You came for adventure, you got it – on two wheels. May we suggest many carbs and extra stretching. Now, on your bike…
The Old Ghost Road, South Island
An epic 85-kilometre stretch of old gold miner’s road traverses river flats, wild valleys, magnificent native forests and deserted towns between Lyell and the pounding Mokihinui River to the north. Book sleepouts along the route and harden up – the track’s rated Grade Four (translation: hardcore) and not kidding about requiring experience.
The Great Lake Trail, Lake Taupo
Pump pedals for 71 kilometres as this gorgeous stretch of scenery takes in thundering waterfalls and volcanic mountains as well as the lake, the largest in Australasia. Pause to breathe in deep nature and birdsong as you go.
Queen Charlotte Track, Marlborough Sounds
You’ll earn more than just a taste of the sublime food and wine this region is known for after freewheeling around lush coastal forest and spectacular bays near Marlborough vine country. The 71-kilometre Queen Charlotte Track breaks down into sections doable on a daytrip – most with upscale accommodation options if you want to make a weekend of it.
Holland Days Loop, Bay of Islands
When the sprawling Waitangi Mountain Bike Park on the north island is complete, there will be almost 40 trails of differing intensity for avid mountain bikers to conquer. For now, try the easy Holland Days Loops, a family-friendly 1.4-kilometre circle that takes in some of the most picturesque parts of the longer Holland Days trail.
Roaring Lion Trail, Garston
Come for an energetic daytrip – it’s only an hour south of Queenstown – or commit to a multi-day adventure, sleeping in huts with open fireplaces and rustic vibes. It’s pure New Zealand wilderness out here – you’ll fill your water bottle right from creeks and waterfalls. Bring a medium level of fitness and a backpack with all your food.
Craigieburn Mountain Biking Trails, Canterbury
Got three, maybe four, hours to burn? And we do mean burn. Go on an intermediate-advanced blast down ski alps, minus snow. Your nerves will zing as Craigieburn Edge track darts across steep scree slope, plunging fast into pretty alpine forest. And if it feels otherworldly, there’s a reason: this is Narnia, where parts of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe were filmed.
Whakarewarewa Forest trails, Rotorua
How much adrenalin are you up for, exactly? Five minutes into the forest outside Rotorua you’ll find the “easy” Kid’s Loop or a thrilling all-downhill track. Option two, please!
Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail, South Island
On your bike: road, hybrid, tandem, recumbent, touring, single speed and even penny farthings have done the A20. Parts of this 301-kilometre, gloriously scenic on- and off-road trail between Mt. Cook and Oamaru are doable for all levels of fitness.
Hawke’s Bay Trails, Napier
This mostly flat network of seaside cycle-ways plots an easy two-wheel cruise for a family. Winding between Napier and Hastings, there are several routes to choose from: The Landscapes Ride bordering picturesque Cape Kidnappers or The Water Ride through Ahuriri Estuary, brimming with wetlands wildlife.