Where to ride in NZ

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  • Where to ride in NZ
  • wl

    By the famous book by the legendary Kennet brothers – almost every mountain biker in NZ probably has a copy. Packed with routes all over the country, including some good wild stuff.

    Premier Icon gofasterstripes

    Nothing like the smell of egg farts in Rotorua – stays with you. Please don’t go off existing tracks in the Rotorua area as you may fall into a boiling mud hole

    I toured there, so I know more road routes, sorry. But: IT’S GREAT THERE πŸ™‚

    Premier Icon Fat-boy-fat

    Loads of good trails around Rotorua, including some good trail centrey type stuff and some natural woods type stuff. Taupo is reet close by too and has a few rides.

    You’ve obviously got Queenstown, Wellington, etc. as well but my favourite riding round NZ was at Wanaka.

    It was quite a lot to do with being almost back to normal after slicing my knee to the bone but I loved the coupe of days riding round there compared to pretty much everything else that I managed to get to in NZ.


    Yep, that’s a given. Amazing how long they’ve been updating their guides.


    What’s Wanaka like? Rocky? The lake’s beautiful but that’s all I’ve seen.


    here’a a few places that I rode around Oct 2011


    Auckland /Woodhill trails

    Whakarewarewa Forest

    Wairakei Forest


    Lake Wanaka and Sticky Forest


    Lake Wanaka was probably one of the most scenic rides I’ve ever done in my life, just stunning.

    The marked trails are quite different from the UK. Instead of having dedicated trails to ride, different sections of trail are named and you can link up whichever ones you want to make up your own route.

    pic of one of the maps at Whakarewarewa Forest. All the listings down the left hand side are trail names to link up.

    I met up with locals just by chance at Taupo and Alexandra and they showed me the best bits, some really good riding over there. Good job at Alexandra as the bike shop there told me to go on the railway route which I found a bit boring. When I returned he pointed to the hillside and said go up there then. A whole network of trails but really hard to link them up with no maps or anything. Fortunately I spotted a local and he took me out for a spin.


    I might have a couple of weeks in late Oct and early Nov to take my bike to New Zealand. Any recommendations for must-ride trails? It’ll be too late to ride the Heaphy track but I’m open to longer, wilder rides – I’ll have a 29er hardtail and prefer technical singletrack rather than anything too DH or groomed.

    I think I might stick to either the North or South Island rather than try to do both. I’m leaning towards the North Island, for the warmer weather and Taupo, Rotorua and Wellington.


    Are you over that way anyway, and do you literally mean two weeks?

    Just that if you don’t have some other reason you need to be in NZ, it is an awful long way to go for just 2 weeks, bearing in mind that you realistically waste at least 4 days in total spent flying there and back, and then getting around NZ is slow. Aren’t there hot places in the south of Europe with decent mountains where you can ride that time of year, you’d have two days more riding, no jet lag, save a zillion quid on the flights, and there must be equally good riding in any mountainous region in Europe (lots of nice scenery in Europe too).


    wanaka was really good when i was there, we did an out and back ride down one side of the lake. i remember a lot of the bike parks being quite groomed, which disappointed me a little bit. the kennet brothers book would be the best bet for finding more natural stuff. some good rocky trails around queenstown as well – not just the bike park!


    I’m in Aus so it’s only a short hop across the ditch. It’ll be my last fix of riding down under for a while.

    I’ll have to check the weather around Wanaka at that time of year…


    Top of the South Island? Nelson/Tasman Area. You can fly into Nelson with a bike and there’s great natural riding around.




