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Trail cycling in Wellington

Wellington and its neighbouring regions have plenty of trails to keep you busy. Take a journey into New Zealand's past along a heritage trail, get up close to coastal wildlife, or leisurely pedal through rural landscapes.

Rimutaka Rail Trail image small

Rimutaka Cycle Trail

Distance: 115km
Difficulty: Easy to advanced

Explore the unique landscape and heritage of Wellington on this popular trail which Lonely Planet dubbed as one of the hottest new travel experiences for 2015. 

The Rimutaka Cycle Trail is classed as a ‘Great Ride’ on Nga Haerenga, the New Zealand Cycle Trail. Extending from Petone on the foreshore of Wellington harbour to the Wairarapa, this ride takes in urban and rural landscapes with exceptional experiences on the historic Rimutaka Rail Trail and the Wairarapa south coast.

The trail can be ridden in sections over two to three days.

Make sure you take time off the trail to explore the characterful townships, and cultural and heritage experiences along the way. For more information about exploring, on and off your bike, read our Top reasons to ride the Rimutaka Cycle Trail.

Petone Foreshore – Maymorn

Distance: 35km (3-5 hours)
Difficulty: Easy (Grade 2)

Start in the historic settlement of Petone, at the southern tip of the Hutt Valley.

The first section of the trail runs mostly along the banks of the Hutt River, through parkland on the fairly easy grade sealed and gravel paths of the popular Hutt River Trail. 

Maymorn – Cross Creek

Distance: 25km (3-4 hours)
Difficulty: Easy to intermediate (Grade 2-3)

Threaded through the Rimutaka Range, the second section offers travels into New Zealand’s bush-clad past, as well as a journey along a historic rail trail. 

Cross Creek – Ocean Beach

Distance: 36km (2-3 hours)
Difficulty: Intermediate (Grade 3)

Continue your journey along this historic trail through the wild Wairarapa.

Some riders may opt to turn north-east on Western Lake Road to the town of Featherston (12km) to finish their day’s ride.

The trail, however, turns south west and runs alongside the shore of Lake Wairarapa, through rich farmland and finishing at the settlement of Ocean Beach. 

Rimutaka cycle Hutt City small

Hutt Valley

Located just 15 minutes from Wellington City, the Hutt Valley has over 500 km of tracks and trails.

Whether you want historic trails, hill country farmland or tricky forest tracks, you will find plenty here for your fix.

Off trail, explore the boutique shopping and coffee roasteries in Petone, and the beachside cafes and art galleries in Days Bay.

Hutt River Trail

Distance: 30km
Difficulty: Easy

Running from Petone's Hikoikoi Reserve to Birchville, Upper Hutt, the Hutt River Trail is the perfect way to explore the Hutt Valley.

This easy scenic walk and cycle path has purpose-built cycle trails that follow both sides of the Hutt River.

Along the way you can find golf courses, swimming holes, trout fishing spots, playgrounds, parks and reserves – plenty to keep you busy.

Pencarrow Coast Road

Distance: 16km return (2-3 hours)
Difficulty: Easy

Cruise around the rugged coast from Eastbourne and pay a visit to the historic Pencarrow Lighthouse - New Zealand’s first permanent lighthouse.

This flat and relatively easy trail is 8km each way and takes about 2-3 hours. Keep an eye out for penguins and other coastal wildlife along the way!

Tours & gear

Cycle Science

Cycle Rimutaka

Hutt City i-SITE Visitor Centre

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Wairarapa

Whether you’re looking for quiet country roads or more adventurous trails, the Wairarapa has got you covered.

Cycle through historic towns, exploring boutique, characterful shops along the way.

Take a break from cycling and treat yourself to a lavish lunch at one of the region’s many vineyards, and wash it down with a glass of Wairarapa’s famous pinot noir. 

Wairarapa Valley Cycleway

Distance: 67km (4-6 hours)
Difficulty: Intermediate (Grade 3)

The Wairarapa Valley Cycleway runs from Masterton to Martinborough and Lake Wairarapa. 

This touring route links up perfectly with the Wairarapa section of the Rimutaka Cycle Trail beginning at Cross Creek along Western Lake Road. 

Woodside Trail – Greytown

Distance: 5km
Difficulty: Easy

The Greytown Trail is a 5km route used as a walking track and cycle trail connecting South Greytown to Woodside Station.

Catch the train from Wellington to Woodside and hire a bike to get around Greytown shopping.

The fully fenced trail has a slight incline to the station, with views of paddocks, towering oak trees, and the picturesque Tararua mountains range. 

Tours & gear

Green Jersey Cycle Tour Company

Graperide Copywrite

Marlborough

Forrest GrapeRide

Distance: 42 to 202km
Difficulty: Intermediate

The award winning Forrest GrapeRide is the largest and most popular cycling event in the South Island of New Zealand, with a focus on fun, friends and family. 

Set in the heart of the world renowned wine growing region of Marlborough, it rides through some of New Zealand's most beautiful scenery. Many believe it to be the nicest 100-plus kilometre course in the world with almost 40km winding through the panoramic Marlborough Sounds. 

There are the shorter 42km 'Taster' course right up to the 202km 'Magnum' to choose from, with multiple innovative categories within those distances.

Once riders have finished their ride, it’s a case of sitting back and watching as 100 grape crushing ‘virgins’ stomp 3 tonnes of pinot noir grapes in a huge oat vat, or sampling gourmet Marlborough food and wine as the event builds up to the prize-giving ceremony.

Queen Charlotte Drive

Distance: 40km
Difficulty: Intermediate

You’ll find native bush on one side and the sparkling Marlborough Sounds on the other as you cycle from Picton to Havelock on the Queen Charlotte Drive, part of the Nga Haerenga Cycle Touring Route.

The quiet winding road has a few gentle hills and passes through a handful of Sounds communities. It also connects with the road to Anakiwa, the end of the Queen Charlotte Track mountain bike ride.

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