Cycle tour NZ's North island
Explore the lower half of the North Island and enjoy discovering the local wines
Enjoy a cycling vacation in a small group
Travel through the backroads and trails of the region by bike
Get out and explore the wonderful city of Wellington at the start or end of the trip
Discover the beauty of the Rangitikei, Ngaruroro and Whanganui Rivers.
Experience the freedom of riding and venture out in the picturesque countryside

Wairarapa and Hawke's Bay Back Roads

Duration
7 days
Site savings
$24
From
$2,299 USD

Ride stunning parts of rural North Island New Zealand you never knew existed on this fully supported Wairarapa and Hawkes Bay Backroads cycling trip. Bike along purpose-built cycleways, quiet rural roads and easy unsealed trails with picturesque postcard views through wine country, farmland and forest. Ride gently up the leafy Hutt Valley and over the forested Remutaka Ranges and visit the historic Martinborough Hotel, in the heart of Pinot Noir wine country. Head to Masterton on a pleasant touring route, enjoying stunning Wairarapa views of vineyards and farmland. Meet rare, New Zealand wildlife at the Mt Bruce National Wildlife Centre and enjoy the world-class Hawkes Bay wines in between pedalling on purpose-built bike paths.

  • Category
    Easy-going & Leisurely
  • Type
    Fully Guided
  • Duration
    7 days
  • Culture Level
    Familiar
  • Skill Level
    2 - Novice
  • Activity Level
    2 - Moderate
  • Elevation
    2 - Moderate
  • Terrain
    Agricultural
  • Distance
    208.2 miles
  • Avg. Daily Distance
    34.8 miles
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Quick Stats

  • Duration
    7 days
  • Main Destination
    North Island
  • Distance
    208.2 miles
  • Avg. Daily Distance
    34.8 miles
  • Elevation
    2 - Moderate
  • Terrain
    Agricultural

Route Map (click to view larger image)

Itinerary Details

  1. Day 1Wellington to Martinborough

    Your adventure begins with a short tour briefing in central Wellington before a drive around the harbor to the start of the Hutt Valley River Trail. After a bike set-up and safety briefing, it’s an easy morning ride on a wide, largely flat pathway winding along the Hutt River to the foothills of the Remutaka Ranges and the leafy suburb of Maymorn. Along the way, you’ll pass by some of New Zealand’s most important cultural history, including Maori pa and early European settlements.

    After lunch, you'll leave suburbia behind and follow an old railway route weaving through the Remutaka Ranges taking in more historical sights before climbing gently through native bush and regenerating forest to the summit. Then, it's a downhill ride along the historic Fell Locomotive Incline with an exciting half-kilometre journey through Summit Tunnel (1877). Expansive views of Lake Wairarapa open up as you emerge at Cross Creek. A short drive to Martinborough, the heart of Wairarapa wine country, for a pre-dinner winery visit and overnight stay at our first historic property.


    • 31.1 miles
    • Martinborough Hotel
    • Lunch and Dinner
  2. Day 2Martinborough to Masterton

    This morning’s ride on the Wairarapa Cycleway is a pleasant touring route with stunning Wairarapa views and plenty of rural charm. Take a mid-morning breather in the small, vibrant community of Gladstone before finishing this delightful ride in the small town of Masterton. Mt Bruce National Wildlife Centre is your afternoon destination. It’s an unfenced sanctuary for native wildlife where many endangered birds live and are bred for release across Aotearoa, including the kiwi, takahe, kokako, kaka and longfin eel.

    You'll  head back to Masterton for dinner and the night’s accommodation.

