New Zealand's top regions for biking trails

There are 91 bike touring routes scattered across the country.
There are 91 bike touring routes scattered across the country. Photo credit: Getty Images

Aotearoa New Zealand is renowned for its striking scenery and rolling hills, and unsurprisingly, many locals and tourists are taking to the great outdoors to explore on two wheels.

There are 91 bike touring routes scattered across the country, but some regions are better suited for adrenaline junkies wanting to hit the tracks.

As bike touring typically involves travelling for days, weeks or months at a time, to find the best spots to spend this holiday, the research team at has ranked the country's top 10 regions for bike trials.

Otago took the crown as the best region for bike touring in NZ, following the new study which measured the length, number of routes, elevation, reviews, nearby sights, and suitability for each region’s bike trails.

The regions were marked and the data points were compiled for each, to deliver an overall score out of 100.

With a consistent mark for each category, Otago received an overall 76.20, while the West Coast came in second at 73.80, taking the top score for neighbouring attractions.

However, despite the allure of the Abel Tasman National Park, the holiday-favourite region did not make the top five.

The Waikato received a top score for their whopping 19 trails, but some poor-performing in other categories brought the region’s average to 70.30 for third place.

In fourth came Canterbury with 69.10, followed closely by Manawatū-Whanganui's 65.50 to take fifth.

Top 10 best NZ regions for bike trails.
Top 10 best NZ regions for bike trails. Photo credit:

An honourable mention to Marlborough, which won the length category with ease, and Nelson-Tasman regions for tying in sixth place with a score of 56.

The study also found the highest climb to be on one of Marlborough's trails, while the most popular for bike touring is in the Nelson-Tasman region, the Lyell Campsite to Lyell Saddle Hut trail, which won 4.9 stars from its users.

Southland took the wooden spoon in the study, rated 44.10 and last on the list, despite high user reviews.

Nestled in the middle, Northland and Bay of Plenty received eighth and ninth, scoring 51.20 and 50 respectively.

Looking at user reviews alone, Nelson-Tasman and Canterbury tied first in this category for their popularity, based on the experiences of people who have biked their trails before.