    Premier Icon oxym0r0n

    Rotorua πŸ˜€

    Whakarewarewa Forest by oxym0r0n, on Flickr

    Thompson’s track (v muddy but good views) πŸ˜•

    Thompsons track_7b by oxym0r0n, on Flickr

    Taupo/Craters of the moon πŸ˜€

    Craters of the Moon by oxym0r0n, on Flickr

    42nd traverse (if you like a challenge/wading through water) πŸ˜‰

    42nd, River crossing by oxym0r0n, on Flickr

    Port Hills – amazing πŸ˜€

    Port Hills NZ by oxym0r0n, on Flickr

    Sorry, that’s all I’ve got on Flickr at the moment

    Also agree with some of the above – great riding above Wellington, Wanaka and Queenstown.

    I think it partly depends how much you want to travel around/access to transport. [more riding in less area in the north – you could concentrate on Taupo/Rotorua and then do a couple of trips further afield]
    Also second the Kennet Bros book, although some of the more remote/less popular trails are a bit ropey

    Premier Icon richmtb

    I spent a happy day in Whakarewarewa Forest when I was in NZ.

    The onsite hire place – Ride Rotorua was great – really helpful

    Premier Icon Jase_MK

    I blagged a day in Hanmer Springs, on the south island, during my honeymoon. There’s some fantastic proper MTB trails there maintained by the locals. Just pop into the shop in town – not the tourist/adventure centre, but the mountain bike clothes shop next door – and the guy there will give you a map of all the MTB trails with recommendations on where to go to get a good day’s riding.

    He does a nice line of clothing too – Krank dirtwear.


    A few years back I popped into a bike shop in Hokitika in the town centre. The mechanic gave me a bike and took me round the local trails, then to the pub. It only cost me $15.

    There were some crackin trails, mainly XC, I remember driving south to get to them. You’ll find more details here http://www.hokitika.org/see/outdoors/54/Mountain-Biking

    Enjoy yourself πŸ™‚

    Premier Icon Stu

    Spent 5 weeks in April and May this year travelling around NZ with my bike and a van – 4 weeks in the South Island and a week in the North (ran out of time). I can confirm that its awesome place for biking and agree with above that there is plenty of stuff all over to ride. Get this book and you’ll not be short of stuff to do: http://www.kennett.co.nz/index.php/Books/ClassicNewZealandMountainBikeRides

    I think if I had 2 weeks I’d either head to Christchurch, check out the port Hills, up to Hanmer Springs and up the west coast to Nelson. Or head to the North and hit Rotorua, Taupo and some of trails around Wellington which were great. Queenstown and Wanaka are great too but I think would be pretty chilly at that time of year. Also worth checking out some of the Great Ride trails if you get the chance (http://www.nzcycletrail.com/explore/great-rides) I did a couple and although they weren’t the most technical the scenery was stunning and there was some fun singletrack!

    Not got time to write much more but feel free to email me if you need more info.

    Premier Icon ratadog

    I blagged a day in Hanmer Springs, on the south island, during my honeymoon. There’s some fantastic proper MTB trails there maintained by the locals. Just pop into the shop in town – not the tourist/adventure centre, but the mountain bike clothes shop next door – and the guy there will give you a map of all the MTB trails with recommendations on where to go to get a good day’s riding.

    Spent 4 weeks round South Island in March April getting increasingly stir crazy because not riding as much as I wanted. Hanmer was one of the ones I did make. The MTB clothes shop described above did not seem to be there anymore. Hire from the tourist adventure centre was available and reasonable with map provided. Singletrack sections tended to be short 6-8km but linked up well and gave me an enjoyable morning. One of the local cafes was also hiring fat bikes and I can recommend the springs themselves. Very pleasant sitting up to your neck in warm water and looking up at the snow on the hills.

    Nelson trails looked really good and about 10 minutes ride from the city. Other duties got in the way.

    Kaiteriteri north of Motueka has a new mountain bike park and worth a look if you have your own bike. If you have to hire do so from Mot and not at the spa at Kaiteriteri – totally useless the day I was there.

    Family in Blenheim so also spent the morning in the Wither Hills MTB park – steep but well planned and rideable albeit bloody hot on the day I was there. Again hire is from shops within Blenheim but eminently rideable fromn there.

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