We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

South Island and Mountain Biking

Denver, Colorado
Level Contributor
13 posts
1 review
Save Topic
South Island and Mountain Biking

We are planning a 21 day visit to NZ. We have considered and discarded a bunch of different itineraries, partly due to the great advice we've gleaned from this site.

Our current plan is to land in Auckland Feb 25, spend 3 days in the Auckland area, then fly to the South Island. We plan 3 days in the Abel Tasman NP area, then a drive down the coast to arrive in Te Anau on March 7 for a March 8 start on the MIlford Track. We had planned on driving from Auckland to Te Anau, but realized that would be waaaay too many driving hours.

My questions: would you advise flying into Nelson or Blenheim? We plan to rent a car wherever we land. I have been told that the Queen Charlotte Sound drive from Picton to Nelson is beautiful and "not to be missed". Unfortunately, there are a lot of "not to be missed" sights in New Zealand, and we will need to miss some of them. Is landing in Blenheim and doing the extra driving worth it? We don't mind driving if the scenery is good.

Secondly- we are both avid mountain bikers and want to do one or two rides during our trip. Our preference is for singletrack (hiking-type trails) that take you somewhere scenic rather than the "downhill, adrenaline" experience or "rails-to-trails" type tracks. Rocks, roots and climbs are welcome, up to 15-20 miles. It is hard to sort out online what trails are the type we are looking for. Anyone on this forum able to recommend, or steer me to a good website? Abel Tasman/Nelson, Murchison, Wanaka, Queenstown? Would be a bonus if it is near the coast, in sight of water.

Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer. We are looking forward to our visit!

New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island
Level Contributor
28,297 posts
81 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: South Island and Mountain Biking

If you fly into Nelson March 1 that gives you just two days in Abel Tasman (Motueka) if you take the scenic stops;

2 explore

3 more

4 drive 3.5 hours to Punakaiki

5 drive 3 hours to Franz

6 drive 5 to 6 hours to Wanaka

7 drive 3 to 4 hours to Te Anau

Wanaka offers excellent mountain biking of all types. And if you decide to enjoy some downhill biking then heli-biking is a must! lakewanaka.co.nz/index.cfm/searchresults/…

Dunedin, New Zealand
Level Contributor
533 posts
4 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: South Island and Mountain Biking

Mountain Biking - Top of the South

.

Rabbit Island - Nelson to Mapua with ferry across at the end. Not really a mountain bike trail as it is flat all the way. Very coastal though.

Heaphy Track. Collingwood to Karamea. Multiday trip with DOC huts along the way. Need to organise transport both ends as these are remote locations.

www.heaphytrack.com/mountain_biking.html

Wide variety of other tracks around Nelson, Kaiteriteri, and Golden bay.

Gibbs Hill, Rameka etc.

http://tracks.org.nz/area/show/34

DOC M/B tracks through Abel Tasman National Park

…govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/…

Contact John at Escape Adventures for local information on tracks, and help with gear, bikes and transport. Nice bloke. He runs shuttle bike trailers out to tracks in the area. (Also does international bike tours in Mongolia and other weird places.)

http://www.escapeadventures.co.nz/

Mountain biking is huge in the top of the south island. Lots of possibilities, local club rides etc. Here's a blog of a local MBiker.

http://baymtb.blogspot.co.nz/

Enjoy

Wellington, NZ
Level Contributor
341 posts
59 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: South Island and Mountain Biking

You can also cycle the Queen Charlotte Track. You can get a water taxi and pick whatever section you want to cycle. Or you can also do a loop back via the road.

…govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/…

Denver, Colorado
Level Contributor
13 posts
1 review
Save Reply
4. Re: South Island and Mountain Biking

Wanaka Lakes thanks for your comments. We fly into Auckland at 5:30 AM on Feb 25th, so I was counting that as our first day in Auckland. So we would be flying to Nelson on Feb 28th. We'll consider cutting our visit to Auckland short by a day.

