NZ's Best Bikepacking Trails

Bikepacking in New Zealand offers a thrilling adventure through some stunning and varied landscapes, with a well-established network of trails, tracks and backcountry routes, friendly locals, and opportunities for a bit of cultural immersion, making for an unforgettable biking experience. There are heaps of exciting bike trails suitable for various skill levels and preferences from  novice to expert. Here are a few examples of some of the best bikepacking trails in NZ:

North Island Rides

  • Hauraki Rail Trail – An easy 160km ride which can be completed over 1-4 days. Following a historic railway it then passes through the Karangahake Gorge, Bay of Plenty
  • Whakarewarewa Forest Loop in Rotorua – an easy to intermediate 33km ride over 1-2 days. This trail passes the Blue and Green Lakes in Rotorua and continues through the forest of giant redwoods, with views of the city and some geothermal hot pools.
  • Mountains to the Sea Trail – an intermediate to advanced 199km ride which can be completed across 1-6 days. Starting out at Tongariro, follow the trail down to Ohakune and then along the Whanganui River down to Whanganui, it includes a boat trip. 

South Island Rides

  • Old Ghost Road, West Coast – an advanced to expert 85km ride over 2-3 days. It's a tough ride for advanced riders through forest along mountain tops and heading down to the coast near Seddonville.
  • Otago Central Rail Trail – an easy 152km which can be completed over 1-5 days. A fairly long but easy ride following the old railway from Clyde to Middlemarch.
  • Clutha Gold Trail – an easy 73km ride over 2 days. Riding through the beautiful Beaumont Gorge down to the Clutha Gold Trail and passing some rural settlements, as well as wine and stone fruit.

Check out the great rides app for more trails near you at:

Grading Guide:

Grade 1 – flat, for novices and families – easiest

Grade 2 – mostly flat, some climbs, for beginners and families with some experience – easy

Grade 3 – a little steeper and more demanding for experienced cyclists - intermediate

Grade 4 – long climbs, for the more seasoned, fit, experienced riders – advanced

Grade 5 – big climbs, narrow tracks, hazards, for fit, experienced and skilled riders – expert

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