8 Must-Ride Mountain Bike Trails in New Zealand

October 4, 2018

Group of mountain bikers standing next to there bikes as they look out over a lake and New Zealand landscape

From stun­ning coastal views to epic moun­tain rides, New Zealand’s diverse land­scape pro­vides the per­fect play­ground for any moun­tain bik­er. From pur­pose-built sin­gle­track to nat­ur­al tech­ni­cal tracks you can enjoy a vari­ety of flow and tech­ni­cal trails through­out the coun­try. Need­less to say, New Zealand also offers up amaz­ing post-ride activ­i­ties — swim­ming in hot springs, wine-tast­ings, raft­ing, zip lin­ing, and hik­ing. If you find your­self down under, here are  8 must-ride moun­tain bike trails in New Zealand. 


To enjoy the best of the 1100 metre Kir­wans Track descent, opt for a heli-drop! On the descent, you are reward­ed with spec­tac­u­lar views over the Vic­to­ria Moun­tain Range and west coast wilder­ness to the Tas­man Sea. You’re in for a true Kiwi adven­ture on this track with end­less rooty and often wild sin­gle­track con­sist­ing of a few hike-a-bike sec­tions down to the riv­er where you can wash the gnar off. The trail is locat­ed above the small town of Reefton,   that is full of his­toric charm, and deli­cious  warm  home-made kiwi pies per­fect for a post-ride meal. 


The Old Ghost Road is an 85 km advanced sin­gle­track adven­ture that trav­els through remote val­leys, moun­tain­tops, and by beau­ti­ful rivers — this is a must-do trail if you’re vis­it­ing New Zealand.    The entire trail can be rid­den between 2 — 4 days on a bikepack­ing trip, but you don’t need to com­plete the entire trail. The route is an old gold min­ers road from the 1870s that has been revi­tal­ized for moun­tain bik­ers and hik­ers. There are 4 ghost towns along the route that hold the spir­its and mem­o­ries of min­ers and builders.   Our local Kiwi moun­tain bike guides helped build this trail back in 2016 — they know it well!


Next, we’re head­ing to the North Island to enjoy the Whakare­ware­wa For­est near Rotorua. This area boasts approx­i­mate­ly 130 kilo­me­tres of moun­tain bike trails suit­able for all skill lev­els. After your ride enjoy every­thing else Rotorua has to offer, includ­ing tour­ing areas geot­her­mal hot pools, raft­ing, ziplin­ing, fish­ing and so much more! 


The Queen Char­lotte Track is a 70-kilo­me­tre sin­gle­track moun­tain bike route that starts in Pic­tion on the South Island and extends through stun­ning scenery and chal­leng­ing ter­rain. Sim­i­lar to the Old Ghost Road, you can decide to com­plete only por­tions of the trail if you don’t want to do bike pack­ing adven­ture. Depend­ing on the time of year, some sec­tions of the trail may be closed, so plan accord­ing­ly.   The Queen Char­lotte Track is great a day adven­ture, it’s an eas­i­er style flow track, with a few good climbs! 


The Rame­ka Track is locat­ed near beau­ti­ful Nel­son, in an area known as Gold­en Bay, New Zealand.   and offers up amaz­ing views of Abel Tas­man Nation­al Park, into  Gold­en Bay and Taka­ka, it’s one hell of a hoot of a ride!   Bring your shut­tle dri­ver because it’s a huge access ride if you don’t have a ride. Anoth­er rea­son to join  our awe­some Misty Moun­tain  Hop ride — shut­tle dri­ver, van, gear, snacks,  post-ride bev­er­ages and logis­tics are all cov­ered! The Rame­ka track offers rocky and tech­ni­cal sec­tions fol­lowed by wide open flow ses­sions and ever-chang­ing scenery. Oh ya and you can ride through fern gul­ly! It descends about 1000M down into a small hip­pie town, called Taka­ka where organ­ic brew­eries and the good life of liv­ing easy exists. 


Our last three trails are locat­ed in Queen­stown — New Zealand’s adven­ture cap­i­tal! We high­ly rec­om­mend spend­ing a few days bik­ing in Queen­stown to expe­ri­ence the best trails in the area. Salmon Run is a Black trail suit­able for expe­ri­enced moun­tain bik­ers as it has some expo­sure, tech­ni­cal sec­tions, and tight switch­backs. If you’re up for the chal­lenge, the trail has beau­ti­ful views of Queen­stown from above.


Beau­ti­ful lake­side views and stun­ning sin­gle­track, this 7‑kilometre loop is more of a cross coun­try style ride but it will lend itself access to more tech­ni­cal rides on the lake­front. It will be sure to put a smile on your face. 


The Rude Rock trail is accessed via Coro­net Peak just out­side of Queen­stown and it is an adren­a­line-pump­ing flow trail with stun­ning views. You will want to ride is over and over again!

Want to mountain bike in New Zealand? Check out our multi-day adventures here!