Where To Ride In Ruapehu: The Ultimate Mountain Biking Itinerary

There are nearly 500 kms of mountain bike trails in Ruapehu, this central North Island region is a magical place to discover from a bike seat.

Home to some of the most rideable and accessible cycle trails in New Zealand, Ruapehu offers a network of awesome mountain bike tracks each with their own unique character, all connected by a history of getting people somewhere.

Rich with opportunities for all levels of riders, it’s time to start planning your next mountain biking getaway to Ruapehu. Here’s how to enjoy an unforgettable mountain biking holiday in Ruapehu.

Day 1 & 2: The Timber Trail

Grade: 2-3

Distance: 84 km

Location: Pureora Forest Park

Couple cycling through the pureora forest on the timber trail - visit ruapehu.jpg

The Timber Trail is arguably the North Island’s (and maybe NZ’s) number one multi-day adventure ride. For most riders, the Timber Trail is a two-day adventure, packed with wonder and connections.

Travel into the area the night before (staying in one of the great B&B’s near Ōngarue) so you can get a great start – with shuttles leaving first thing to whisk you to the top of the trail.

Three different options pair up with the accommodation options on the trail, so all your logistics are taken care of – all you need to do is pack your lunch, some warm kit and ride!


• Eight incredible suspensions bridges

• Ancient podocarp forests with flourishing birdlife

• Spot noisy kākā, kererū that swoop past you high in the canopy or the rare kōkako

• Stunning vistas out over the King Country

• The engineering marvel that is the Ōngarue spiral

• Remnants of the native milling history

The mid-ride overnight experience near the mid-point of the old mill village of Piropiro is often the highlight for many – with choices of glamping, an eco-lodge, or a historic farm stay with its own resident eels and whio. No matter which option you choose, you can be sure that the stories of your own 84km adventure will inspire you to come back for more mountain biking in Ruapehu!

If you’re short of time – or looking for a taster – then grab a shuttle to Piropiro and ride the second half with its overall downhill (but with some inclines to keep you warm), along the old Ellis and Burnand Tramway tracks now repurposed to a fabulous mostly Grade 2 ride. A perfect one-day adventure!

For more information check out www.timbertrail.nz

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Day 3: Fishers Track

Grade 2
Distance: 27 km
Location: National Park Village - Kaitieke

A cyclist On The Fishers Track Trail - Visit Ruapehu.jpg

Sometimes a flowing downhill ride through rural heartland is just the ticket. Following an official public road, that is mostly benched surface and used by cyclists and Te Araroa walkers, the views from Fishers Track are special and the exhilaration of a 660m descent over the first half makes for a fun ride. The final section down a quiet rural back road to the stunning horse monument at Kaitieke to your waiting shuttle is a fitting finale.


• Epic views of the surrounding mountains including Taranaki to the west and Ruapehu, Ngāuruhoe and Tongariro to the east.

• Traverse Tongariro National Park’s fourth and oldest volcano Mt Hauhungatahi

• Marvel at the horse monument constructed entirely from horseshoes

For more info about this mountain biking trail in Ruapehu, check out the official website for Mountains to Sea - Ngā Ara Tūhono

Day 4: Ohakune Old Coach Road

Grade 3
Distance: 15 km
Location: Ohakune

Family cycling on Hapuawhenua Viaduct on Ohakune Old Coach Road - Visit Ruapehu.jpg

The iconic Ohakune Old Coach Road is a 15km Grade 3 ride that follows the original coach transport connection between Ohakune Station and the main trunk line at Horopito.

Most riders choose to do the ride from Horopito (taking one of the shuttles to the start) for an overall downward descent of 170 metres.

Finishing up at the Ohakune Railway Station for coffee is a great way to top off the day.


• Two incredible old viaducts including the Hapuawhenua viaduct, one of NZ’s oldest and tallest curved viaducts at 245m long and 45m high – all hand-built in the early 1900s.

• Incredible vistas of the mountains and the surrounding rural landscapes of Ruapehu.

• Challenging sections of surface – that are the original sett stones used to pave the road.

• Rich stories told via information panels along the route, sharing some of the true pioneering challenges and successes of the day.

• Gorgeous regenerating subalpine forest – home to flora and fauna unique to the area.

Find more information about Ohakune Old Coach Road and Mountains to Sea - Ngā Ara Tūhono on the official website.

Posted by on 19 August 2021