Nature, history and adventure

Nature, history and adventure
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These two great rides have it all

Spring is an ideal time to seek out new experiences. Head west across the North Island, and you will find some of the top Great Rides in New Zealand. The two-day Timber Trail and the one-to-six-day Mountains to Sea Trail are connected at their heart by the multiple headwaters of the Whanganui River. Both trails are rich in Māori culture, history, ecology, and of course, adventures.


The Timber Trail

In the centre of the island lies the ancient forest of Pureora. The forest is home to the top-rated Timber Trail, a Grade 2-3 adventure suitable for most cyclists with sound skills and fitness. It spans ancient verdant forests teeming with native birds such as kākā, kokako, and kererū, and winds down through the technically amazing Ellis Burnard tramway, over magnificent suspension bridges and around the engineering marvel that is the Ongarue spiral.

Saved from logging in the 1980s, this magnificent mix of virgin and regenerating forest is home to a two-day ride stretching 84 kilometres, aided by the comfort of three unique styles of mid-ride accommodation and hosting. After all, there is nothing better than relaxing with a bevvie and home cooked meal by the fire on a clear night.


Family doing the timber trail

Mountains to Sea Ngā Ara Tūhono

Heading further south will bring you to the Mountains to Sea Ngā Ara Tūhono Great Ride. These trails are a network of connected pathways, navigating the journey of the Whanganui River from Tūroa on Mount Ruapehu all the way to North Mole on the Tasman Sea. Ride the historic Ohakune Old Coach Road, traverse Fishers Track, and the Marton Sash and Door at National Park – perfect for a half-day out. Explore the connecting trails to the Bridge to Nowhere through the Mangapurua Valley, followed by a jetboat trip down the magnificent Awa.


Experience a unique slice of living history down the Whanganui River Road. Ride individual sections or connect a full adventure as you travel through to Whanganui, UNESCO City of Design. The city is home to some of New Zealand’s earliest cycling history and is now complemented by a thriving artisan community. There is variety galore in both beautiful trails – grab your bikes and give them a try.

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