• Cycling on trails and back country roads
  • Short hikes
  • Canoeing
  • Jetboat
  • 10 nights hotel/motel/lodge/holiday parks
  • 6 Dinners
  • 3 Lunches
  • 9 Breakfasts

11 Days$NZD

Trip Code: SOG7846

Trip highlights

  • Enjoy riding the newest of New Zealand's Great Trails, a loop of the mighty Whakarewarewa Forest in the thermal town of Rotorua
  • Ride the trails on the shore of Lake Taupo, New Zealand's largest Lake formed by a supervolcanic eruption
  • Cycle the iconic Timber Trail through majestic native forest, staying in the Timber Trail Lodge in the heart of the forest
  • See the magical Whanganui River up close by bike, jetboat and canoe
  • Enjoy Heartland NZ cycleways through the Manawutu and Wairarapa regions
  • Explore the arty town of Whanganui, enjoying a relaxing day off mid-trip.
  • Spend a night in the beautiful old Martinborough Hotel, built in 1882, full of charm, elegance and character

Explore untouched hinterland and stunning back country trails on this remarkable tour from Rotorua to Wellington. We'll travel north to south experiencing the 'spine' of mountain ranges running through the middle, with gentle rolling farmland on both sides coupled with mystical native forests and fast flowing rivers. The central North Island is dominated by the Volcanic Plateau, an active volcanic and thermal area.

Our journey begins in the thermal resort town of Rotorua where we'll enjoy riding the newest of New Zealand's Great Rides, an easy trail perfect to kickstart your adventure.

The adventure continues, exploring some of the trails around Lake Taupo, New Zealand's biggest Lake, formed by a super volcanic eruption many years ago. Then we journey into the mystical Pureora Forest to ride the 87km Timber Trail discovering mighty swing bridges, historic timber milling sites & enjoying a night in the purpose-built lodge in the middle of the forest.

2 nights staying on the Volcanic Plateau provides opportunity to spend a full day adventuring in the Whanganui National Park, exploring the River by jet boat and canoe through gorges and amongst native bush. We follow our on-water adventure with a cycle alongside the River on a delightful back country road finishing in the coastal town of Whanganui.

After a day off relaxing in this arty town, we head to the hidden gem of the Manawatu region to ride past soaring cliffs and lush farmland against the dramatic backdrop of the Ruahine Range.

A short transfer to Masterton for our final ride on quiet roads to Martinborough, a winegrowing region, particularly celebrated for its Pinot Noir wines. It seems a fitting place for our final group dinner!

The following morning it’s a short drive to our capital city, Wellington, where riders can spend some time exploring before fying home.

Welcome to Aotearoa New Zealand and your North Island Adventure! Meeting at a central city location, we'll start with a short tour briefing and bike fitting session before embarking on our first ride of the trip, the Whakarewarewa Forest Loop – the newest Nga Haerenga Great Ride of New Zealand – purpose-built to take in a range of sights and scenery in Rotorua’s Whakarewarewa Forest. It also realises the community’s long-held vision to create a classic, deep-forest adventure. Being mostly easy (grade 2) with just a couple of short intermediate (grade 3) sections mixed in, the trail has been designed for confident riders of almost all ages, abilities and fitness levels. Storyboards along the route share the area’s long and fascinating history – from its fiery, volcanic past and rich Maori culture, to the planting of its mighty California Coastal Redwoods, all enjoyed with wonderful vistas of Lake Rotorua and Tikitapu. We finish the 34km ride at The Secret Spot where we can enjoy hot pools, showers and a celebratory drink to celebrate the start of some epic riding planned for the next 10 days. There's a short 1 hour transfer to Lake Taupo where we'll settle into our accommodation before enjoying our first group dinner Cycling Distance: Whakarewarewa Trail - 34km Accommodation: Taupo Top 10 Holiday Park

Meals:  D

Lake Taupo boasts a wonderful network of trails around the Northern rim of the Lake. Today we’ll enjoy riding through native wetlands and bush and regenerating forest as well as sweeping descents to secluded bays, perfect for a dip at the end of the day. There'll be time to visit the famous Huka Falls, the most-visited natural attraction in New Zealand, wander along the lakefront and perhaps enjoy relaxing at the Wairakei Thermal Pools. Own dinner arrangements tonight with plenty of options. Cycling Distance: Great Lake Trails – upto 33km, 441m Accommodation: Taupo Top 10 Holiday Park

