Places to cycle
The Bike Wise team has had fun researching some of NZ’s best places to cycle. If your local favourite place to cycle is not on the list, be sure to send us information and photos to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Click on the region listed below for more information.
- Bay of Plenty
- Hawke's Bay and Gisborne
- Need more information?
Check out the Auckland Transport website to download cycle maps.
Cycling in Auckland videos
The team at Auckland Transport has made a series of videos promoting ordinary Aucklanders as they share their advice for cycling in the city. You can check these videos out on the Auckland Transport You Tube channel.
Places to cycle
Sanders Reserve Mountain Bike Park - Albany
The reserve occupies a magnificent headland near Paremoremo. There are a number of trails to ride, and an excellent kids trail with berms, bumps and turns. The whole kids trail can be seen from the visitor centre so parents can choose to sit and watch or join in the fun. Bring a picnic and spend some time enjoying the views!
Project Twin Streams - Waitakere
There is an award-winning network of shared walks and cycleways out west. The wonderful three metre wide paths follow the Oratia, Opanuku and Waikumete streams and feature art works, information panels and examples of sustainable products. Download a map of the Waitakere cycleways (PDF, 4MB).
Totara Park - Manukau
Totara Park is one of Manukau’s largest parks. There is a purpose-built mountain bike park on site, with trails for beginner and intermediate riders, all combined with picnic areas and a free outdoor pool and adventure playground, to make a great family biking destination. Find out more.
Woodhill Mountain Bike Park Park (Auckland)
30km NW of Auckland | Easy to quite difficult | 1-8 hours depending on route | View Woodhill MTB Park map (GIF, 6 KB)
Auckland Mountain Bike club have built twisty tracks with jumps and banked corners, in this narrow strip of forest inland from Muriwai and Rangitira beaches. One of the best, ‘Cookie Trail’, is a fairly easy 4km loop track (with some jumps) starting from the corner of Walker and Boundary Roads. Other tracks are quite easy riding with gravel roads, beach riding and a mountain bike park. The main access point is Woodhill.
Whitford Forest (Auckland)
10km SE of Auckland | Easy to quite hard | 1 - 3 hours | View Whitford Forest map (GIF, 6 KB)
Peter Cloustan’s tracks are the best in Whitford. To get to them, start at the carpark at the top of the hill on the Whitford-Maraetai Road, 6km from Whitford. Then hop over the gate and head down the track. At the bottom, choose a track from the map board - most are named after Cloustan’s relatives. Joshua’s track is a good starting point, whilst Peter’s Track is the hardest. Be careful of jumps and drop-offs - especially after rain.
Hunua Ranges (Papakura)
10km SE of Papakura | Moderately easy | 1-2 hours (13km) | View Hunua Ranges map (GIF, 10 KB)
The Family Trail is an easy ride down a gravel road loop with a tiny bit of singletrack at the end. From the car park ride, back down the road, turn left at the first intersection and hop over a large steel gate. Ride up the gravel road for a few hundred metres and turn left at the first main intersection to start at the gravel road loop marked on the map.
Waikato River Trails - various points of access
The Waikato River Trails are part of the New Zealand Cycle Way, Nga Haerenga. Sections are already opened, with further construction underway to link hundreds of kilometres of trails along the mighty Waikato River. The trails run through farmland and reserves and are close to many main centres in the Waikato region. For more information, see the Waikato River Trails website.
Kinloch to Kawakawa Bay (Taupo)
This easy off-road track is just under 8km long and offers great walking or biking for families. Link to the W2K for a longer ride if the kids are up to it!
This purpose built mountain bike singletrack is a well graded, easy, singletrack running from Whakaipo Bay to Kinloch. The 13.2km track climbs steadily over the headland before descending to Kinloch. There is an optional loop track extension (nearly 10km) out over the headland with views over the lake.
