• Road, gravel and single track biking
  • 13 nights hotel/motel
  • 11 Dinners
  • 11 Lunches
  • 12 Breakfasts
Trip Code: SOG6941

Trip highlights

  • Visit both historic lighthouses at the widest points of the North Island.
  • Ride the Forgotten Highway to the Republic of Whangamomona
  • Follow the path of old logging tracks and tramlines through virgin forest on the Timber Trail
  • Enjoy the thermal attractions of Rotorua or explore its famous mountain biking trails
  • Immerse yourself in the mystique of Te Urewera
  • Marvel at rugged, remote inland farming country hardly anyone gets to see
  • Visit Eastwoodhill, an arboretum of national and international importance
  • Enjoy 21km of the sweetest single track in New Zealand, the Pakihi Track
  • Ride the stunning East Cape coastline
  • Enjoy great hospitality from the locals of back country NZ

Starting at the most Western point of the North Island at Cape Egmont, this Kennett Brothers' route takes us on quiet back country roads to New Plymouth and then up the famous Forgotten Highway to the Republic of Whangamomona. Riding the rest of the Forgotten Highway we then head onto the stunning Timber Trail, staying overnight midway at a delightful new Lodge. We’ll experience titbits of the Waikato River Trail on our way to the Waikite Valley which leads us to Rotorua, where we’ll enjoy a 2 night stay to rest the legs (although it might be hard to resist spending a couple of hours exploring the famous Rotorua mountain bike trails!).

From Rotorua we head into very remote country, cycling through Te Urewera, a protected area famous for its lakes, boasting the largest area of native forest remaining in the North Island and home to nearly all species of New Zealand native birds. Continuing with the remote nature of this route, we ride through barely populated Hawkes Bay/Gisborne rugged farming country, during which we’ll enjoy the hospitality of one of the local farming families. An overnight stop at Eastwoodhill, the National Arboretum of New Zealand, offers us the opportunity to explore the most comprehensive collection of woody plants in New Zealand – a truly amazing display.

Next stop the tiny settlement of Motu, where we’ll be hosted overnight by a group of locals before enjoying one of New Zealand’s iconic forest rides, the Pakihi Track. This 21km single track through beautiful and untamed landscape will drop us down to the stunning Opotiki coastline which we’ll then follow on a quiet sealed road through to the small coastal community of Te Kaha. Our last ride takes us from Te Kaha out to the iconic East Cape Lighthouse, the most Eastern point of the North Island and the end of our journey.

Today is the first official day of the tour and hopefully you should all have arrived yesterday and be ready to ride this morning, with bikes built up and gear prepared. After a tour introduction and briefing, for one of the few times on this trip all bikes and riders will be loaded onto and in the van for the transfer from New Plymouth to the lighthouse at Cape Egmont. Then we start our adventure, with a relatively short ride to warm up the legs, biking the return journey to New Plymouth, although on a different route via quieter roads. We climb away from the rugged black sand coast partway up the Pouakai ranges, which adjoin the majestic Mt Taranaki. After a light lunch at Pukeiti, Taranaki's most famous Garden of international significance, we enjoy a fast, easy descent off the ranges back into New Plymouth with the final few kilometres on the Te Henui walkway, a delightful easy off road trail which finishes back at the coast. There may be some free time to visit Pukekura Park or the Len Lye Centre before our first tour dinner at a local restaurant. Cycling Stats - Cape Egmont to New Plymouth : 58kms, +709m

Meals:  D

Today is our first taste of real back country, remote, heartland New Zealand! Starting in civilisation we end in the tiny Republic of Whangamomona (pop. 40 humans, numerous other inhabitants), where a goat was once the President and which sells its own passports. Between these 2 extremes we'll enjoy a stunning, challenging ride with mixed terrain and gradients and the final 17km on the famous Forgotten World Highway! We start by riding up the coast on the award winning New Plymouth Coastal Walkway with crashing waves, and crystal ocean as far as your eye can see. Turning inland we'll experience the beautiful rich dairy country of rural Taranaki followed by 2nd growth bush and forestry buried in the remote back blocks of the region. Undulating and a mixture of walkway, quiet sealed roads and narrow, gravel roads the day is steeped in variety with a photo opportunity around every corner. Tonight we'll enjoy the hospitality at the Whangamomona Hotel, one of New Zealand's most iconic country hotels, dating back to 1912. Cycling Stats - New Plymouth to Whangamomona : 92kms, +1447m