    • 31.1 miles
    • Masterton Accommodation
    • Breakfast and Dinner
  3. Day 3Masterton to Wallingford

    The infamous Route 52 awaits you today, originally designated a State Highway status but was downgraded in 1960 when prosperity deserted New Zealand's farming industry which depopulated farming districts. Today this route through quintessential rural New Zealand offers quiet roads, country pubs and friendly locals. Using the van to shuttle you to the most scenic sections you’ll finish the ride at Te Paerahi Beach, the best old-school NZ beach ever! Vast and golden, sheltered by large headlands at both ends and offering walks down to the rocks or up to the river mouth, it’s a great spot to explore.

    From there it’s a short drive to the accommodation at Wallingford Homestead, built in 1858 and at the heart of a 34,000 acre sheep and cattle station in the 1900’s. Now a boutique stay, it offers peace and quiet in beautiful surroundings.

    • 47.8 miles
    • Wallingford Homestead
    • Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
  4. Day 4Wallingford to Havelock North

    Wine country beckons today and you'll start with a lift in the van to the start of the morning’s ride. This continues yesterday’s rural theme on a stunning back-country road leading to the base of Te Mata Peak. Steeped in Maori legend the Peak is both a visual feast and an integral part of Hawke’s Bay’s history, Maori and European. You can choose to get to the top by pedal power or motor but either way the 360 degree views from the top are stunning and a great spot for a picnic lunch.

    A short drive takes you to the accommodation in Havelock North. You’ll have time to wander this pretty country town, with dinner at your leisure at one of the several restaurants on offer.

    • 32.3 miles
    • Havelock North Accommodation
    • Breakfast and Lunch
  5. Day 5Havelock North to Manawatu

    After breakfast at a local café, join the local trail network for the ride, initially following the Tukituki river out to the coast through idyllic rural and riverside scenery, including plenty of vineyards and orchards. A short stretch along the coast brings you to the impressive Star Compass, a training tool used by celestial navigators who sailed traditionally throughout the Pacific. Heading inland again, follow the Tukaekuri River and finish the ride at a boutique Hawkes Bay winery for lunch.

    It’s time to leave Hawke’s Bay and drive across remote hill country on the Gentle Annie road to the Manawutu – a lengthy journey but worth the effort to enjoy an authentic Kiwi experience. The hosts for the next 2 nights are the McGaw family, who run River Valley Lodge, a venue of rustic charm providing exceptional country comfort, where the focus is on delivering a quality, fun experience, maintaining good relationships with the local community, and operating with a minimum footprint in the natural environment.

    • 31.7 miles
    • River Valley Lodge
    • Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
  6. Day 6Manawatu: River Lodge Country - optional activities

    A day to explore this mostly unknown part of New Zealand with several different activities to choose from. A scenic 13km (8mi) rafting trip on the Rangitikei River taking in over 30 Grade 2 (easy) rapids, a side hike to a spectacular waterfall (weather dependent) and a riverside lunch, this adventure is perfect for all ages. If you prefer to keep your feet dry you might enjoy a half day horseback adventure, honing your horsemanship skills followed by a horse ride out into the picturesque local country side. Other options include exploring the local area by bike or on foot – either takes you off the beaten track and into remote, stunning back country.

    A second night of an enjoyable dinner at River Valley Lodge awaits where meals are a celebration of seasonal produce, sourced primarily from the Lodge gardens. The chefs create the daily menu from whatever produce is freshly harvested that day.

    • River Valley Lodge
    • Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
  7. Day 7Manawatu to Wellington

    Today you'll head off the beaten track (again!) on a scenic and often surprising journey through rural Manawatu, full of natural wonders, local history and country hospitality. Wind your way down into the beautiful Pohangina Valley, kept company by the Pohangina River (plenty of swimming spots!) and the slightly forbidding Ruahine Ranges. Onwards, the area is rich in native bush and you'll pass the historic Komako Church and the beautiful ancient forest at Totara Reserve. The stunning scenery continues all the way to the quaint little countryside town of Ashhurst where your cycling adventure finally comes to an end. A final lunch to celebrate new friendships and an amazing journey awaits before your return to Wellington.

    • 34.2 miles
    • Breakfast and Lunch