Heartland Rides

Explore heartland New Zealand on scenic backroads linking Great Rides and other enjoyable cycle trails – all part of a growing network of national cycle touring routes.

View all rides on Geomap

Far North Cycleway

Location Black Cape Reinga—Rawene
Clock Black 161km / 2 days (Grade 3)

Where better to start or end a cycle tour than Te Rerenga Wairua (Cape Reinga) – one of the northernmost points of the North Island? This ride also features Ninety Mile Beach and Hokianga Harbour.

Kauri Coast Cycleway

Location Black Rawene—Dargaville
Clock Black 113km / 1–2 days (Grade 3)

Stretching between the small west coast towns of Rawene and Dargaville, this touring route offers a chance to delve into the rich human and natural history of Northland’s ‘kauri coast’.

Kaipara Missing Link

Location Black Dargaville—Auckland
Clock Black 118km / 2–3 days (Grade 3)

This journey from Dargaville to central Auckland includes a boat trip across the beautiful Kaipara Harbour, pretty Helensville village and a gentle cruise through pretty countryside.

Forgotten World Highway

Location Black Taumarunui—New Plymouth
Clock Black 180km / 2–3 days (Grade 4)

The highly memorable Forgotten World Highway is a classic New Zealand road trip between Taumarunui, on the Central Plateau, and coastal New Plymouth city in the shadow of mighty Mt Taranaki.

Manawatu Cycleway

Location Black Mangaweka—Palmerston North
Clock Black 115km / 2–3 days (Grade 3)

Go off-the-beaten track through the heart of rural Manawatu. See soaring mudstone cliffs, leafy reserves, heritage sites and other surprises, and enjoy local hospitality in peaceful settlements.

Rere Falls Trail

Location Black Matawai—Tairāwhiti Gisborne
Clock Black 103km / 1–3 days (Grade 3)

Winding through pretty hill country, this is a pleasant cycle link from the Motu Trails in the Eastern Bay of Plenty through to Gisborne.

Cambridge–Waikato River Connection

Location Black Cambridge—Arapuni
Clock Black 40km / 1 day (Grade 3)

Linking the town of Cambridge with the Waikato River Trail, this route includes a section of another popular local cycleway, Te Awa River Ride.

Centre of the North Island

Location Black Mangakino—Pureora
Clock Black 50km / 1 day (Grade 3–4)

Following quiet backcountry roads and old forestry tracks, this ride connects the Waikato River and Timber Trail Great Rides, and passes the geographic centre of the North Island/Te Ika a Māui.

Gentle Annie

Location Black Taihape—Hawke’s Bay
Clock Black 136km / 2 days (Grade 4)

A challenging journey across remote hills between the central North Island and the East Coast, this ride's sights include high country sheep stations, rugged river valleys, and vineyards.

Mountains to Sea Connection

Location Black Taumarunui—Oio Road
Clock Black 45km / 3–4 hours (Grade 3)

This connector ride links Taumarunui with the Kaiwhakauka Track section of the Mountains to Sea Cyle Trail via a series of quiet country roads.

Ohakune–Taihape Trail (OTT)

Location Black Ohakune—Taihape
Clock Black 77km / 5–7 hours (Grade 4)

Known as the 'OTT", this route ranges from quiet backroads and busy highway to link the Mountain to Sea Cycle Trail in the Ruapehu region and the Gentle Annie Heartland Ride starting in Taihape.

Route 52

Location Black Hawke’s Bay—Wairarapa
Clock Black 202km / 2–3 days (Grade 3)

This route between Waipukurau and Masterton passes through a series of small, country towns dotted across rolling farm country.

Tararua Traverse

Location Black Palmerston North—Alfredton
Clock Black 67km / 1 day (Grade 4)

Connecting to Route 52 and heading south through the Wairarapa, this is a challenging ride over the Tararaua Ranges with some pretty big views along the way.

Timber Trail Connection

Location Black Ongarue—Taumarunui
Clock Black 24km / 2 hours (Grade 3)

Undulating through hilly farming country, this quiet backroad is a useful link between the southern end of the Timber Trail and the trail’s main service town, Taumarunui.

Wairarapa Valley Cycleway

Location Black Masterton—Wairarapa Moana
Clock Black 67km / 4–6 hours (Grade 4)

Following backroads between Masterton and the junction with the Remutaka Cycle Trail, this ride serves up grand Wairarapa views, world-class wineries and charming country towns.

Queen Charlotte Drive

Location Black Picton—Havelock
Clock Black 40km / 2–4 hours (Grade 3)

Often high and winding, this view-filled road links Picton and Havelock – the twin towns of the magnificent Marlborough Sounds.

Molesworth Muster Trail

Location Black Blenheim—Hanmer Springs
Clock Black 207km / 3–5 days (Grade 4)

This surprising and unforgettable journey from Blenheim to Hanmer Springs passes through the largest and most remote working farm in New Zealand.

Rainbow Trail

Location Black St Arnaud—Hanmer Springs
Clock Black 112km / 2–3 days (Grade 3–4)

Following the original stock route between Marlborough and Canterbury, this richly rewarding adventure boasts craggy mountains, beech forest, open tussock lands plus backcountry camping and huts.

Hurunui Trail

Location Black Kaikoura—Amberley
Clock Black 205km / 3–4 days (Grade 3)

This scenic touring route between Kaikoura and Amberley (near Christchurch) takes in a diverse range of landscapes – from the rocky Pacific Coast to mountain ranges, tussock lands, pastoral farms and …

Tapawera to Murchison

Location Black Tapawera—Murchison
Clock Black 95km / 1–2 days (Grade 5)

This scenic trail links the Tasman towns of Tapawera and Murchison, skirting the Kahurangi and Nelson Lakes national park wildernesses.

Golden Downs Trail

Location Black Wakefield—St Arnaud
Clock Black 66km / 1 day (Grade 3)

This trail links Nelson Lakes National Park with the Tasman’s Great Taste Trail at the inland town of Wakefield.

Westport to the Old Ghost Road

Location Black Westport—Waimangaroa
Clock Black 17km / 1 hour (Grade 4)

This short road ride provides an easy and reasonably scenic link between Westport, the Old Ghost Road and the even more epic Roundabout loop.

Old Ghost Road Roundabout

Location Black Seddonville—Lyell
Clock Black 85km / 2–3 days (Grade 4)

ALERT: SECTION CLOSED. This combines the aptly named Charming Creek with the not very short ‘Denniston Shortcut’ to form what the legendary Kennett Brothers call ‘one of the best multi-day loops on th…

Touring the West Coast

Location Black Ross—Wanaka
Clock Black 402km / 6–8 days (Grade 4)

The stupendous scenery just keeps coming on this major road-touring route along the South Island’s West Coast.

Southland Traverse

Location Black Mossburn–Invercargill
Clock Black 104km / 2 days (Grade 4)

This route traverses southern rural heartland between the Around the Mountains Cycle Trail and Invercargill.