Compact and spectacularly varied, New Zealand is the perfect cycling destination. Here are four routes that you won't want to miss...
The six-day 300km Alps 2 Ocean cycle trail – in the central South Island – is the longest continuous ride in New Zealand. This epic but accessible 289km cycle journey passes through some of the South Island’s most stunning scenery – beginning at Lake Pukaki in the shadow of majestic Aoraki/Mt Cook and finishing at Oamaru’s historic harbour precinct on the Pacific Ocean.
Suitable for all cycling abilities, the trail includes some on road segments and can be enjoyed in sections or in its entirety.
The Rimutaka Cycle Trail offers a fantastic way to explore the landscapes and history of the Wellington region’s bush and coastline – all on the doorstep of the capital city. The 115km trail circumnavigates the Rimutaka Mountain Range from Wellington Harbour, passing through tunnels on an old rail trail, and around the wild southern coast. After emerging in the Wairarapa, famous for its vineyards, the trail follows a country road past Lake Wairarapa to Ocean Beach.
The final section is the shortest, but also the most adventurous. Aptly named The Wild Coast, it skirts around Turakirae Head, where the Rimutaka Range dives into the pounding Pacific Ocean.
Showcasing some of the best New Zealand scenery in the North Island’s beautiful Coromandel peninsula, the Hauraki Rail Trail has now completed the final 11km of the 69km trail between Waihi to Waikino. The track takes riders from near the Martha Mine in Waihi, through farmland and alongside the Ohinemuri River, to the Victoria Battery at Waikino with adventures through old rail tunnels, past crashing waterfalls and the chance to complete the journey on a vintage train.
The Clutha Gold and Roxburgh Gorge trails recently joined the New Zealand Cycle Trail, providing spectacular one-day rides between Alexandra and the Roxburgh Dam following the Clutha Mata-au River in the South Island’s Otago region.
The Roxburgh Gorge Trail provides a spectacular insight into the region’s old mining settlements, and includes a 12km boat trip down the Clutha River with bikes in tow. Cyclists can then link up to the 73km Clutha Gold Trail from Roxburgh Dam to Lawrence weaving through beautiful Beaumont Gorge onto historic railway tracks.
Offering a unique heritage experience, the trails link to New Zealand’s iconic Otago Central Rail Trail bringing together 250km of riding.
Main image: A cyclist in New Zealand's Southern Alps (Shutterstock)