, Taupo
Nestled within Rotorua’s impressive Whakarewarewa Forest is one of New Zealand’s mountain biking gems, where more than 90km of tracks meet stunning natural scenery. The extensive network includes tracks that range from beginner to advanced, and they all make the most of Rotorua’s impressive scenery – panoramic views, looming forest canopies and native ferns will do their best to distract you from the well-maintained bike trails. Read more.
3. Cougar Mountain Bike Park, Tokoroa, Rotorua
This park offers 10 off-road forest tracks across 35km of volcanic ash and clay offering exhilarating rides for cyclists of all abilities. This mountain bike park is also home to many mountain bike events, including a leg of the Mid North Island Cup. Read more.
4. Lake Mangamahoe Mountain Biking Network, Taranaki
Here, just 8km out of New Plymouth, everyone from beginner riders to thrill-seeking pros can enjoy themselves on the variety of purpose-built tracks. Picturesque Lake Mangamahoe is flanked by a 262ha commercial-production forest reserve. It’s here that you’ll find mountain biking tracks winding and dipping their way through the reserve. This is where the fun begins! Read more.
5. Makara Peak Track, Karori, Wellington
This is one of New Zealand’s most popular mountain biking tracks. More than 100,000 bikers a year come here and pedal up and down steep hills and through native bush, catching spectacular views across Cook Strait to the South Island. Members of the public who are keen to create a world-class mountain bike park have transformed this 200ha area into a maze of mountain bike trails, all the while reinforcing the existing natural environment. There is a buffet of biking trails for riders of all abilities. Read more.
6. Nydia Track, Blenheim
Located in Pelorus Sound, this 27km track links historic bridle paths through lush native bush passing over two saddles on either side of Nydia Bay. The track crosses streams, climbs summits and heads through native bush and around coastal waterways on its way from Havelock to Duncan Bay, bypassing Nydia Bay. Read more.
7. Takaka Hill, Rameka Track, Motueka, Nelson
Indulge your downhill passion on a wicked ride that starts at the top of Takaka Hill. Before your high-speed descent, it’s worth taking a short warm-up wander over to Harwood’s Hole. A vertical hole in the hill, it’s the deepest ‘straight’ drop in the country. After checking out this local phenomenon, it’s time to spin your wheels down Rameka Track’s lunar-like northern face. You’ll see Golden Bay before you, and a few curly sections on this single path (so keep your eyes peeled), before you reach the base of the mountain and Takaka township. Read more.
8. Cullen Creek/Waikakaho Track, Marlborough
Starting at the northern end of the Cullen Creek Valley, this is a route from Linkwater near Picton through to Tuamarina in the Wairau Valley near Blenheim. Along the way you’ll see remnants of the mining days in the area, from remains of small villages to rock cuttings, terraces and stone culverts. The track itself climbs steadily to the Waikakaho Saddle, and then you’ll need to walk for around 25 minutes until you reach the spur, as the track is quite rough. Then let the downhill begin as a series of switchbacks lead you down into the valley heading for Cullensville, a former mining town. Read more.
9. Hanmer Basin, Hurunui District
The Hanmer Basin is ideal, with all-weather tracks intertwining around mountainous, rugged terrain. Whether you’re a pro cyclist or just a beginner, there is a track for you here. Options range from scenic, meandering trails and backcountry gravel roads for novices through to technically challenging tracks with awesome switchbacks for experts. Plus, what makes this area even better for cyclists is that they can finish their day of mountain biking with a relaxing bathe in the hot pools at the famous thermal springs. Read more.
10. Central Otago Rail Trail, Central Otago
Once a busy railway line connecting Clyde to Middlemarch, it’s now a scenic, secluded trail spanning 150km. Cycle over old wooden trestle bridges, through eerie tunnels and across acres of sun-drenched rocky plains, and stop and admire the majestic mountains and dramatic gorges. The trail is relatively flat and generally takes four days to complete comfortably. Read more.