With quiet roads, brilliant scenery and superb camping, New Zealand has long been on the cycle touring map and now looks set to become a major off-road cycle touring destination.

As a recession-busting project, the government has funded a series of 18 Great Rides, stand-alone, mostly off-road routes that comprise Nga Haerenga (wnzcycletrail.com). The rides (from a few hours to several days) should all be complete by early 2013 and boosters hope that they will emulate the successful Otago Central Rail Trail, providing superb riding while boosting the local economy. Eventually these may be linked together in an end-to-end network along the lines of Te Araroa.

Rent a bike locally and just tackle rides such as “From the Mountains to the Sea” in the north and “The Old Ghost Road” in the south, or come for a month or so and collect the set.

Essentials

Everything you need to know before you set off.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

New Zealand features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Go solo: the 20 best places to travel alone

Go solo: the 20 best places to travel alone

Solo travel can be one of the most rewarding ways to explore the world. Whether you'd rather spend it on a desert island or in a frenetic new city, here are th…

21 Dec 2016 • Rachel Mills camera_alt Gallery
How to find the right New Zealand for you

How to find the right New Zealand for you

While it may not loom large on the world map, New Zealand feels incredibly vast and imposing on the ground, especially to those who try to visit the North and S…

23 May 2016 • Eric Grossman insert_drive_file Article
Everything you need to know about backpacking New Zealand

Everything you need to know about backpacking New Zealand

New Zealand’s craggy coastline and beautiful national parks are dotted with wildlife and beg to be explored. The scenery gets more spectacular around every co…

07 Mar 2016 • Rachel Mills insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month