Meals:  B

After breakfast it’s a 1hr 15 minr drive to the start of the Timber Trail on the edge of the Pureora Forest. The trail follows old logging roads and tramlines linked with well-constructed unsealed tracks and a series of thrilling suspension bridges. We get the hard work out of the way this morning, climbing for 14km with stunning views until we reach the highest point of the ride. From here it’s mostly downhill for the rest of the day, winding down the side of Mt Pureora and across the flanks of the Hauhungaroa Ranges with a couple of amazing suspension bridges to cross along the way. We finish the day at Piropiro Flats right by our outstanding accommodation and hospitality at the Timber Trail Lodge. For those still with energy to burn, there's the option of a short bush walk from the Lodge. Cycling Distance: Timber Trail - 36km; 608m Accommodation: The Timber Trail Lodge

Meals:  B,D

This morning we head back into the native forest and cross over a tumbling gorge on one of the highest and longest swing bridges in the country, keeping a lookout for New Zealand’s native pigeon, the beautiful Kereru. Today’s climbing consists of 2 much shorter uphills compared with yesterday’s ascent, with the 2nd one finishing at the Ongarue Tramway terminus. From there it’s mostly downhill all the way to the end following the old tramway. We pass remnants of the region’s logging history, more swing bridges and the fascinating Ongarue Spiral and its rather spooky, old tunnel. The trail continues downhill to Ongarue. We then load the bikes and drive 90mins to Ohakune, a quaint ski village at the base of Mount Ruapehu, which will be our home for the next 2 nights. There will be the option of a 17km ride up the highest sealed road in New Zealand for those keen for a late afternoon activity! Cycling Distance: Timber Trail - 43km, +495m Accommodation: Ohakune Top 10 Holiday Park

Meals:  B,L

The Whanganui National Park is another special place which was created to protect the upper reaches of the Whanganui River. Once an important transport route for both Maori and early European settlers, the river flows from Tongariro National Park to the Tasman sea through wild lowland forests. Today's excursion on the Whanganui River is optional. A short transfer to Pipiriki and we start our adventure with a 55 minute jet boat journey upriver 32 kms to the Mangapurua Landing, through an area of spectacular natural features with deep river gorges covered with lush native vegetation. From the drop off it's an easy grade 40 minute walk following in the footsteps of the early pioneers along the old roadway to the “BRIDGE TO NOWHERE” where you will stop for lunch on this historical monument of a bygone era and learn the history from your local guide. The next part of your adventure is canoeing back down the Whanganui River to Pipiriki, through a landscape of remote hills and bush clad valleys. We'll pass through the scenic gorge of the Manganui o te Ao River and the Ngaporo and Autapu rapids should provide plenty of excitement. More exotic trees and farmland, an eel weir and the Paparoa rapid follow before reaching the boat ramp below Pipiriki village. A short transfer back to Ohakune for a second night. For those who choose to stay in Ohakune, you have the opportunity to explore the town and/or undertake some short local rides or a longer back country ride. Cycling : No cycling today - jetboat and canoeing Accommodation: Ohakune Top 10 Holiday Park

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we're back on our bikes to complete our adventure in the Whanganui National Park. We head back to Pipiriki and ride south along the Whanganui River Road, a fully sealed road but gently undulating with a couple of challenging ascents near the start and finish. The effort, however, is well worth it, not least of all for the elevated views along the river, but also for the many Maori and European heritage sites along the way. Between them, they tell quite the story of New Zealand’s early settlement, beginning with early Maori for whom the river was a primary highway. Major landmarks include Hiruharama (Jerusalem), a catholic church and convent built at the end of the nineteenth century and the restored Kawana Flour Mill, built in 1854. We finish our ride in the picturesque riverside city of Whanganui, one of the first cities to be founded in NZ. We have chosen for the group to have a full day off in this arty city on the Tasman coast as there are plenty of things to see or do, both active and relaxing! Cycle : upto 62km, +950m on back country roads Accommodation: Aotea Motor Lodge, Whanganui

Meals:  B,D

A full day off the bike to rest the legs. Perhaps choose to explore the many art galleries and cafes or if you're keen on some kind of exercise, enjoy a self guided ride or walk. Accommodation : Aotea Motor Lodge, Whanganui

