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Cycling in New Zealand

Nga Haerenga

With the creation of Nga Haerenga – the New Zealand Cycle Trail – getting on a bike and exploring the New Zealand countryside has never been easier.

With thousands of kilometres of tracks around the country to choose from, visitors are spoilt for choice when it comes to experiencing New Zealand’s great outdoors.

This recent boom in easily accessible cycle and mountain biking trails has also led to the continuing success and creation of some legendary cycling events.

Events vary across the country – from the Queenstown Bike Festival – a 10-day festival catering for the hardest, keenest and most passionate mountain, downhill and road bikers – to the gruelling internationally-recognised Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge which is one of New Zealand’s largest cycle races and attracts entrants from all over the globe.

Whether enjoying the thrills and spills of mountain biking in some of New Zealand’s tough forest terrain or enjoying a peaceful pursuit through spectacular scenery – there is something for cyclists of every age and ability.

Nelson Cycle Festival, Nelson
18 October – 3 November 2013
Now in its third year – the Nelson Cycle Festival is a fantastic event which uses cycling as a way to showcase the Nelson Tasman region. The event encompasses a mixture of road and mountain biking with fixtures that cater for all cyclists, ages and abilities. Nelson sits on the shores of the Tasman Sea in the South Island and is known for its arts and crafts scene.
Nelson Cycle Festival

Whaka 100, Rotorua
26 October 2013
The Magellan Whaka 100 is arguably one of the toughest and most gruelling mountain bike marathons in New Zealand. With over 100km of riding in Rotorua’s premier mountain biking mecca, Whakarewarewa Forest, the predominantly single track course is the only event of its kind in New Zealand. The Whaka 100 is now in its sixth year and getting through this event is recognised as a fantastic achievement by mountain biking enthusiasts.
Whaka 100

Road Cycle Classic, Coromandel
2 November 2013
Coromandel’s Road Cycle Classic includes the Cranleigh K2, one of the toughest one-day cycle challenges in the Southern Hemisphere. Participants who take on the entire 200km track will be rewarded with stunning views of Pacific coastlines, rural farmland and the Hauraki Gulf. Those who would like to take things at a slower pace can choose to start the race at different points.
Road Cycle Classic

Source to Sea Cycle Challenge, Nelson Lakes National Park
2 November 2013
The Source to Sea Cycle Challenge is an ‘Alpine to Ocean’ cycling event that takes in some of the most spectacular views the South Island has to offer. The race starts at Lake Rotoiti near the St Arnaud Range in Nelson Lakes National Park and follows the Buller River – one of New Zealand’s longest – to Carters Beach. This event is perfect for recreational cyclists keen to take in some breathtaking southern scenery.
Source to Sea Cycle Challenge

Tour de Manawatu
3 November 2013
The annual Tour de Manawatu is a Charity Cycle Challenge that gives riders of all ages and abilities the chance to enjoy a unique ride through the streets of Palmerston North and the Manawatu district. Rolling hills, expansive plains, beautiful countryside and views of volcanoes on a clear day make this part of the central North Island an ideal cycling spot for all the family.
Tour de Manawatu

SBS Tour of Southland, Southland
3 – 9 November 2013
The 57th edition of the Tour of Southland has again attracted interest from keen road cyclists from all over the world. The eight-stage, 900km team rider event, starts at Invercargill and takes riders on an adventure through the Southland region of New Zealand.
SBS Tour of Southland

Bike the Lake Rotorua, Rotorua
10 November 2013
Bike the Lake Rotorua is a scenic ride around the iconic Lake Rotorua in the geo-thermal wonderland of one the most visited tourist destinations in New Zealand. The individual-based event is comprised of either one lap (42km) or two (84km) around the volcanic crater and second largest lake in New Zealand.
Bike the Lake Rotorua

Tour de Whitemans, Upper Hutt
10 November 2013
Taking place just three weeks before the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge, the Tour de Whitemans is the perfect event to get in some practice. This 33km circuit event is full of variety as it takes in 1, 2 or 3 laps of the Whitemans Valley near Upper Hutt and 30km north-east of New Zealand’s capital city Wellington. The course includes the Blue Mountains hill and combines a mixture of urban, scenic and rural landscapes.
Tour de Whitemans

MS Bike the Bridge, Auckland
10 November 2013
MS Bike the Bridge is a charity cycling event for all the family that gives riders a unique opportunity to cycle over the iconic Auckland Harbour Bridge. The Auckland Harbour Bridge rises 43.27 m above sea level and is only open to the public twice each year – adding to this truly special event. There are three sections and cyclists can choose the 115km Clip On Classic, a 50km challenge or the easier option of the 20km event.
MS Bike the Bridge

The Contact Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge, Taupo
30 November 2013
The Contact Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge is New Zealand’s largest cycling event and features entrants from all over the world. The annual race, which has gained recognition for the being one of the best recreational rides in the world, attracts over 10,000 riders. The premier race is perhaps best known for its 160km Bike Barn ride around Lake Taupo – the biggest lake in Australasia – but the event also caters for cyclists and mountain bikers of all abilities and fitness levels. 2013 will see the introduction of the 2-lap Barfoot & Thompson Enduro, an Ultra-Marathon Cycling Association 200-mile World Championship Event.
The Contact Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge

