Cycle New Zealand’s best wine trails

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Cellar doors abound in New Zealand’s world-famous wine regions and, if you’re willing to use a little pedal power, some incredible bike-friendly wine trails await.


Partial to a chilled glass or two of Sauvignon Blanc? You’ll be spoilt for choice in the verdant valleys of Marlborough, at the top of the South Island. A five-day self-guided cycling tour will take you to some of NZ’s best-known wineries – Cloudy Bay and Hunter’s Wines among them. Daunted at the thought of that long in the saddle? Hire an e-bike to make life easier or ride the ‘golden mile’ through Rapaura and Renwick. This 6km ride is beautiful any time of year and will take you to nine knockout wineries.

Hawke’s Bay

Why go all the way to Europe for a cycling holiday when you can bike ride through the stunning wine growing region of Hawke’s Bay on NZ’s North Island? The 33km Wineries Ride is a smooth and mostly flat loop, on a trail that runs alongside roads. There are nine cellar doors dotted along the wine route. Expect full-bodied reds (about 90 per cent of New Zealand’s Syrah, Cabernet and Merlot is produced here) and exceptional chardonnay. Hire a bike from On Yer Bike in Havelock and get pedalling!

Central Otago

There’s a reason Otago Rail Trail is known as one of NZ’s best rides, and it’s not just the scenery. Central Otago is the world’s southernmost wine region and the Rail Trail is an amazing way to explore it. Take your time to soak up the sights on this ride, allowing about four days to sample the incredible pinot noirs being produced at the boutique wineries along the way. The 152km Rail Trail will take you safely across bridges, through tunnels and along easy-riding, car-free tracks. Sign up with a tour operator to have your accommodation organised along the route, and your luggage transported for you.


If a leisurely afternoon cycling between vineyards sounds good to you, head for the small town of Martinborough in the heart of Wairarapa wine country. The area’s Mediterranean climate (similar to Burgundy in France) makes it a prime spot to grow grapes that produce ‘warm pinot noir, elegant syrah and herbaceous sauvignon blanc’ and winemakers have been doing just that since the 1800s. There are more than 50 wineries and vineyards to discover, with one not far from the next. Download the wine map, hire a bike and hit the road!


Tasman’s Great Taste Trail winds its way through farmland and vineyards, along rivers and coastline. It’s 200km long, but it’s well sign-posted and can easily be tackled in sections that take between two and six hours to ride. Aside from wineries, which are reason enough to get on your bike and ride, the trail is a great way to try the region’s craft beer and cider, amazing seafood and local produce at pubs, cafes, eateries and winery restaurants. Fine food paired with fine wine? What’s not to love?

Travel Insurance

We all know that the good times can take a slight detour when travelling. When the going gets tough, Travel Insurance Direct policies aim to do the heavy lifting and may assist with travel insurance cover such as cycling, to help keep your trip moving in the right direction, so you can refocus on the fun.

When cycling through wineries, the temptation of tasting what’s on offer may be strong. Always drink responsibly, wear a helmet, follow local laws and read the PDS the full terms, conditions, limitations and exclusions.


I grew up in the US, Germany and Australia, so it feels more foreign for me to stay in one place than to move around. Since then, I’ve called Boston, London, Seattle, Brisbane, Madison and Sydney home for study and work as a journalist, travel writer and photographer. I specialize in adventure travel, social issues and interiors/architecture. Home is now an 1890s cottage in the Blue Mountains near Sydney. I traveled to my seventh continent last year – an action-packed expedition to Antarctica – and have memories galore of my travels. Snowshoeing in the Canadian Rockies, galloping with gauchos in Chilean Patagonia, trekking through Japan, and camel riding in Jordan are among the most memorable. My least favourite travel hiccup was being stranded in Cameroon when I should have been winging my way to Paris for a little me-time. You win some, you lose some.


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