Joan, thanks for your reply, that was exactly the sort of information needed! Escape Adventures looks like just what we were hoping to find. We don't have the time budgeted for a multi-day bike trip but a couple of the day-trips look perfect. Prices are pretty reasonable, too.

KiwiMikey, thanks for your comments also. I saw an article in Bike Magazine about cycling the Queen Charlotte Track, but did not know you could break it down into one-day legs. Definitely fits the bill for coastal and near the water, which is something we land-locked Colorado residents don't get to experience much.

Hobart, Australia
Level Contributor
14 posts
27 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: South Island and Mountain Biking

Hi Nan C

Last year a myself and a group of girls had a mountain biking holiday in nz. We rode the QC track, I can recommend the first section from ship cove to endeavour inlet, and absolutely the best part was the last 15km or so into Anikiwa, through beautiful beech forest with water views. Of course there are great views all the way along, but the middle sections are through a lot of farmland, pine forest and a lot of climbing! If you had to choose one part, then ride from Anikiwa as far along the track as you like, then ride back, mostly downhill & a gentler gradient than a lot of the other sections.

Escape adventures helped us out with transport back to Nelson from the western end of the Heaphy track, they are a really great bunch of people. The only thing we missed when in that area was the Rameka track, as the weather wasn't so good.

A great day ride from Nelson is the coppermine Dun mountain trail loop.

Have fun! I came across the topic as I'm researching a campervan holiday in the Sth island with my partner.

Andrea

Denver, Colorado
Level Contributor
13 posts
1 review
Save Reply
6. Re: South Island and Mountain Biking

Hi Andrea,

Thanks for your reply. Ironically, we plan to cycle the Rameka Track with assist from Escape Adventures with bike rental and transport. We are spending 4 days in the Abel Tasman/Golden Bay area, but plan on kayaking and hiking also. So will not get to ride the Heaphy or QC Tracks.

We will probably get one more biking day farther south, perhaps in Wanaka or the Otago area. But we don't want to make mountain biking the only focus of our trip. At least, not this time. Though I would love to plan a multi-day trip in the future.

Los Angeles...
Level Contributor
1 post
12 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: South Island and Mountain Biking

Hello,

I'm planning a 2 week trip to NZ and was wondering if you have any tips for somebody that wants to mountain bike, get a taste of NZ, but on very limited time. As of right now, I'm thinking of flying into Auckland and out of Christchurch, but I'm not sure if that is too much distance to cover in that short period. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Nelson-Tasman...
Level Contributor
7,301 posts
428 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: South Island and Mountain Biking

Nelson has many many awesome mountain biking tracks. In fact bikers from Europe often come over for our summer and base themselves here in Nelson. Where to start, cogers, dun mountain track would be two top single track recommendations. Fringe hill for scenery. Queen Charlotte is only open at certain times of the year, it is closed peak walking season. So do check. There are many groups that do single track night rides, just go into one of the local bike shops, such as village cycles, stewart cycles, stoke cycles and they will advise you of group rides in the area. Locals always welcome others to join in.

Queenstown is another mountain bike mecca area.

New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island
Level Contributor
28,297 posts
81 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: South Island and Mountain Biking

Wanaka :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vqe9gxnQrx4

and see link in post #1

New Zealand
Level Contributor
17 posts
74 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: South Island and Mountain Biking

Nan. C - you are coming to the right place ; NZ has a stunning array or MTB options in both north and South Islands. There is a wide variety of terrain from awesome single track to extreme off- road adventuring. The most difficult part is finding what best suits you and also fits with overall itinerary. Around nelson you have got the queen Charlotte track - 75km of superb biking in the Marlborough sounds ( ie amazing views of water) . Only problem is you can't bike it from 1 dec to 28 Feb as it is reserved for walkers only at that time. Also Rameka track and Dun mountain are both excellent rides near Nelson with great single track and set in the bush. Further south there is great riding on the port hills near christchurch, and then a heap more in Otago and around queenstown and Wanaka. Check out www.kennett.co.nz - website for the kennett brothers who have written the definitive guide for mountain biking in NZ. Or try to get a copy of their book. Have a great trip