A couple years ago we asked more than a thousand mountain bikers to name a mountain bike destination on their bucket list, and one country received more responses than any other: New Zealand. With incredible terrain, other-worldly beauty, and generally favorable weather, it’s no wonder mountain bikers pine for New Zealand singletrack.
The Old Ghost Road
Don’t let the name throw you off: the Old Ghost Road is little more than a rocky ribbon of trail plunging deep into the wilds of New Zealand. Four out of four of the New Zealand mountain bike experts we consulted recommend this trail, which makes this ride stand out even among all the other world-class trails on this list. Rachel Howells, owner of Adventurers Travel Company, says, “every single ride we’ve done after this one, no matter where in New Zealand, gets compared to this, and not one of them beats it!” Note: experienced mountain bikers often take 2 days to complete this 85km point-to-point ride.
Whakarewarewa Forest, also known as Whaka or The Redwoods, features more than 160km of forested, purpose-built mountain bike trails. Riders of all abilities can choose from among dozens of named and signed trails branching off area forest roads. Singletracks trail reviewer Jim Cummings tells us, “you won’t find a better network of trails in New Zealand,” and other reviews seem to agree!
The technically challenging, 35km Moerangi Track is located in Whirinaki Forest on New Zealand’s north island. It’s one of Adventurers Travel Company’s Rachel Howells’ favorite backcountry rides.
The uphill starts straight away and is pretty relentless, it’s not the only one either. But for each uphill you’re rewarded with an awesome downhill. Riding by some of the most pristine native bush in NZ, this ride is remote and unique. With classic kiwi backcountry huts to visit along the way it really has everything for an experienced mountain biker.
Visitors can ride Moerangi Track as a part of Adventurers Travel Company’s North Island mountain bike tour, which visits New Zealand mountain bike hotspots Rotorua and Taupo.
Craigieburn to Arthurs Pass
Located on the south island of New Zealand, the Craigieburn Range is known for its rugged, remote trails that adventurous mountain bikers will love to explore. This particular ride traverses a ski area where riders will encounter steep scree fields and vast beech forests. Rachel Howells says her favorite route takes riders from the Craigieburn ski field road “all the way to Castle Hill, with 30km odd of both up and downhill.” Singletracks reviewer Desperado recommends Craigieburn because it’s a “great alpine day [of] riding — and it’s less than two hours’ drive from Christchurch.”
Next up: Peru, Philippines, and Spain.