An Introduction To Bikepacking In New Zealand

bikepacking new zealandNew Zealand’s varied terrain lends itself well to bikepacking – essentially multi-day mountain biking with an emphasis on travelling light. Throughout the country, a comprehensive network of cycle trails, tracks and gravel roads make it easy to escape the traffic and soak up the scenery.
Any of the Great Rides of New Zealand make for an exciting bikepacking adventure. If you’re just finding your biking feet, try the Timber Trail in the Pureora Forest Park, which incorporates ancient forest, purpose-built trail and tramway, as well as some of the longest and highest suspension bridges in the country.
For those with more advanced riding skills, the St James Cycle Trail close to Hanmer carves a fun loop through North Canterbury high country. Various rocky sections and steep climbs keep the riding challenging, and there are options for longer or shorter routes.
Another great option for experienced riders is the Old Ghost Road in Buller. This tailor-made trail traverses some splendid scenery and throws in plenty of steep climbs, too. Frequent huts provide accommodation and shelter along the way.
Perhaps the ultimate bikepacking route though is the Tour Aotearoa, which weaves its way across the entire length of the country. Designed by New Zealand cycling historian and guidebook writer Jonathan Kennett, the route follows a combination of cycle trails, tracks, paths and quiet country roads from Cape Reinga all the way to Bluff. At a casual pace, expect to take three to five weeks to complete the full 3000 kilometres.

What bike?
You’ll want a tough, light bike with big tyres. We recommend either the Surly Ogre or the Surly Troll which we’ve just incorporated into our hire fleet. Both are good options for bikepacking, and can be set up with various luggage options to suit your needs. Get in touch for hire rates and options.

Have a great week,

P.S. Want to know more about luggage systems for bikepacking? Check out this post from our archives.