Meals:  B,L,D

Today you won't forget the Forgotten World Highway because we'll be on it for the whole ride as we travel from Whangamomona to Taumaranui on a mix of seal and gravel road. Built on colonial bridle paths formed in the late 19th century, the Forgotten World Highway is remote and mysterious to the extreme. "A bit upsy downsy" is how one local resident puts it - a classic New Zealand understatement to describe a road that hugs the rugged contours of the land to provide a natural roller coaster experience. We start with a gentle climb upto the Tahora Saddle and the Moki Tunnel before dropping down into the beautiful Tangarakau Gorge, cloaked in native forest. Rolling through the Gorge we then climb over the Parata Saddle and finish with a 30km stretch of hilly farmland hooking up alongside the Whanganui River for the final few kms into Taumaranui. Staying with the theme, our accommodation for the night is the Forgotten World Motel and dinner is on your own. Cycling Stats - Whangamomona to Taumaranui : 88kms, +1445m

Meals:  B,L

Today we start on a quiet back road which links Taumaranui to the southern end of The Timber Trail. This route follows a gravel road through lush hill country and is a delightful section, although its gravel surface and countless undulations alongside the Ongarue River mean it’s not a total walk in the park. From the Ongarue township we join The Timber Trail, one of NZ's Great Rides, which runs between the tiny settlements of Ongarue and Pureora through the Pureora Forest Park, a magical mix of exotic, regenerating and precious virgin forest saved by environmentalists in the 1970s. The unsealed trail follows the path of old logging roads and tramlines, linked with purpose-built singletrack and a series of thrilling suspension bridges. We stay in the Forest tonight, at the halfway point of the trail, at the purpose built, off the grid, Timber Trail Lodge. Cycling Stats - Taumaranui to Timber Trail Lodge : 69kms, +987m

Meals:  B,L,D

The day starts back on the Timber Trail with a decent climb through bush across the Western flanks of the Hauhungaroa Ranges and up the Southern side of Mt Pureora. The reward is crossing 2 amazing suspension bridges before reaching the 971m highest point on the trail. Then it's into the ethereal Cloud Forest and a delightful descent to regenerating exotic and native forest. Leaving the trail we cut though forestry roads and finally emerge from the Forest Park crossing the Mangakino Stream on a rather interesting 'bridge'. From here it's open farmland for 18km and then the final 6km on the delightful Waikato River Trail leads us to That Damn Lodge, our rustic accommodation where we'll enjoy our own rooms but with shared facilities so no hogging the shower! Cycling Stats - Timber Trail Lodge to Whakamaru : 82kms, +1,279m

Meals:  B,L,D

We kick off today's riding with another lovely section of the Waikato River Trail following the lake edge, initially passing through Lake Whakamaru Reserve planted with magnificent mature pine trees. Bluffs rise dramatically from the lake providing a stunning backdrop, while just shy of Atiamuri, is the magnificent and culturally significant Pohaturoa Rock, lifted by volcanic forces and weathered by the elements over the millennia. From Atiamuri we head through a scenic corner of the country that hardly anyone would ever think of exploring. With a mix of quiet sealed and gravel roads we make our way through to the Waikite Valley and its Thermal Springs and then onto Waiotapu. The last section of the day is our longest section of the whole trip on sealed road. It's 40k on an official State Highway but fortunately it's relatively quiet, has a good shoulder and a large chunk is a blistering downhill! At the end we'll load up and head to Vegas for a well-earned mid tour ''rest'' starting with dinner on Rotorua's Eat Street! Cycling Stats - Whakamaru Dam to Rotorua : 115kms, +1,446m

Meals:  B,L,D

With a day 'free' to do as you please, the options in Rotorua are many and varied. Famous for its hot pools, geysers and thermal reserves there's no shortage of opportunities to give your legs a well earned rest and perhaps even a thermal soak. If you want a more active 'rest' the Redwoods and the lakefront are both great places to wander and for those who just can't stay off their bikes the mountain biking in Rotorua is world renowned. Coincidentally the annual Rotorua Lakeside Concert will be taking place tonight. It's free, has a great line up of artists and ends with a fantastic fireworks display - check out www.rotorualakesideconcert.co.nz for more info if your interested. Our motel has great bike washing and maintenance facilities if you need to give your bike some tlc and there are plenty of bike shops in town for any gear you might think you need! Meals wherever and whenever you like today - there are a stack of cafes and restaurants to choose from or supermarkets if you prefer some home cooking for a change. Cycling Stats - Nothing official!

