Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is working with local government and community groups to develop a connected cycling network across New Zealand.

The New Zealand cycling network is made up of three different parts:

  • Urban rides in towns and cities
  • The New Zealand Cycle Trail’s 22 Great Rides, which are predominantly off-road
  • Heartland Rides, which allow you to explore New Zealand on scenic back roads while enjoying stunning scenery and local hospitality. They follow the safest on-road route available and provide a link between the Great Rides, urban rides, and towns and cities.

Great Rides(external link)

Heartland Rides(external link)

New Zealand cycle touring routes

If you’re planning to do some cycle touring across New Zealand the interactive map below shows how the entire network connects so you can plan a route. It makes it easy to choose a cycling route that will be the most enjoyable option to suit your needs, and which roads to avoid.

It is the most comprehensive map available of cycling routes in New Zealand. For more detail, you can click on any of the marked routes. A summary of the route in terms of trail type, grade, traffic volume and speed will pop up. This allows you to determine if a ride is right for you. The summary will also include a link to more information about the route on websites (such as the New Zealand Cycle Trail) if it is available.

New Zealand Cycle Trail website(external link)

How to use the interactive cycling network map

This interactive map has two ‘themes’ that you can switch between:

  • The cycling network depicted by category/brand eg, Great Rides, Heartland Rides and city rides
  • The cycling network depicted by cycle trail facility type. This will show you if a trail is fully sealed or has some unsealed portions and shows if the route is separated from traffic or not. This is useful for people planning a cycle journey if they particularly like/dislike gravel roads/paths, or want to completely avoid traffic.

Full details on how to use the tool are shown in the ‘How to guide’ built into the interactive map below.

Cycle route grading system information and experience and fitness required.

New Zealand cycling network map – Te Paparanga Āmiki

Use this interactive map to help you plan your trip.

New Zealand cycling network map

Open map in full screen(external link)

More cycle touring information

We conducted surveys to understand the experiences of cycle tourists on New Zealand’s roads in 2018, 2019, and 2020. We mapped the degree to which route experiences were good, and bad.

Cycle touring and bike-packing survey 2018 report

New Zealand cycling network projects

Waka Kotahi has been working with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and councils since 2010 to develop the nationwide cycling network. While MBIE has been leading the development of Great Rides such as The Timber Trail and the West Coast Wilderness Trail, Waka Kotahi has been leading the on-road portion of the network. These on-road cycle routes – Heartland Rides – often require minor safety improvements before they can be added to the cycling network.

Here are some examples of projects that Waka Kotahi has been funding to help complete a cycle route:

Group of cyclists standing with their bikes with a red ribbon strung across the brick path at the opening of the Hurunui Heartland Ride.

The Hurunui Heartland Ride is a 200km long cycle route from Kaikōura to Amberley. It is mostly on local roads which makes it a safer alternative to SH1. However, a 3km section is on SH7. Waka Kotahi funded safety signs and shoulder widening to make this route safer to cycle before it was opened.

Cyclist with a red jacket and black bag on his back seen from behind as he cycles down an unsealed track.

Between Tauranga and Rotorua a local council identified the opportunity to create a cycle route parallel to the highway by connecting two local roads with a 2km shared user path. In this case, Waka Kotahi provided the council with funds to build the 2km path and signpost the new route.

Kamo railway crossing for pedestrians and cyclists.

Upgrading rail crossings on several New Zealand Cycle Trails, making them safer for all users.

Two cyclists seen from behind riding along a state highway.

Between Havelock and Pelorus Bridge, Waka Kotahi has widened the shoulder of SH6 so that cycle tourers heading to Nelson can ride outside the live traffic lane.

Man with yellow high-vis jacket standing on a cycle bridge with blue painted barriers on either side and a wooden planked surface.

From Takaka township a 2km long shared user path has been built beside SH60 to the Golden Bay Medical Centre. This also connects to a local school and Paines Ford Scenic Reserve, a popular swimming and rock climbing area.

Three cyclists seen in the distance biking along an unsealed path with a river  right.

At Albert Town, near Wanaka, Waka Kotahi is planning to upgrade informal walking and cycling paths that will connect the popular Hawea River Path and camping ground with the Albert Town shops.