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Otago Rail Trail

Best Cycle Trail Locations In New Zealand

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Cycling is a perfect way to explore New Zealand. And with a whole handful of cycle trails across the country, you'll be spoilt for choice. Threading through unique landscapes, with gentle gradients, they provide a perfect way for you to soak up the natural beauty of New Zealand.

 

Not a "cyclist?" No problem, rent an electric bike to take the strain out of it as you ride from winery to winery in a day. Want a unique adventure with your partner or group of friends? Try a multi-day ride with a stop off in some quaint accommodation. To get you started, we've put together our local knowledge on how to incorporate the best parts of these rides into easy day trips.

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 All video content courtesy of Tourism New Zealand

Alps 2 Ocean - South Island

Ride past glacial fed lakes under the gaze of snow-capped mountains

Although this is the longest of all the cycle trails at 310km, it's also one of the best to enjoy a couple of short day rides. We'd suggest focusing on the iconic sections between Lake Pukaki and Lake Ohau, traversing the edges of the vivid blue lakes.

Alps 2 Ocean. Image credit - Miles Holden

We suggest

Ride 1 - Lake Pukaki to Twizel return

If you're travelling from Christchurch park at the junction of the main highway and Hayman Road. Follow the track towards Twizel where you'll find a few great places to refresh before returning via the same route.

Ride 2 - Glen Lyon Rd to Ohau road end

Park at the junction of Glen Lyon Road where it meets Lake Oahu. You'll find a lovely path traversing Lake Ohau itself. When you make it to the sealed road, turn around and return via the same route. For a slightly longer route, park in Twizel and start out riding along Glen Lyon Road.

Hauraki Rail Trail

Ride through a stunning gorge, past the remnants of historic gold mining

While the Hauraki Rail Trail has many options for cycling, the main attraction is the Karangahake Gorge. Most visitors focus on this gorge-ous area due to the stunning landscape and historic places of interest along the way. Following one of New Zealand's oldest railway corridors, the trail takes you through a steep-sided gorge, crossing the flowing river below on swing bridges and old railways bridges.

Hauraki Rail Trail bridge

We suggest

Parking at Karagahake Gorge main visitor area and riding through part way to the meeting point of Old Tauranga Road. If you're feeling energetic the trail goes all the way to Waihi where you can grab something refreshing to drink and a hearty snack before retracing your tyre tracks.

Otago Rail Trail

Discover the magical and rich history of Central Otago

One of the most famous rail trails in New Zealand, the Otago Rail Trail lives up to the hype. Ride through historic gold mining villages, rugged scenery and past quaint country pubs - if you've got 4/5 days then we'd highly recommend doing the entire trail, yes it's that good. With great accommodation options (ranging from quaint B&Bs through to stunning country lodges) you can turn it into a really relaxing adventure. 

Otago Rail Trail. Image credit - Miles Holden

We suggest

If you only have a day, try the return leg of Hyde to Daisybank. Follow the Taieri River through the Upper Taieri Gorge, for a picnic at Hyde before following the trail back down the riverside again.

Otago Rail Trail. Image credit - Miles Holden

Hawke's Bay Trails

Ride winery to winery soaking up the sounds and smells of paradise

As you're in wine country, it'd be rude not to indulge. With its heritage in wine and gently rolling topography, Hawke's Bay is the perfect place for a vineyard tour via bike. Pedal between locations, and enjoy the benefits of multiple award-winning wineries, whether you stop for a morning coffee, antipasto platter with wine for lunch or a delightful evening meal topped off by a local wine. Don't forget to check out our local maui Winery Haven, Linden Estate while you're there too.

We suggest

Park at the end of River Road by Tuki Kitchen. Ride alongside the Tuki Tuki River, taking a right at the sea and heading towards Cape Kidnappers. Once refreshed, return via the same route. Don't forget to visit the Arataki Honey Centre while you're in the area, just a short ride/drive from your parking spot.

Hawke's Bay Trails. Image Credit - Camilla Rutherford

If you're keen to combine these fantastic cycling experiences into your next maui holiday, contact our reservations team to find out how.