11 Epic Bike Trails Around Tongariro National Park© NZPocketGuide.com
11 Epic Bike Trails Around Tongariro National Park

11 Epic Bike Trails Around Tongariro National Park

© NZPocketGuide.com
Article Single Pages© NZPocketGuide.com
Article Single Pages© NZPocketGuide.com
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Tongariro Bike Trails You Can’t Miss!

The Tongariro National Park might be better known for hiking trails but did you know just how many amazing bike trails are in and around the area?! Whether you’re looking for an easy-going scenic ride or some super serious downhill thrills, there are bike trails around Tongariro National Park to suit!

These bike trails in the Central North Island are best accessed from either National Park Village, Ohakune or Turangi. There are bike hire and shuttle operators in each of those settlements so you can plan your bike trail with ease. For more bike trails in the wider area, head over to our Mountain Biking in Ruapehu guide. You also might want to find a cheap place to stay in our 11 Best Backpacker Hostels in Tongariro National Park.

1. Mountains to Sea (3-5 Days One Way)

Let’s begin with the biggest ride of them all, the Mountains to Sea bike trail. The more than 200km (124 miles) trail starts on the slopes of Mt Ruapehu at the Turoa Ski Area and ends at the shores of Whanganui. In between, the scenic journey takes you through the volcanic Tongariro National Park and the wild forests of the Whanganui National Park. This trail is a mix of grade 3 and 4.

Location: Most start at either National Park Village or Ohakune where riders can organise bike hire and return transport with local operators.

Tourism NZ© Tourism NZ

2. Ohakune Mountain Road (1 Hour One Way)

For some simply fun downhills on a sealed road, choose the Ohakune Mountain Road. Enjoy a 1000m (3281ft) vertical descent (or ascent if you’re tough enough) with plenty of walks and waterfalls to stop by alongside the road. Ohakune bike hire operators can transport you to the top of the road if you wish. For more things to do while in the area, check out 14 Outstanding Things to Do in Ohakune.

Location: Ohakune. Start from the Turoa ski area base for the descent, or at the bottom of the Ohakune Mountain Road for the ascent.

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3. Ohakune Old Coach Road (3-4 Hours One Way)

Follow the original trail that used to transport passengers between two railheads of the never-completed North Island trunk line during the 1900s. The trail takes you through virgin native forest between the railway station in Ohakune and Horopito (or vice versa). Find historic viaducts and tunnels and all sorts of other surprises along the way on this grade 2 trail.

Location: Ohakune. Start from either the Ohakune Railway Station or Horopito. Shuttle services, such as the TCB Bike Shop, run from Ohakune taking riders to Horopito so riders can make their way back to Ohakune. Book your shuttle and bike rental on Viator and Tripadvisor.

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4. Fishers Track (2-3 Hours One Way)

With mostly fun downhills and not too strenuous uphills, the Fishers Track is the perfect mountain biking experience for beginner and experienced riders alike! The track can be ridden straight from National Park Village on a steady climb alongside native forest before a descent through valleys and farmland. The trail is grade 2. Find more activities in the area with our 10 Epic Things to Do in National Park Village.

Location: National Park Village. Start from the end of Carroll Street, crossing the railway line onto Fishers Road. Return transport will need to be organised from the end of the trail.

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5. Marton Sash and Door Tramway (2 Hours Loop)

And fun yet easy-going ride taking you from National Park Village and back again is the Marton Sash and Door Tramway. This grade 2 bike trail follows a recovered bush tramway route and some backcountry dirt roads past a mix of native forest and pine plantations.

Location: National Park Village. Start at the end of Carroll Street, cross the railway line and follow the dirt road alongside the railway line south.

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6. 42 Traverse (4-7 Hours One Way)

This 46km (28.5-mile) advanced bike trail in the Tongariro Forest Park is an exciting ride with winding downhills! It follows an old logging route through native forest and across streams. There are some steep climbs involves, especially around the end with a final 2km (1.2-mile) uphill slog.

Location: 19km (12 miles) from National Park. Start from Kapoors Road, about 16km (10 miles) down State Highway 47.


7. The Pines Tracks (1-2 Hours Loop)

Enjoy this epic 10km (6-mile) network of mountain bike trails in this mountain bike park. This is an MTB park for intermediate to advanced riders!

Location: National Park Village. A 2-3km (1.2-1.8-mile) ride from National Park on the Waikune Mill Road.

MaxPixel© MaxPixel

8. Ruatiti Road and Middle Road (3-4 Hours One Way)

This grade 2 trail is a gravel road link between the Ohakune Old Coach Road (at Horopito) and the Mangapurua Track which takes you into the Whanganui National Park. It makes a good option to connect bike trails for a full-day adventure or solely ride the Ruatiti Road & Middle Road with beautiful countryside scenery. The roads follow the Manganui-o-te-ao River to a great free camping and picnic spot at the Ruatiti Domain. A must-do in summer!

Location: Ohakune. Start from Horopito following signs for the Mountains to Sea trail. The trail ends at the Ruatiti Domain.

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9. Tree Trunk Gorge and The Pillars of Hercules (2 Hours One Way)

For a different type of scenic mountain bike trail on the eastern side of the Tongariro National Park, pick the Tree Trunk Gorge Track. This grade 3-4 trail of 18km (11 miles) takes you over ancient lava flows that now stand a magnificent beech forest. There are a few stream crossing you will have to cross by foot so be prepared to get your feet wet. For more things to do in Turangi, see 11 Turangi Walks You Can’t Miss.

Location: 22km (14 miles) from Turangi. Starts from Tree Trunk Gorge Road just off State Highway 1/Desert Road.

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10. Lakes Reserve and Ratamaire Road (1-2 Hours One Way)

An excellent bike trail for the family, this easy grade 1 trail follows nearby the Raetihi-Ohakune Road through farmland and gardens with awesome views of Mt Ruapehu in the distance.

Location: Ohakune. Start from Clyde Street in Ohakune, follow the Ohakune-Raetihi Road then turn off when you see the sign to the Lake Reserve. Continue on Lakes Road then turn off onto Ratamaire Road. Ratamaire Road ends in the Rangataua side of Ohakune.

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11. Tukino Road (2-3 Hours One Way)

This 4WD gravel road provides access to the Tukino Ski Field area but makes an awesome bike trail in summer. The intermediate grade 3 ride offers amazing scenery across the Rangipo Desert. Either ascent on this challenging uphill climb, or enjoy the fun descent for 600m (1969ft)! Or do both!

Location: 36km (22 miles) from Turangi just off State Highway 1/Desert Road.

Krzysztof Golik on Wikipedia© Krzysztof Golik on Wikipedia


The information in this guide has been compiled from our extensive research, travel and experiences across New Zealand and the South Pacific, accumulated over more than a decade of numerous visits to each destination. Additional sources for this guide include the following:

Our editorial standards: At NZ Pocket Guide, we uphold strict editorial standards to ensure accurate and quality content.

About The Author

Laura S.

This article has been reviewed and published by Laura, the editor-in-chief and co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. Laura is a first-class honours journalism graduate and a travel journalist with expertise in New Zealand and South Pacific tourism for over 10 years. She also runs travel guides for five of the top destinations in the South Pacific and is the co-host of over 250 episodes of the NZ Travel Show on YouTube.

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