Five Epic Mountain Biking Spots in New Zealand

New Zealand mountain bikeWith one of the most rugged and breath­tak­ing land­scapes in the world New Zealand has quick­ly become some­thing of a mec­ca for out­door lovers across the globe. One of the best ways to explore this adven­ture-filled coun­try is atop two wheels. If you’re look­ing for a new place to ride, check out these moun­tain bik­ing spots that’ll leave you breathless.

Whakare­ware­wa For­est Network
Whakare­ware­wa For­est, or Wha­ka For­est for short, hous­es some of the best sin­gle­track trails in all of New Zealand. There are over 100 miles of trails to get lost in, and you real­ly will lose your way with­out a good map on hand. The area smells a lot like sul­fur, which admit­ted­ly damp­ens the appeal, but the views of the sur­round­ing Cal­i­for­nia Red­woods are out of this world and there are great bik­ing options for all skill lev­els here. The Chal­lenge, Split Enz and The Dip­per are all excel­lent options to get you started.

The Great Lake Trail
Just out­side of Taupo lies one of the most gor­geous semi-wilder­ness trails in exis­tence, full of pur­pose-built sin­gle­track wind­ing through bend­ing and bumpy paths and fan­tas­tic views along the way. It’s rough­ly 28 miles long and is best tack­led from west to east to get your­self off to a pow­er­ful start on the downs­lope pre­lude. The full ride itself will take about five hours—if you don’t find your­self stop­ping every few hun­dred feet to take in the sights. There are a cou­ple of routes to choose from that’ll lead you around The Great Lake, with more being devel­oped every day.

Wel­come Rocks Trails
The Wel­come Rocks Trails aren’t easy to access, requir­ing book­ing and pay­ment as they’re locat­ed on pri­vate land, but the price is well worth the ride. Much of the trails are hand-built with a pick and shov­el and run across one of New Zealand’s longest and most his­toric water races, pro­vid­ing ample oppor­tu­ni­ty to stop and sam­ple the fresh water along the way. With over 16 miles of sin­gle­track to tra­verse it’s great for both begin­ners and sea­soned moun­tain bik­ers alike, and The Roar­ing Lion Trail pro­vides some pret­ty spec­tac­u­lar views of the sur­round­ing Matau­ra Val­ley and Eyre Mountains.

The Old Ghost Road Trail
Moun­tain bik­ers look­ing for a chal­lenge in the Land of the Long White Cloud need look no fur­ther than West­port, where you’ll find one of the most rugged plots of land in all of New Zealand: The Old Ghost Trail. This 51-mile long trail runs along some of the country’s most remote and sub-alpine ter­rain, filled with baldy sum­mits, riv­er val­leys and untaint­ed for­est panora­mas that’ll like­ly bring you to your knees. The trail zigza­gs its way through rough ter­rain and uneven rocky moun­tain ridges through­out the Buller Gorge with plen­ty of huts along the way when you need a rest. Expect any attempt to tack­le this beast to take you two to four days, depend­ing on your skill level.

Queen Char­lotte Track
The Queen Char­lotte Track dou­bles as a pop­u­lar hik­ing trail for locals and for­eign vis­i­tors to the coun­try, but its sin­gle­tracks also make it one of the most pre­em­i­nent moun­tain bik­ing des­ti­na­tions in the world. With near­ly 45 miles of trails to tack­le the Queen Char­lotte Track takes between two and three days to com­plete and is the longest stretch of unbro­ken sin­gle­track in New Zealand. Dur­ing this time you’ll make your way along the coast­line for some fair­ly epic views of the Marl­boro Sounds, beau­ti­ful coastal coves and lush forests. If you’re feel­ing frisky, the entire thing is thought to be short enough to con­quer in just over 13 hours, but you’ll pass up some great views if you try stam­ped­ing through it.