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Special Interest

New Zealand offers cycling trails for a variety of cycling levels and experiences. Our activity promotes cycling as 'Naturally breathtaking' - given the trails' easy access and closeness to nature, national parks and constantly-changing scenery.


The mostly off-road 23 Great Rides of the New Zealand Cycle Trail, known as Nga Haerenga (the journeys), cater to both recreational cyclists and passionate mountain bikers. 

Easily accessible trails run near most cities and towns in New Zealand, while detours along the way allow opportunities to enjoy many other off-the-bike attractions on offer - meaning visitors travel more widely and experience more while they are here.

What do we know about this sector of travellers?

  • Between 2008-2012, 318,000 international tourists participated in cycling sports.

  • 54.2 per cent participated in on-road cycling, 45.8 per cent in mountain biking and 4.2 per cent in both.

  • Annually around 4 per cent of international holiday visitors do some sort of cycling sports while visiting New Zealand.

  • On average, cycling tourists spend more on their visit - $3800 compared with $2,500.[1]

  • There is a significant high value segment in the cycling market with 22 per cent of international cycling tourists saying they spend over $5,500 on their visit to New Zealand.

  • International cycling visitors tend to be most interested in adventure tourism activities during their stay in New Zealand.

  • Markets that provide the most cycling tourists include Australia, UK, USA and Germany.

Tourism New Zealand has undertaken in-depth cycling and mountain biking research, which can be accessed here.

Who are we targeting?

  • Recreational cyclists aged 45 and over from Australia, UK, USA and Germany who view nature/scenic attractions as key reasons for travel. These visitors are generally well-travelled, financially secure and very keen to experience other activities alongside their cycling experience.
  • Mountain biking enthusiasts aged 25-40 from Australia who are looking for new challenges and thrills. These visitors generally travel in small groups and may seek extra adrenaline filled, competitive activities to complement their mountain biking experience.

Key insight and our points of difference

These visitors want a real, honest and up close experience with the country they visit. New Zealand's points of difference are:

  • Accessibility (easy access to natural environments)

  • Diversity (of the trails and the landscape)

  • Proximity (to other activities, towns and cities)

  • People (friendly locals)

Key barriers

The key barrier for both target audiences is top of mind awareness of New Zealand.

  • For the recreational cyclist there are many other great cycling destinations that are better known, such as France, Canada and the USA.

  • For the avid mountain biker, although they are aware of New Zealand's offering, they also have many other established mountain biking destinations to choose from, such as France, Canada and the USA.

Therefore, the goal is to inspire cyclists to make New Zealand a must cycle holiday destination by increasing our awareness and popularity.

Who are we working with?

The New Zealand Cycle Trail Network (NZCT) are custodians of the cycling trails brand and act as an advocate and liaison for Tourism New Zealand when interacting with other Regional Tourism Organisations and Cycle Trail Organisations.

NZCT are currently working with TNZ to attract international visitors by developing awareness of New Zealand as a cycling destination through marketing and advertising channels. As part of the partnership, the cycling hub on newzealand.com has direct links to the NZCT website, furthering integration through our digital channels and benefiting both parties. This partnership with NZCT is important for TNZ as the collaborative effort enhances cycling tourists' preference of New Zealand as a cycling destination. This is especially valuable because these new cycle trails have given New Zealand a compelling and competitive offering in order to compete on a global scale. TNZ is focusing on promoting these cycle trails to increase visitor numbers.

See New Zealand's cycling and mountain biking offering on newzealand.com.

[1] This average spend figure is based on a five year average calculated between 2008‒2012.