|Calling all Kiwi cyclists, it’s summer! The rainy days have come to an end (at least for the time-being), and it’s time to break out the mountain bike for the longer, tougher trails that may have been harder to get to in the winter. No matter how much we wish it were so, free time in summer is not unlimited, so you’ve got to curate your choice of trails before heading out.
The question is, which trails should you hit? Which ones are going to put the thrill of a good ride in your bones, shock you with their beauty, and have your legs screaming for mercy by the end? Not to worry, we’ve got the top three right here.
The Old Ghost Road: Seddonville, South Island
The Old Ghost Road well and truly lives up to its wicked name with a black diamond status to match. Experienced riders only, people. This 87-kilometre singletrack trail winds its way through some incredibly unforgiving wilderness on New Zealand’s South Island, exhibiting some of the wildest alpine terrains our Long White Cloud has to offer.
Someone had the bright idea to carve this track through the mountains (where mountain bikes really shouldn’t have been able to go). Since then people have been making their way to the tiny town of Seddonville to have their crack at it.
If you’re insane you can try to do the whole trail at once, but it’s usually recommended to plan a multi-day ride with stops at the huts dotting the trail. Bring clothes for the cold, advanced riding skills, and a lot of grit.
Whakarewarewa Forest, The Redwoods: Rotorua, North Island
If you’ve ever seen a Redwood, then you already know how epic this ride is going to be. The Whakarewarewa Forest spans a huge section of the North Island, crisscrossed by 160km of singletrack trails that will keep you in the saddle for as long as you’ve got to give. You head up (to about 325m of elevation at a maximum) using the forest roads, and down using the thinner, winding bike trails.
To get the most out of this experience, advanced riders should grab one of the $5 maps and hop the shuttle to Red-Dot-Nine. This is the highest elevation point in the forest, and the start of many advanced trails that will have you grinning so hard your cheeks hurt.
Take your pick of the trails, choose your own adventure, and don’t say we didn’t warn you.
The Rameka Track: Takaka Hills, South Island
This trail, much like New Zealand, will deliver a hundred different seasons by lunchtime. It’s 40 kilometres long and can be done in one day, but its 667-metre elevation makes this a challenge for an advanced cyclist.
Hop on the Nelson bus and hitch a ride to the top of the Takaka Hill, where Canaan Road starts. Follow that all the way to the Canaan Loop, then keep going and follow the signs to the Rameka Track—that’s where the real fun starts. You can enjoy a wonderfully-varied ride with native forest surrounding you at every turn, and once you’re about halfway through it turns into another “choose your own adventure” deal.
Choose fast-and-flowy or quick-and-technical, the views you like, the elevation you can handle—it’s all yours for the taking. Make sure you know how to take a gravel downhill well, as this trail features quite a few, and try not to get too many bugs in your teeth from smiling the whole way down.
So, what are you waiting for? The time has come to enjoy New Zealand’s vast array of trails, so get out there! If you’re stuck and don’t know where to start, check out BookMe’s Rotorua Mountain Biking adventure for a semi-guided tour. Book now!