With 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.