Meals:  Nil

Today promises to be one of the tour highlights as we cycle through Te Urerewa, protected landscape of forests and lakes and a scenic spectacle almost too hard to do justice in words. Remote, rugged, immense, Te Urewera is the home of the Tuhoe people and to them Te Urewera is not just their homeland, but also the mother of their first ancestors. Te Urewera is a taonga and everyone has a responsibility to care for her. All manuhiri (visitors) to Te Urewera are asked to respect Tikana of the Lake and help us all to be guardians of this place. Riding through this special landscape will feel like a privilege and it's an experience to be savoured rather than rushed, especially given the lumpy, gravel terrain! We'll be staying in comfortable cabins on the shores of Lake Waikaremoana with catering at the hands of your guides so it might not be cordon bleu but it should be tasty and filling! Cycle Stats - Rotorua to Lake Waikaremoana : 96kms, +2688m

Meals:  B,L,D

Another pretty meaty day ahead but it's a friendly start continuing to ride alongside the Lake before a cracking descent marks our departure from Te Urerewa. The landscape changes to rolling hills and farmland as we ride through the back country of the Wairoa District, an area settled by farmers in the early 20th century. It's remote, tough, steep, farming country - equally tough riding but incredibly rewarding with just the sounds of nature to keep you company and fantastic views worth every upward pedal-stroke. The people here are hardy folk but it's a community that works and plays together and hospitality is second nature. Tonight we'll get to experience that first hand as we're staying with one of the local farming families, spread amongst their own house, the shearers' quarters and a farm cottage. Sally, our host, will be cooking up a storm so you can look forward to hearty, home-cooking. Cycling Stats - Waikaremoana to Donneraille Park ; 104kms, +2,315m

Meals:  B,L,D

Similar remote, rugged, farming country for today's ride - not quite as long and not quite as much climbing but just as spectacular! We'll divert just slightly off the route to our overnight accommodation, Eastwoodhill, which is the National Arboretum of New Zealand and a place of international significance. It encompasses over 131 hectares planted in exotic and native trees, shrubs and climber plantings. The collection was planted by Douglas Cook and is regarded as the largest and most comprehensive collection of Northern Hemisphere trees south of the equator. There'll be time to wander this stunning place on walking tracks which offer an opportunity to see many rare and unique species. Tasty Leaf Catering, operated by The Friends of Eastwoodhill, will be providing our evening meal with all proceeds going towards the ongoing care of the arboretum. Sleeping arrangements are mostly in same sex bunk rooms tonight but the beds and linen are good quality and you'll be sure to sleep soundly. Cycling Stats - Donneraille Park to Eastwoodhill ; 81kms, +1,700m

Meals:  B,L,D

We join into one of NZ's Heartland Rides today, the Rere Falls Trail which is a richly rewarding cycle link from Gisborne to the Motu Trails in the Bay of Plenty. Rolling hills and a mix of gravel and sealed roads show off the special sights and scenery of one of New Zealand’s most remote regions. From the Arboretum we'll only get a few kms along the road before we'll come across the Rere Rockslide, a giant 60m long natural rock slide, and the Rere Falls, one of the most charming waterfalls in NZ located on the Wharekopae River and worth the 2 min side walk! Soon after we're back on gravel road for 27k of more spectacular scenery with a mix of high country farms, forested reserves and peaks - yes, there are a few solid climbs in this section! The trail ends in the small settlement of Matawai on the upper reaches of the Motu River from where it's a 13km ride alongside the river to the rural community of Motu itself, our home for the night where we'll be hosted by a number of locals, including Karen from the Motuvation cafe who'll be keeping us well fed. Cycling Stats - Eastwoodhill to Motu ; 75km, +1498m