Te Aroha (Hamilton)
40 km NE of Hamilton | Moderate | 1 - 2 hours (6 -10km) | View Te Aroha map (GIF, 13 KB)
This is a fun little track starting at the entrance of the Te Aroha Domain, where the hot springs are! It’s well signposted all the way round, with some trickier tracks going off the main loop if you want a challenge. Watch out for other people on the track when you’re coming back down the last section. Pick up a cool map from the bike shop or information centre in Te Aroha township.
Pukete Mountain Bike Park (Hamilton)
8 km NW of Hamilton | Easy to intermediate | 1 - 2 hours (6 -10km) | Visit Hamilton & Waikato website
This largely flat track is surrounded by native tree plantings. The easy contours are suitable for beginners and families as well as more advanced riders who will appreciate the track’s tight twists and turns, table top jump and the more rugged northern corner.
Te Miro Mountain Bike Park (Cambridge)
30 km NE of Cambridge | Grade 2 - 5 | up to 19.5km | View Te Miro MTB Park map (PDF, 1.9 MB)
Built by Te Miro Mountain Bike Club for the enjoyment of its members and other like-minded individuals, Te Miro Mountain Bike Park offers a variety of terrain and tracks to suit active families as well as hard-core enthusiasts.Native and exotic forest surround the park’s trails, providing not only great infrastructure but also picturesque scenery and plenty of interesting places to stop for a breather.
Craters of the Moon (Taupo)
6km N of Taupo | Varied track difficulty | 1 - 4 hrs | View Craters of the Moon map (GIF, 6 KB)
Enjoy great tracks going in from both sides of the forest. Why not try the 5km Beginner Loop? There are also three fun 3 - 4km loop tracks that start at the helicopter car park, off State Highway 1, with jumps and banked corners.
The Redwoods - Whakarewarewa (Rotorua)
3km S of Rotorua | Beginners to advanced | 1 - 4 hours | View Whakarewarewa map (GIF, 6 KB)
Some of the best purpose-built mountain bike tracks in New Zealand make this the ‘Disneyland’ of mountain biking!
With around 90km of trails in the Whakarewarewa Forest to choose from, families will find something to suit everyone. The beginners’ trail is a half hour ride down gravel road and singletrack. Others include the Blue Lake trail (13km of wide track and gravel road); and the Circuit Trail, which is like a 4km-long BMX course. Riding is free, but you can purchase a map from the visitor centre. There are plenty of other activities to choose from, including short and long walks, orienteering, picnics and exploring the visitor centre. For more information visit the Redwoods website.
Oropi Grove (Tauranga)
5km S of Tauranga | Tricky | 1-2 hrs (up to 15km)
This mountain bike park has heaps of really good singletrack. To get there, go down Oropi Rd off Highway 29 to the car park, and then plan your ride at the map board. The area isn’t too big and it is all forest and singletrack with only a tiny bit of gravel road, so you’re unlikely to get lost.
Cougar Mountain Bike Park (Tokoroa)
Mossop Road | Easy to difficult, depending on the trail
This excellent new facility replaces Big Rock MTB Park. Off road forest tracks make this home for a number of mountain biking events, with tracks to suit all levels and abilities.
Try searching Tauranga City Council's City Zoom for great local tracks and trails.
For more information about trails in the Hawke's Bay region check out the Hawke's Bay Cycling Trails cycle map.
Water Ride – Hawke’s Bay
Easy leisurely ride (68 km) | 5 hours
Perfect for families, and easy riders, the Water Ride is flat with lots of places to start your ride from. The ride takes in Napier and the surrounding area, from Bay View in the north to Clive in the south-east and Taradale and Puketapu to the west, you’ll encounter bustling cafes, shops and bars, wineries and some great coastal and rural views. The Estuary Loop meanders through the wetlands out to the coast at Bay View and back to Westshore or Ahuriri and offers winery, café and bar stops with lots to see en route. The Puketapu Loop offers a charming country pub, restaurant and general store, parks, a nearby winery and an historic church.
