Welcome to Bikepacking New Zealand

Published 2021-04-02

Events such as Tour Aotearoa and Kōpiko Aotearoa have put bikepacking in the spotlight in the last few years. So, what exactly is it, and how can you get in on the action? Our new bikepacking guide is here to help.

Written in co-operation with the Kennett Brothers whose new Bikepacking Aotearoa guidebook is flying off the shelves, this new section on the Ngā Haerenga New Zealand Cycle Trails’ website begins with a general Introduction to Bikepacking – what it is, how it’s done, and why go. It also provides an overview of where you can ride and what to expect, including the different types of trail and terrain.

We give special attention to Choosing a Bike, because happy travelling relies on comfort rather than speed. You’ll get a run-down on the ideal bike and set-up – including frame specs, suspension, handlebars and tyres, but we also cover the bamboozling topic of bike bags.


A great bikepacking set-up – comfortable and efficient (Jonathan Kennett)


The What to Pack section presents detailed gear lists – from clothing, snacks and basic tools, to more comprehensive kit for longer trips such as camping gear and bike bits for running repairs. We take a deeper dive into tents and sleeping gear, so you can weigh up the options, if you’ll pardon the pun.

The Trip Preparation & Planning section will get you off on the right foot with a checklist of what to get sorted before you go. It includes tips on navigational aids you can take to avoid getting lost, and bike security to keep your steed safe.

With all the practical stuff out of the way, it’s time to check out our Popular Bikepacking Routes. These nine suggested trips are just the tip of the riding iceberg, but should whet your appetite to discover even more.  Seven of these are loops taking 2–10 days and dotted from north to south. We also look at the Kōpiko Aotearoa from East Cape to Cape Egmont, and of course Tour Aotearoa that stretches 3000km from Cape Reinga to Bluff.

Our Great Rides and Heartland Rides lie at the heart of New Zealand bikepacking, and our website provides detailed information about them too.

‘Bikepacking has gone crazy this summer,’ says Jonathan Kennett. ‘People are springboarding off the New Zealand cycle trails into uncharted territory, exploring New Zealand like never before.’ 


New Zealand bikepacking pioneer Jonathan Kennett refuels on the Tour Aotearoa (Kennett Brothers)


Reflecting bikepacking’s growing popularity, we’ll be adding more tips, trips, updates and stories as we go along. We’re also keen to hear about your adventures, including favourite bikepacking routes and any feedback you may have – you can do this by emailing community@nzcycletrail.com. You can share your stories and photos on Facebook and Instagram too by tagging us in (@nzcycletrail), or using the hashtags #nzcycletrail, #NgāHaerenga.

Keep an eye out for the new mapping portal on nzcycletrail.com (developed by NZTA/Waka Kotahi) that will include all Great Rides, Heartland Rides, longer bikepacking routes and urban cycling networks. 

See you out on the trails!



VISIT THE NEW BIKEPACKING SECTION HERE.