Views, terrain, adventure!
Famous for bungee jumping, caving, white water river rafting, adventurers from all around the world come to see New Zealand’s beautiful landscapes and get a taste of the adrenaline inducing activities. But one of the best kept secrets about New Zealand is that it is also home to some of the best mountain biking locations in the world.
Most local towns and cities promise accessible riding trails and tracks for tourists and riding enthusiasts. Coupled with fantastic panoramic views of lush green forests, rugged snowcapped mountains and hilly terrains; riding enthusiasts are spoilt with some of the best mountain biking experiences in the world.
Here are five of the best mountain biking trails in New Zealand –
1. Otago Central Trail
The Otago Central trail is made on the backbones of the Old Central Rail Line. Active until the 20th century, this 150 kilometer track is one of the longest bike trails in New Zealand and it takes most riders 4 days to complete the journey.
The trail starts in Middlemarch, where riders get an opportunity to loop north through the amazing countryside of Strath Taieri and Maniototo, where the journey concludes on the banks of the Clutha River in Clyde.
Along the way, riders are rewarded with ever-changing scenery of eerie tunnels, towering bridges, and ghostly gold diggings from the gold rush era in New Zealand.
2. Timber Trail
Once a forest where Maori Warriors roamed, the timber trail has now become the largest bike trail developed in the north island of New Zealand.
Situated at the Pureora Forest Park, this trail is easily accessible from Taupo and Rotorua and a few hours’ drive from Auckland, if you choose to rent a car.
The timber trail is considered one of the best mountain biking locations in New Zealand. Riders can expect to glide past fifty bridges, including New Zealand’s longest suspension bridge, which stretches over 100 meters.
As you ride along the trail, you’ll get to see plenty of greenery such as 800 year old podocarps, and native forests of Rimu, Totara, Miro and Matai which are teeming with native wildlife.
3. The Old Ghost Road
The Old Ghost Road is one of the most remote and challenging bike trails in New Zealand. The trail was resurrected from an old gold miner’s route, which was situated between Ghost town of Lyell, in the Buller Gorge and Seddonville, on the west coast.
The 85 km long road cuts through native forests, river flats and valleys, keeping even the most experienced rider on the tip of their toes as they try to conquer this track.
The Old Ghost Road is a very advanced track and it should only be attempted by experienced riders who are both fit and self-sufficient. Despite the challenge, riders who do attempt this trail will be rewarded with views of old mining relics, lush native forests and breathtaking views that come with the journey.
4. Whakarewarewa Forest Track
The Whakarewarewa Forest trail is one of the most popular mountain biking trails in the country. This trail was created by mountain bikers, and is designed to be a fun experience for both the novice and professional riders.
Situated just 3 kilometers from Rotorua, the Whakarewarewa forest boasts a fantastic array of riding surfaces and incredible scenery.
The trail is made up of 5600 hectares of forest, most of which is covered with Californian Coast Redwoods. These towering trees provide riders with an absolutely serene biking atmosphere.
One of the great features about this track is the on-site mechanics for servicing and quick fixes . This includes a shuttle services to transfer bikers to downhill tracks making it one of the most convenient tracks on this list for absolute beginners.
5. Heaphy Mountain biking track
The Heaphy Mountain biking track is one of the premier tracks that cuts through some of the best scenery in New Zealand. Fiercely protected by the New Zealand government, this track has a limited open season for bikes from 1 May to 30 September each year.
This trail is challenging and remote. The weather can be unpredictable at the Heaphy Mountain track, and you must prepare yourself for a day of simmering heat and frosty chills. There are some steep slopes and tough obstacles along the way and it is highly recommended that you travel in groups, be self-reliant for food and mechanical repair.