Landscape Ride – Hawke’s Bay
Easy, leisurely ride (56km) | 4.5 hours
What a great way to explore the coastal communities of Haumoana, Te Awanga and Clifton which border the coastline of iconic Cape Kidnappers. The Cape is home to the world’s largest mainland gannet colony and one of the world’s top 40 golf courses. Head inland up the nearby valley via the more challenging Tuki Tuki River Road Loop and back down the easier off-road trail. You will overlook vineyards, orchards and the river. Enjoy changing scenery, especially awesome in autumn, views of the impressive Te Mata Peak and stop at the cafes or wineries on the western side of the trail.
Wineries Ride – Hawke’s Bay
Easy to medium (36km-47km) | 2.5 – 3.5 hours
Covering a good part of the fertile Heretaunga Plains, bordered by the Ngaruroro River and the Hastings City boundary, the Wineries Ride covers mainly flat terrain with a mixture of offroad trails and on-road connections. Why not try a Wineries Mooch - a fantastic sociable trail around the wine-growing areas of Bridge Pa and the Gimblett Gravels. This easy going off-road section of the trail is dotted with many award-winning wineries and eateries that give you plenty of places to stop, rest and refresh along the way. You can extend your ride here, through Hastings historic treelined Oak Avenue and along the banks of the Ngaruroro River to Fernhill.
Puketapu Ramble – Napier/Hastings
Easy to medium (17-35 km) | 1 - 2.5 hours
Starting from the coast at Awatoto or inland at Taradale the Puketapu Loop offers a charming country pub stop, restaurant and general store, parks, nearby winery and an historic church
Hastings iWay Loop, Hastings District
Easy (35 km loop) | 2.5 hours
Jump on the iWay at Clive or Havelock North and cruise the trails to the city cycle lanes, grab a world-famous Rush Munro Icecream, breakfast at the Hawke’s Bay Farmers’ Market (every Sunday) or jump into Splash Planet Theme Park (open Summer only). Connect to the Wineries Ride or the Landscape Rides and loop back to where you started.
Wineries Mooch – Hawke’s Bay
Easy to medium (30-47km) | 2 – 4 hours
You’ll have a ball on this fantastic, sociable trail around the wine-growing areas of Bridge Pa and the Gimblett Gravels. Start wherever you like on this easy going off-road section of the trail dotted with many award-winning wineries, and cafes.
Kidnappers Coast – Hawke’s Bay
Easy (15-18 km) | 1.5 hours
Jump on your bike at Black Bridge or Haumoana and cruise along the foreshore and picnic areas, pop into the wineries and restaurants en route and stop a while at Clifton and take in the great view of Cape Kidnappers before heading back. An ideal afternoon jaunt.
Pan Pac Eskdale Mountain Bike Park – Eskdale, Hastings District
Average to hard | Spend as long as you want at the track
One of the best mountain bike parks in New Zealand, this clay/dirt-based park makes for a speedy ride through large trees and tight turns.
Te Mata Peak
Easy to hard | 45 minutes - 2 hours
Standing 399 metres above the Heretaunga Plains, Te Mata Peak Park is a great place for mountain bikers and has several tracks regularly used by bikers. If you’re a road cyclist, cycling up the road to the summit offers an accessible local hill climb for a serious workout!
Taradale Dirt Park & Pump Track
Easy | Spend as long as you want at the track
A small, family-friendly dirt jump park, it features a full-sized pump track and an extreme dirt jump park.
Marine Parade Pump Track – Napier
Easy | Spend as long as you want at the track
This beginner-level pump track has two L-shaped loops with roll-over bumps and bermed corners, perfect for riding multiple laps without pedalling and just using the momentum created from ‘pumping’ with your arms through the bumps and corners! This track is suitable for all ages and abilities.
Easy | Average riders – allow at least 1 hour each way, ‘Hot shots’ – allow at least 45 minutes in & 30 minutes return
A walking track along an old logging route at the base of the Ruahine Forest Park, Yeomans Track is open for mountain bikers too. This track starts from the end of Wakarara Road (you need to cross the river to start the ride), which is approximately 86km from Hastings. Yeomans Track goes along to Ellis Hut (also known as Murderer’s Hut) on the edge of the PanPac Gwavas Forest, where you either return back the same way, or can follow a few forestry roads back to the river – you will need either a topomap, or the Kennetts MTB book for these road directions.