Calder Stewart Grand Prix, Christchurch
10 – 12 January 2014
The Elite Road Nationals Championships is one of the most highly regarded cycling events in New Zealand and attracts some of the county’s most recognisable and accomplished riders. In 2014 the event will again be held in the beautiful Garden City of Christchurch, a city that knows how to throw a cycling party. This event is New Zealand’s very own Tour de Force and Christchurch’s Dyers Pass Hill is said to be the spot to soak up the thrilling atmosphere.
Calder Stewart Grand Prix

SRAM Tour de Ranges, Clevedon
18 January 2014
On the roads surrounding the rural town of Clevedon, just 25km south of Auckland city, the SRAM Tour De Ranges is a celebration of all things cycling. This event, a mixture of flat and undulating roads, gives riders the chance to experience the joys of riding winding country lanes and the Hunua Ranges before stopping to catch their breath at stunning Hauraki Gulf sea vistas. This ride caters for all abilities and offers a 110km or 30km distance.
SRAM Tour de Ranges

Milford Mountain Classic, Milford
25 January 2014
For most visitors the beauty of the famed World Heritage area of Milford Sound is enough to take their breath-away. Put them on a bike and there’s a recipe for one of the most exciting, and newest cycle races in New Zealand. The Milford Mountain Classic starts at Milford Sound, one of the most visited spots in New Zealand and commonly referred to as the Eight Wonder of the World. From here cyclists start their awe inspiring 120km journey, discovering the untouched landscape of looming peaks and valleys en route to Te Anau.
Milford Mountain Classic

BDO Wellington to Auckland Cycle Challenge
9 February 2014
Cycling visitors looking for a unique way to see New Zealand’s North Island could try the BDO Wellington to Auckland Cycle Challenge. This 7-day challenge consists of 13 stages of 110km per day and takes cyclists through Lower Hutt to the Waiarapa, Palmerston North, Wanganui, Ohakune, the Waikato and Pukekohe. For everyone – from elite riders to cycling masters and fun-loving pedallers – this race offers one of the best ways to experience the magic of heartland New Zealand.
BDO Wellington to Auckland Cycle Challenge

Rotorua Bike Festival, Rotorua
14 – 23 February 2014
There are many reasons why Rotorua, in the central North Island of New Zealand, is known as the ‘spiritual home of mountain biking’. Events like the Giant 2W Gravity Enduro and the Skyline Sprint Warrior – which sees competitors taking on a purpose-built 1.8km down-hill trail beside Skyline Rotorua’s Luge track – are all part of the thrill-seeking Rotorua Bike Festival which has become a hit with some of the world’s top mountain bike riders. Other events include riding the majestic Redwoods Coast and a spot of Bike Polo.
Rotorua Bike Festival

Queenstown Bike Festival, Queenstown
22 March – 1 April 2014
Set in the stunning surroundings of Queenstown – New Zealand’s No.1 tourist destination – the Queenstown Bike Festival combines the best of mountain bikes, downhill and road bikes through a diverse series of events suitable for all ages and abilities. Some of the highlights are the Mountain Bike Night Ride; this event is for riders who want to try the unique experience of riding and navigating at night. The technically demanding course of the Vertigo Bikes Dirtmasters Downhill will push world-class downhill riders to their limits, while the Queenstown Bike Tours Coffee to Grape is an afternoon of wine, food and spectacular scenery from Arrowtown to Gibbston Valley.
Queenstown Bike Festival

Forrest GrapeRide, Marlborough
5 April 2014
The Forrest GrapeRide – which takes recreational riders on a journey through the world- renowned Marlborough wine region in the South Island – is one of the most unique events on the New Zealand cycling calendar. The ride is a 101km circuit that starts at the Forrest Estate Winery passing through historic New Zealand towns, the stunning Marlborough Sounds and beautiful beaches. But the highlight has to be the ‘100 Virgin Grape Crush’ which sees 100 female riders help crush 3 tonne of pinot grapes ready to be turned into wine.
Forrest GrapeRide

100km Flyer, Rotorua to Taupo
5 April 2014
The 100km Flyer biking event is an annual race that sees over 3,500 people cycle from one New Zealand tourist mecca to another, taking in some of the most scenic countryside the North Island has to offer as they cycle 100km from Rotorua to Taupo. There are no age restrictions on this event which is open to anyone with a bike.
100k Flyer

Contact Epic, The Ultimate Mountain Bike Challenge, Wanaka
26 April 2014
The Contact Epic is a challenging race that circumnavigates the shores of Lake Hawea, located on the edge of Wanaka in the South Island of New Zealand. The epic ride is a 125km journey of discovery where visitors take in a variety of landscapes and unique New Zealand places including the Hunter Valley and Dingle Burn high country farming stations of Lake Hawea.
Contact Epic, The Ultimate Mountain Bike Challenge

Le Race, Christchurch
29 March 2014
Le Race – staged in Christchurch – is one of New Zealand’s most iconic and exciting cycling events. The lure of Le Race attracts top competitors from around New Zealand as well as a diverse range of international cycling enthusiasts. The 100km race starts in the Garden City and leads riders on a diverse and challenging track all the way to Akaroa, a small New Zealand village rich with French history and a fitting finish to New Zealand’s very own Tour.
Le Race

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