North Island Back Roads Cycling

    enquire now 9 Days From NZD $3,995 pp twinshare
    Small group
    Terms & Conditions apply

    Cycle a selection of New Zealand’s quiet back roads from the capital all the way to the City of Sails on this 9 day fully supported road biking tour. From Wellington, we follow winding roads through the Hutt Valley towards the Rimutaka Ranges. Our ride then descends through vineyards to the east where we follow rolling coastal and rural roads to the town of Napier.  Two nights in Napier allows plenty of time to explore the world-renowned art deco architecture, enjoy more scenic riding and the equally impressive wines of nearby Hawke’s Bay. Our journey then takes us to volcanic landscapes of the Central Plateau via the infamous ‘Gentle Annie’ climb.  There’s time to explore Rotorua’s thermal paradise before heading further North to the Coromandel Peninsula. Here, we ride along another stunning coastline to our final destination, Auckland.  Guides will be there to show you the best of NZ, share their stories and will always be nearby with the support vehicle if anyone gets tired legs, or needs a snack! You’ll also enjoy a variety of carefully picked local accommodation and hospitality.


    • Ride NZ’s spectacular coastal and rural roads from Wellington to Auckland
    • Enjoy local kiwi hospitality at the comfortable Wallingford Homestead
    • Wander through Napier’s historic art deco quarter
    • Explore the wine regions of the Hawke’s Bay
    • Cycle up the historic Gentle Annie climb onto the Central Plateau
    • Visit Wai-O-Tapu ad Te Puia thermal parks
    • Taste a traditional Maori Hangi with storytelling and cultural performances


    Day 1: Wellington Makara Circuit
    After bike fitting and tour briefing drive to the suburb of Karori, where we set off on our bikes along quiet and hilly rural roads. There will be time to visit the wild Makara Beach before riding through farmland scattered with huge windmills and exploring gorges and rivers. This afternoon we are free to explore the vibrant and creative city of Wellington before meeting later in the evening for our first group meal together. Cycling Distance: Makara Circuit – up to 35km (L, D)

    Day 2: Wellington to Masterton
    Our second day starts with a drive over the winding Rimutaka Range to Martinborough, a charming colonial town in the heart of the Wairarapa wine region. Here, we get on our bikes and ride the quiet roads and vineyards to Gladstone, following the Whangaehu Valley. On arrival, we’ll be welcomed with a local beverage at the Gladstone Inn. After lunch we take a short drive and begin our ride to Castlepoint, known for its rugged coastline and century-old lighthouse. We enjoy a short walk to the viewpoint, before driving to Masterton and our nights’ accommodation. Cycling Distance: Martinborough to Gladstone – 33km, Awatoitoi to Castlepoint – 42km (B, L)

    Day 3: Masterton to Wallingford
    This morning we drive north to near Pahiatua, where we begin our ride. We follow the Makuri River before gradually ascending 460m to cross the Puketoi Range. The road climbs high above the valley, offering incredible views in all directions. From there, a fast decent takes us to Pongaroa, where we continue through the small farming communities of Waione, Ti Tree and Wimbledon to Porangahau Beach. Next up, we pass by the 1000ft hill that holds the Guinness World Record for the longest place name with 85 characters. Locals call it Taumata Hill after a native warrior. After we pack up the bikes, we drive to our accommodation at Wallingford Homestead and enjoy a hearty meal prepared by our kiwi hosts. Cycling Distance: Ngaturi to Porangahua Beach – 113km  (B, L, D)

    Day 4: Wallingford to Napier
    After breakfast we jump on our bikes and head out on the road straight from our front door. This morning’s ride takes us along quiet rural roads to the small town of Waipukurau. After a coffee stop we transfer a short distance north to Waipawa where we start riding again. Our route follows the wide Tukutuki River valley, lined by grassy hills and vineyards. On arriving at the pretty town of Havelock North, we can challenge ourselves to a steep hill climb to the top of Te Mata Peak. Climbing 385m over 7km we reach an incredible lookout with 360-degree views over the whole of the Hawke’s Bay. From Napier and Mahia Peninsula to the north and east, hill country to the south and the Ruahine, Kaweka and Maungaharuru mountain ranges to the west. Mount Ruapehu is also often visible in the distance. We then transfer to the seaside art deco town of Napier where we will spend the next two nights. Cycling Distance: Wallingford to Waipukurau – 29km, Waipawa to Havelock North – 50km, Te Mata Peak Climb – 7km (B, L, D)

    Day 5: Napier – Rest Day
    Today is a free day to relax or enjoy a short ride from Napier. You can follow one of the many self-guided bicycle wine trails visiting some of the region’s 30+ cellar doors, and numerous artisan producers, connected by flat, easy riding cycle paths. You can wander through the art deco buildings and enjoy the many restaurants and cafes in the town. Another option is to take a 4WD tour to visit to the Gannet Colony at Cape Kidnappers to see the largest, most accessible mainland nesting area of gannets in the world. (B)

    Day 6: Napier to Tongariro National Park
    We begin our day with a wonderful ride on the recently paved road from Omahu to Taihape through the Kaweka Forest Park. We’ll scale the local hill named “Gentle Annie”, reaching an altitude of 950m which is the highest point on the whole tour. We retrace an ancient Maori route between Hawke’s Bay and the Inland Patea district, around the headwaters of the Rangitikei River. Once we’ve reached Taihape, the ‘Gumboot Capital of NZ’ we drive to the Tongariro National Park on the Central Plateau. In the late afternoon, those keen to explore can walk to the Silica Rapids on the flanks of Mt Ruapehu, to see a series of shallow terraces coated in white deposits. Our comfortable accommodation awaits us with views of the volcanic cones of Tongariro, Ngarahoe and Ruapehu. Cycling Distance: Waiwhare to Taihape – up to 100km (B, L)

    Day 7: Tongariro National Park to Rotorua
    This morning we head out on a walk down the Whakapapanui Track which descends through native bush following the Wahakapapanui Stream. After our walk, we leave the Central Plateau and drive to visit the colourful pools and geysers of Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland on the outskirts of Lake Taupo. Then we hop back on the bikes and cycle through the quiet rural Waikete Valley towards Rotorua. This evening we will experience a Maori feast prepared in the traditional Hangi style, visit Te Puia’s geothermal valley and the impressive Pohutu Geyser, as well as being entertained by traditional Maori cultural performances. Cycling Distance: Wai-O-Tapu to Rotorua – up to 40km (B)

    Day 8: Rotorua to Auckland
    After breakfast we drive towards Matamata and start riding near Te Poi, following a quiet road winding northwards alongside the Kaimai Range. We will ride as far as Te Aroha and then visit the town of Paeroa, ‘World Famous in NZ’ for L&P. Next, we drive to Miranda and cycle the coastal road to Kawakawa Bay affording wonderful views across the Firth of Thames. We then load up and drive to Auckland, and our final destination. Tonight we have our final meal together to celebrate our week’s cycling achievements. Cycle Distance: Te Poi to Te Aroha – 45km, Miranda to Kawakawa Bay – 40km (B, L, D)

    Day 9: Tour concludes in Auckland
    After breakfast, it’s time for our farewell as the trip comes to an end. (B)


    • 8 nights hotel/motel accommodation, based on twin or double share with ensuite facilities
    • 8 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 4 dinners
    • Professional qualified guide/driver
    • Private vehicle transport
    • Entrance into Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland Park
    • Te Puia Maori culture dinner and performance
    • Snacks and water while cycling
    • Department of Conservation and National Park Fees


    Images courtesy of WorldExpeditions, Sandra Appleby