Easy to hard | 1 – 3 hours
Heli-Biking takes you into the heart of the isolated and untouched wilderness of the Central North Island – accessed off the Napier-Taupo SH5, approx 35km from Taupo. Once at the summit of the trail, you head down the magnificent 10km purpose built track, covering a vertical drop of 2500 ft, surrounded by sheer beauty and epic views of the Tongariro National Park. Soak up the fresh air and let your heart pound when hammering the single-track or just sit back and take your time on your trip downhill.
Coastal Walkway - New Plymouth
New Plymouth | Easy | 13 km |
The Coastal Walkway in New Plymouth is a 13km sealed shared pathway hugging the coastline, which is great for families. It’s mostly flat, has playgrounds, beaches, coffee carts and numerous stunning views including the iconic Len Lye Wind Wand and the Te Rewa Rewa bridge. Click here for more information about the Coastal Walkway.
Lismore Forest (Whanganui)
Whanganui | Easy to quite tricky | 1 - 8 hours depending on route | View Lismore Forest map (GIF, 10 KB)
Lismore is a maze of gravel roads and 4WD tracks, as well as some tracks specially built for mountain biking. The best place to start is the Lismore Forest Picnic Area. From there, either go up the 4WD track or over the fence and up Mangaone Road, which is easier. There are lots of tracks going off the main routes that you can explore. Some of the downhills are a little tricky, so take care.
Cycle commuter videos
Check out this series of videos which follows commuters as they cycle around the greater Wellington area. You’ll also find journey planners to help plan your own trip in the region.
Places to cycle
This flat, family friendly and scenic ride follows the shared path around Wellington waterfront, with a whole range of extra family activities to take in, such as Frank Kitts Park, Te Papa, and Oriental Bay. The waterfront offers a perfect chance to cycle to one of the weekend markets to pick up some local art, crafts and produce.
Gum Loops Track - Wainuiomata
A gentle ride that takes in beautiful regenerating bush with a mix of gum trees; a loop ride will take no more than an hour. There are plenty of picnic spots along the river and a number of signposted swimming holes for a refreshing dip. Access is best from the Wainuiomata Waterworks area off Moores Valley Road.
Pencarrow Coast Road - Eastbourne
Eastbourne | relatively easy | 2-3 hours return (20km return)
Sea birds and plant life thrive on the exposed coastline, while the nationally significant Lakes Kohangapiripiri and Kohangatera are home to a variety of wildlife. Sourced from Greater Wellington Regional Council.
Hutt Valley Trail - Upper and Lower Hutt
Explore the Hutt Valley on a bike courtesy of purpose-built cycle trails that follow both sides of the Hutt River. For a more ambitious ride, follow all the way to the Rimutaka Incline Trail and across to the Wairarapa. Sourced from Greater Wellington Regional Council.
Ara Harakeke Pathway - Porirua
Porirua | Easy | 1 - 8 hours depending on route (8.7 km one way) The shared pathway runs alongside rugged coastal areas, four beaches, a nationally important wetland, a steam train operation and World War Two pillboxes. It passes through three communities: Mana, Plimmerton and Pukerua Bay in the north. It has great places to stop for coffee and refreshments at Mana and Plimmerton. Sourced from Porirua City Council
Rimutaka Incline (Between Upper Hutt & Featherston)
Between Upper Hutt and Featherston | Moderate | 2 - 4 hours (18km one way) | View Rimutaka Incline map (GIF, 30 KB)
Ride through four spooky old train tunnels up to 600m long! If you don’t have a torch, just head slowly towards the speck of light at the end of the tunnels. The ride is not too steep with a few old station shelters to see. When you get to a railway shelter on the edge of some farmland, either go back to the start, or down the gravel road and turn left to finish at Featherston, 9km away.
