The Toughest Mountain Bike Rides In NZ

If you’re looking for a challenge in New Zealand our list of the toughest mountain bike rides in New Zealand may be something that interests you. The New Zealand biking trails are a world-class network of highly maintained tracks all across the country. While trails offer different grades (level of difficulty) there’s some grades that are only for experienced riders. The the toughest rides you’ll need to be looking at grade 5 trails: 


These trails are technically challenging.

  •   Off-road trails include steep long climbs, precipitous descents, lots of rocks and dangerous drop-offs.
  •   The surface will be hugely varied and cyclists should expect rocks, roots and ruts.
  •   There are likely to be river crossings, some of which may be dangerous after heavy rain.
  •   The trail will be barely wide enough to ride in some places and some walking is likely.
  •   On-road trails have high traffic volumes (3000+ vehicles per day) with a limited shoulder for riding, hill climbs and possible gravel sections.

Arapuni (Arapuni To Waipapa Dam)

This grade 5 trail is apart of the Waikato River Trail. The trail is in different sections with the Arapuni (Arapuni to Waipapa Dam) section being grade 5. This sections is only 34kms long and will take an morning of afternoon to complete depending on your experience. Some of the track is off-road, make sure you’re prepared when you attempt this section of the trail.

Te Iringa

The Te Iringa trail is a grade 5 trail located by Lake Taupo on the North Island of New Zealand. This is a trail for those more technical developed on their mountain bikes. The trail is a 40kms round trip to complete and will take 4- 6 hours depending on your ability. This ride is considered one of the most technical rides in New Zealand so be prepared if you’re planning to attempt this as there’s plenty of times you might have to carry your bike which will slow you down.

Craters MTB Park – Wairakei Forest

You’ll find various grades at Craters MTB Park in Wairakei Forestbut there’s also some grade 5 trails. This is a great option if you’re traveling in a group or in a family but some members do not feel comfortable attempting such a tough ride. 

There are a lot of mountain bike trails in New Zealand, each with their own grading system. This list above shows those trails which are considered the toughest in New Zealand by having a grade 5. For those who want the challenge we suggest Te Iringa as your main trail.

View more New Zealand biking information

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