Meals:  Nil

Mainly following quiet country roads through farmland, the Three Rivers Heartland Ride connects arty Whanganui and rural hub of Hunterville, making for a picturesque journey passing through heartland Rangitikei. The Three Rivers route traces historic stock routes as it winds its way north to the Volcanic Plateau. Highlights include Whanganui’s quirky Durie Hill elevator, tunnel and tower; and pretty rural scenes. From Hunterwille it's about an hour's transfer to Mairenui Rural Retreat, a farmstay complex nestled in the scenic hill country of the Rangitikei District. Mairenui is a working sheep and beef farm, with deer and horses also, and has been in the Sweet Family for over 100 years Cycling Distance : 63km, +959m Accommodation : Mairenui Rural Retreat

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we stay off the beaten track on a scenic and often surprising journey through rural Manawatu, full of natural wonders, local history and country hospitality. We wind our way up the Mangawharariki Valley, following deep sided Papa cliffs with wide ranging views to the Ruahine Ranges and vistas of snow covered Ruapehu in the distance. The ride includes stunning climbs and descents overlooking the Kawhatau River and meanders through pretty valleys and native bush. Cycle upto 70km, 1170m Accommodation : Solway Copthorne Hotel, Masterton

Meals:  B

This morning we enjoy our final North Island ride on the Wairarapa Cycleway. This is a pleasant touring route with stunning views of the Wairarapa region and plenty of rural charm. We’ll take a mid-morning breather by the delightful Gladstone church before finishing this pretty ride in the small town of Martinborough. Martinborough is the heart of Wairarapa wine-country with plenty of opportunities for tastings and cellar-door dining. It offers a heart-warming blend of down-to-earth rural charm and sophisticated indulgence. The village centre itself is leafy and attractive. This afternoon feel free to explore one or more of the local cellar doors, cruise the boutique shops or we can head across to explore another lovely Wairarapa town, Greytown. We finish the day with our final group dinner to celebrate the end of a trip of lifelong memories. Cycle 60km; 402m Accommodation : Martinborough Hotel

Meals:  B,D

After a relaxed start and breakfast in our hotel we head across the Remutaka Ranges to Wellington, New Zealand's capital city where you will be dropped at a central Wellington location. If you have some extra time available, Wellington is a vibrant city with plenty to see and do. Highlights include a visit to Zealandia, the world’s first fully-fenced ecosanctuary and an incredible slice of wilderness, discovering our stories at our National Museum, Te Papa, riding the historic Cable Car, a visit to Weta Workshop, the home of movie-making magic, or a wander along the waterfront. Cycling : No cycling

Meals:  B


  • Tasty breakfasts (x9), lunches (x3), dinners (x6) catered to all dietary requirements
  • 10 nights comfortable motel/lodge/holiday park/farmstay accommodation on twin share basis
  • 2 Professional qualified driver/guides
  • Full vehicle support along the trail including trailer for luggage
  • Transport pick up from one central Rotorua pick up point and drop off in central Wellington
  • Pre departure information kit to help you plan and prepare
  • Concession fees paid to the Department of Conservation
  • Trail maintenance fees paid to all Trail Trusts

  • Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
  • All beverages (other than breakfast or trailside)
  • Bike Hire (available to rent)
  • Optional activities (Jetboat and canoe excursions on the Whanganui River)
  • International or domestic flights and taxes
  • Airport Arrival and departure transfers
  • Water bottle (help us save the environment and bring your own bike drink bottle)
  • 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. You will have two experienced members of our guiding team. You’ll know you’re in safe hands as all of our guides are certified in first aid and CPR and many of them are trained bike mechanics. They come from all walks of life but our guides have a common desire to give you the best possible experience, fun and lots of fond memories to take home with you.


Bike information

Trail Surface



The trip is graded moderate. You will need a good level of fitness and we suggest 2-3 hours of cycling three times a week for the three months leading up to your trip. You will need to be able to cycle 50-60km each day, and as much as 70km on the longest day. The trail surfaces vary from hard packed to loose gravel yet all are purpose built for off-road cycling and are well maintained. The Timber Trail is predominantly wide and smooth but there are some decent climbs and trickier sections, including mud and slippery roots making it best suited to reasonably fit, experienced cyclists. There is no vehicle access, so you need to be able to ride 3-4 hours comfortably at a time. Good preparation, fitness and practice riding on off-road trails will add to your enjoyment of the tour. 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.

Departure dates


Base Price

Want to organise a private group?