Makara Peak (Wellington)
Karori, Wellington | Some tracks quite easy, some tricky | 1-3 hours | View Makara Peak map (GIF, 15 KB) From the car park on South Karori Road, the loop up Koru leads to the Skills Area, where you can try jumps and test your skills. From there, take Sally Alley into the forest, and come back to the Skills Area on Magic Carpet before exiting back through Koru. All the tracks in Makara Peak are sign posted at beginning and end so it’s easy to find your way around. Pick up a free map at the car park, or check out www.makarapeak.org
Dun Mountain (Nelson)
Southern edge of Nelson | Average | 2 - 4 hours (22 km return) | View Dun Mountain map (GIF, 22 KB) The track follows an old railway line, starting just out of Nelson on Brook Street - just follow the signs. Most of it is wide 4WD track, with a little bit of singletrack. At the top you can rest at ‘Third House’, a hut in a small grassy clearing. Take it slowly on the downhill - the waterbars look like good jumps, but aren’t the right shape.
Hanmer Tracks (Hanmer Springs)
Northern edge of Hanmer Springs | Easy | 1 - 2 hours (5 -15km) | View Hanmer Springs map (GIF, 19 KB) There are some fun tracks which start about 1km out of Hanmer and wind in and out of the forest, including a combination of singletrack, gravel and sealed roads. They start with Dog Stream Track, leading to Joliffe Saddle Track, then Timberlands Trail, which will bring you back to where you started. On the way back, you can cross Jollies Pass Road and get into some more little tracks which will take you into Hanmer.
Bottle Lake Forest (Christchurch)
North-east edge of Christchurch | Easy | 1 - 2 hours (5 -20km return) | View Bottle Lake Forest map (GIF, 9 KB) The three main tracks here have become the most popular riding area in Canterbury. Pick up a map from the car park (50 cents) and plan a loop track around any two of them. One loop takes up to an hour. The far track along the coast is easy, but the rest are more twisty and fun. Watch out for runners, dog-walkers, and horse-riders.
McCleans Island - Christchurch
10km from Christchurch City | Easy | 1 – 2 hours depending on route (15km)
These trails are in the Waimakariri River Regional Park, are reasonably flat and can even be tackled with a bike trailer. There is a great picnic field at the start plus a small coffee shop which hires bikes, and plenty of parking too.
For up to date status reports on tracks in and around Christchurch, go to the Christchurch City Council website.
Mountain Bike Heaven (Alexandra)
Alexandra | Tricky | 3 - 4 hours | 18km | View Mountain Bike Heaven map (GIF, 19 KB)
The red and yellow route markers off Tucker Hill Road, just out of Alexandra, mark the start of some of the best trails in the country. One track is an old water race. Try the easier lower tracks first. Then head on up to the more difficult rides like Big Dipper and Roller Coaster.
Whare Flat Forest (Dunedin)
Dunedin | Average | 2 - 4 hours (up to 19km) | View Whare Flat Forest map (PDF, 727 KB)
A maze of tracks, varying from narrow and slippery to wide and smooth, make this a great place to explore, but use a map to keep track of your location. The trail starts about 1km along Laings Road, off Whare Flat Road (on way up to the Bullpen) on the left. Right from the get go, it's tight technical riding with challenging natural and man-made obstacles continuing for close to 6km.
Sandy Point (Invercargill)
10km W of Invercargill | Easy | 1 - 2 hrs (5 -10km)
Several hand-made singletrack loops are marked by old arrows and race-markers from the Mountain Bike sign on Sandy Point Road. It’s mostly flat, easy riding through trees, sheltered from bad weather. Note: there is no map as this area is small and the tracks change often.
There are more details on these rides and hundreds of others in a book called Classic New Zealand Mountain Bike Rides. Councils, information centres and the Department of Conservation often have pamphlets about local rides around the country.
For other MTB tracks check out www.tracks.org.nz.