Awesome events for all on the Great Rides

Published 2022-08-03

Love to travel, keen to meet new people and enjoy active adventures? Why not sign up for one of many memorable events happening around the Ngā Haerenga Great Rides of New Zealand?

Check out the updated Events section on, featuring over 20 of the biggest and best events happening on the Great Rides and Heartland Rides.

These events run the gamut, from super-family-friendly and big on fun, to more serious missions for competitive types keen to push their limits, including marathons, ultra-runs, and bikepacking epics such as the Tour Aotearoa and its little sister the Sounds to Sounds. This new brevet event from the bike-mad Kennett Brothers follows a super-scenic 1500km route all the way from the Marlborough Sounds to Milford Sound; complete it between five and 20 days – no more, no less!

Some events focus on biking, others on walking or running, and some combine all three. Some are really just an excuse to eat, drink and be merry in the company of a big bunch of new friends.

Lynley Twyman, manager of the Timber Trail and Mountains to Sea Ngā Ara Tūhono, has participated in sporting events for over two decades. ‘I’ve lost track of how many I’ve done, although there’s definitely eight Ironman distance events in the count.’

‘There are so many reasons I keep entering – the aspiration, the camaraderie, the sense of achievement,’ Lynley says. ‘Events give me a focus – and give me reasons to visit and experience new places!’

Dad and Superboy flying along the Waikato River Trails on The Taniwha.

One of the featured events is The Taniwha, which takes place on the Waikato River Trails in October. It’s perfect for families, newbies and big social groups with an entry category for everyone. There are three bike (and e-bike) courses and four walking and running ones starting at a 7km doddle!

If you’re looking for something even less energetic, look no further than Eat Taste Central, Central Otago's month-long food and wine festival held in September and October. There’s no race bib,  starting gun or photo finish, and (sadly) no champagne shake-up on the podium (although there may be pinot noir). Just sit back and relax in the saddle, and celebrate local flavours in cafes, restaurants and wineries on or near the Roxburgh Gorge, Clutha Gold, Lake Dunstan Trail and Otago Central Rail Trail

Bannockburn vineyards – home to some of NZ's finest wines and now reachable from the Lake Dunstan Great Ride via the new Felton Road cycle trail (Will Nelson/Tourism Central Otago).

In a similarly gustatory vein is New Zealand's first e-bike festival, Cyclorama taking place on and around the Queenstown Trails. Expect cocktails and cycling, beer and bikes, tasty trail-side pit-stops and more, plus cruisy cycling thanks to the power of electrons!

Many events take you down the road less travelled and into the realms of New Zealand’s natural and human history. Ōpōtiki's Motu Challenge, regarded as the North Island’s premier multisport event, features a stage on the historic Motu Road in the beautiful backblocks of the eastern Bay of Plenty. It has several race categories including a 160km bike challenge and two duathlons.

The spectacular Motu Road, a feature stage on the Motu Challenge (Mead Norton Photography).

Taking place on the wild and wonderful West Coast, Ride the Wilderness also folds rich history and stunning scenery into its annual biking event. It offers various rides and relays, from the 21km cruise from Kumara to Greymouth, up to the epic 126km covering the whole West Coast Wilderness Trail from Ross to Greymouth.

Whet your West Coast appetite with this video.

Whizzing through wonderful West Coast rainforest on the Ride the Wilderness.

With so many Great Rides in top condition and enthusiastic crews creating and running awesome events throughout the country, there's never been a better time to be active, be social, and get inspired to ride.

Choose your next event here, and get training!