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we get to experience one of the best single track descents in the country! Originally a pack track cut in the early 1900s, the Pakihi Track is now a wonderful 20km-long wilderness trail. Although graded a level 4 this track isn't technically difficult but there is exposure/drop offs so caution is advised. But first we have to get there! From Motu it's a steady climb up the Old Motu Road with well earned views and then a fun partial descent to the start of the track. The first 11km section twists and turns through magical forest dominated by tawa, totara, rimu and rewarewa. The stunning lower section starts by crossing Pakihi Stream via an impressive 35m suspension bridge, and then follows it all the way to the trail end. Along the way keep an eye out for native birds including the kereru, tui and fantails. The last leg back to Opotiki involves a combination of gravel, quiet country road and stopbank trail. Time for a cafe fuel up before heading out of town on the Dunes Trail, an easy, flat 10km trail along the sand dunes with epic ocean and East Cape views. Then we're on the relatively quiet Pacific Coast Highway for the rest of our coastal ride to Te Kaha so enjoy the dramatic change in scenery from the bush, forest and farmland we've been journeying through upto now! Our day ends at the Te Kaha Resort, our home for the next 2 nights and situated right on the beachfront at Te Kaha. Cycling Stats - Motu to Te Kaha ; 125kms, 1600m

Meals:  B,L,D

And so we reach our final day on this epic adventure. Back on the Pacific Highway we'll ride past magnificent, empty beaches and small hamlets. The scenery and quietude are profoundly appealing and the area is rich in Maori history, culture and early whaling. While there is a good deal of wonderful coastline, almost half of the journey will be through farmland and pretty bush valleys with some challenging hills. To start, it's a relatively easy gradient alongside the coast for about 50k with the Anglican church at Raukokore well worth a wee stop en route. Then the road turns inland and a tad hilly before arriving at Te Araroa. Stop briefly to admire the oldest pohutukawa tree in the country and then head out along the 22km mostly unsealed, no-exit road to the most easterly point on mainland New Zealand and the first place to see the sunrise in the world each day. We can finally stop turning the pedals and instead tackle the 700 steps upto the lighthouse - the breathtaking views are definitely worth the effort! Then it's back to Te Kaha (courtesy of the van!) for an optional swim and final celebratory dinner. Cycling Stats - Te Kaha to East Cape ; 113km, +1,172m

Meals:  B,L,D

After a latish breakfast our tour finally comes to an end with a transfer to Rotorua Airport.

Meals:  B


  • 13 nights hotel/motel/bunk/homestead accommodation, based on twin share
  • 12 breakfasts, 11 lunches, 11 dinners
  • 1 group arrival and departure transfer on Days 1 and 14
  • 2 Adventure South professional guides
  • Comfortable support vehicle throughout
  • Speciality bike trailer to carry bikes and luggage
  • Entrance into Eastwoodhill Arboretum
  • Transfer of bike cases from New Plymouth to Te Kaha
  • Snacks, fruit and water while cycling
  • Department of Conservation and National Park Fees

  • Domestic airfares and taxes
  • Arrival and departure transfers other than the group pick up and drop off points
  • Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
  • All beverages, other than breakfast and water while cycling
  • Mountain bike/Gravel bike and helmets
  • Bike bags or panniers for small personal items while cycling
  • Optional activities
  • Personal expenses (eg. phone calls, internet, laundry, shopping etc)
  • Travel insurance

About Your Leader

Our guides are one of our biggest assets and we pride ourselves on their level of quality and high standards. The guides assigned to your trip will be two of Adventure South's most experienced and between them they will have all the knowledge and skills needed to ensure you'll go home with amazing memories of your Kopiko cycling adventure. At least one of your guides will have ridden the Kopiko and both will be experienced endurance cyclists.



To determine the grade of a particular adventure we consider a number of factors. These include the condition of the terrain, the altitude, the amount of climbing, the types of roads and the length of the trip. This Kopiko Tour is graded challenging. You will need to be a competent rider with stamina and a good level of fitness. Overall you will need to be able to cycle comfortably for up to 6-8 hours or around 80km/100km per day, day after day, with some extended uphill ascents. You should be confident riding on gravel roads, easy/moderate single track and main roads alongside traffic which can be travelling at speed. This tour is not for beginners. But you won't need to be training 24/7 for the 3 months prior - a steady build up is the answer and we will provide more guidance closer to the time. The tour is fully supported and if at any stage you feel like having a rest from cycling you will be able to ride in the support vehicle. The total mileage for all the cycling components is around 1100kms with over 17,000m of climbing.

Departure dates


Base Price

Essential information

Ready to book? Make sure you download and read the detailed Kopiko West to East trip notes which contains all the essential information you need to know before booking. Once you’ve booked, we will supply you with a Pre-Departure document which contains a detailed gear list and other important information to help you prepare for your adventure ahead.

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