Fundraising events, sporting groups, family treats; learn how you can organise a Private Group from just 6 travellers.

Priceper person from


Options & Supplements*
  • Single SupplementNZD$1300
  • Standrd Bike HireNZD$300
  • e-Bike HireNZD$800
*Prices listed are per person

Essential information

Ready to book? Make sure you download and read the detailed Fiona Van Dam & Friends North Island Adventure 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.

Trip reviews

Similar trips

The Tasman Sea from above | Lachlan Gardiner
New Zealand
151 Reviews
Cycle over the grand Poolburn Viaduct | Lachlan Gardiner
New Zealand
66 Reviews
Celebrating with fine food and wine after a good day's ride | Lachlan Gardiner
New Zealand
Riding the Alps to Ocean | Gesine C
New Zealand
361 Reviews
Join Newsletter
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/ADS.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Adventures South"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Adventure South</div>
Adventure South NZ is unrivalled in their geographic coverage, originality and overall quality of adventures holidays in New Zealand. Choose from walking, cycling, winter or multi-activity holidays, on either the North or South Island.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/AWH.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Australian Walking Holidays"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Australian Walking Holidays</div>
Australian Walking Holidays specialises in small group guided walking adventures. Since 1982 we have been guiding small groups of travellers on Australia's finest walks across our tropical, coastal or red centre landscapes.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/GCT.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Great Canadian Trails"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Great Canadian Trails</div>
Great Canadian Trails specialises in active holidays in Canada. With both guided and supported self-guided options available, our unique itineraries draw upon some of Canada's most inspiring parks, trails and landscapes from coast to coast.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/HUM.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Humac Challenge"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Huma Charity Challenge</div>
Huma enables those with adventurous spirits to challenge themselves and make a difference for a cause close to their heart. Travel, fundraise and meet life-long friends on one of Huma's meaningful and unique challenges around the world.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/WB.jpg?v2' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Walkers’ Britain"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Walkers' Britain</div>
Walkers' Britain (formerly Sherpa Expeditions) have specialised in walking and cycling trips in the United Kingdom and Europe since 1973. Explore iconic trails and destinations on a self guided or small group active holiday with Walkers' Britain.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/WB.jpg?v2' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Walkers’ Britain"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Walkers' Britain</div>
Walkers' Britain (formerly Sherpa Expeditions) have specialised in walking and cycling trips in the United Kingdom and Europe since 1973. Explore iconic trails and destinations on a self guided or small group active holiday with Walkers' Britain.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/TAS.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Tasmania Expeditions"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Tasmanian Expeditions</div>
Tasmanian Expeditions is the most experienced operator of treks and adventure travel holidays in Tasmania. We own and operate the most comprehensive range of adventure holidays available across Tasmania's varied landscapes.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/UTX-new.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Utracks"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>UTracks</div>
UTracks are the active European holiday specialists. Whether you prefer cycling or walking, 2-star or 4-star, small groups or self guided, land, river or sea – UTracks can help you to explore Europe exactly the way you want.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/WYA.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="World Expeditions Schools"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>World Expeditions Schools</div>
World Expeditions Schools is our specialist division dedicated to organising tailor made overseas school group adventures. Specialists in Service Learning projects, choose from more destinations than any other school group provider.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/YOM.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Yomads"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Yomads</div>
Yomads offers adventures for the 20s and 30s on six continents. Designed as a way to bring young and likeminded travellers together, Yomads caters to those interested in lightly structured and active trips that allow freedom to roam and explore.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/ACT.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Australian Cycle Tours"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Australian Cycle Tours</div>
Australian Cycle Tours specialises in high quality self guided and guided cycling experiences in a selection of the most beautiful regions in Australia.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/WEX.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="World Expeditions"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>World Expeditions</div>
The pioneers of original, worldwide adventure travel holidays since 1975
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/TJX.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Trail Journeys"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Trail Journeys</div>
Self-guided cycling experts on New Zealand's Otago Rail Trail and more
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/BMAC.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Blue Mountains Adventure Company"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Blue Mountains Adventure Company</div>
The original Blue Mountains canyoning, hiking, climbing and abseiling experts
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/GWNZ.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Great Walks of New Zealand"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Great Walks of New Zealand</div>
Explore New Zealand's most spectacular wilderness regions with the self-guided hiking experts
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/NAA.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="North America Active"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>North America Active</div>
USA Canada hiking & cycling tour specialists, choose from self-guided or guided trips