Over the past 8 months we’ve travelled many regions in the New Zealand South & North Island, taking our ‘Trusty Rusties’ with us. Leisure cycling in New Zealand is easy and a great alternative form of transport. In the past 5 years, New Zealand has established wonderful new cycle trails. These are mainly packed gravel tracks through scenic spots in the countryside.

New Zealand Bike Trails2

For international visitors, New Zealand cycling is a popular way of staying active while travelling and using all senses to explore our beautiful countryside. No engine noise, just a symphony of birds, smelling the sea and a sense of joy at the freedom of it all.

Riverton Coastline

Most international travellers won’t arrive with their own bikes, but this can be a great advantage. Firstly, many hotels, lodges & B&B’s now have complimentary bikes available or for a minimal rental. They also provide helmets which are compulsory under New Zealand law. All you need is a good rain jacket, comfortable cycle pants and cycle shoes.

Cycle clothing

A second alternative is to rent a bike from a local bike shop or a dedicated cycle trail operator specialising in self-guide or fully guided biking. So what’s included? You’ll get your rental bikes, equipment, a location map, plus local advice. Wait, there’s more! You’ll also get a drop-off and pick-up service, either at the beginning or the end of your cycle day tour. How cool is that? There are a number of regions perfect for cycling in New Zealand (with not too many hills, unless you’re into serious mountain biking) Here’s five cycle region with a superb network of cycle trails:



Great Taste Cycle Trails. Travel from Nelson to the Abel Tasman National Park. There are some hills in between, as well as a short boat transfer. It all depends which area along the coast you wish to cycle. If you’re keen to cycle, staying in the Mapua region would work out best.

Kaiteriteri cycle2,jpg

West Coast Wilderness Trail

Some parts in the Lake Kaniere area are simply stunning and an absolute joy to explore with a bike. Imagine cycling along historical water races and thru lush rainforest.

Lake Kaniere Cycle Trail Pam2

Our friends Jan & Stephen at “The Breakers B&B” know all the trails in the region, so if you stay with them, you’re “sorted”!

Breakers with Jan

Central Otago

Lake Wanaka, Queenstown and Central Otago – this area has LOTS of outstanding cycle trail options to offer… in the Wanaka region 750 km alone!

Lake Wanaka Michael2

Most people know about the Central Otago Rail Trail, plus in the Arrowtown + Gibbston Valley, superb trails have now been build.

Otago Central Rail Trail 2

Taranaki/New Plymouth

In and around New Plymouth there is a superb cycle and walking network along the coastline. Be sure to spend more time to include this beautiful, yet less travelled part of New Zealand.

New Plymouth Coastal Walkway

Hawkes Bay

We recently stayed in the Cape Kidnappers region and were totally impressed by how well built and maintained the trails around Hastings and Havelock North were. Combined with some outstanding vineyards, it’s the perfect combo!

Hawkes Bay Cycle Trail

Hopefully this brief overview will provide you with some idea on how you can leisurely cycle New Zealand during your vacation and travel New Zealand by immersing yourself in it’s environment.

Happy Travelling.


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2 responses to “Leisure cycling in New Zealand”

  1. Jan Roberts says:

    We are incredibly lucky to have so many cycle trails across New Zealand – all varying in their scenery but a great way to showcase this wonderful country we live in. You guys have done well to explore so much of it – slightly jealous! Great read Pam and Michael.

    • GuestNZ says:

      We’ve really loved biking these trails and the friendliness of passing cyclists. Everyone seems to be happy. We’re really looking forward to exploring the West coast trails again. Hope you can come along.

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