E-bikes are quickly becoming popular in New Zealand and it’s easy to see why: there are few better ways to explore the country’s colourful cities and breathtaking natural landscapes than via speedy, environmentally friendly, electric pedal power.
E-bike rentals and tours are popping up near all of New Zealand’s major cities and tourist attractions. To help you get out E-xploring, we’ve put together four of the most stunning New Zealand landscapes to explore via e-bike.
Urban exploration in Wellington
The extra oomph of an e-bike makes exploring Wellington’s hilly urban terrain easy. Queen’s Wharf is a great central place to start, and there’s a good e-bike rental shop, Switched On Bikes.
Head up the hill to Cuba Street, the heart of Wellington’s quirky cafe and bar scene. Fuel up with a flat white at Fidel’s then ride to the Mount Victoria lookout, where you can enjoy panoramic views from almost 200m above sea level.
Zoom back down to the waterfront where you’ll find New Zealand’s most-acclaimed museum, Te Papa. From there, you might want to hug the coast and zip along to Oriental Bay, a busy waterfront suburb, then continue along the seaside past Evans Bay to the Miramar Peninsula.
SUITABLE FOR: EVERYONE
Stay at the luxurious CQ Hotel on Cuba Street. It is one of the first hotels in New Zealand to offer discounted e-bike rental for guests, as well as bike storage should you need it.
Eat at Maranui Cafe on the other side of the Miramar Peninsula. This Wellington institution, set in an old surf lifesaving club on the beach, serves up Kiwi brunches and classic lunches with a side of sea views.
Alpine climbs in Wanaka
Wanaka is soaring, snow-capped mountains, glassy lakes and soulful small-town vibes. It’s the ideal place to explore via an e-bike tour with the team at Wanaka Bike Tours on Ardmore Street.
A favourite route is the Hawea to Wanaka track, a 30km ride suitable for all experience levels through one of Otago’s most breathtaking areas.
The adventure starts on the Hawea River Track, where you’ll enjoy an easy ride alongside the river banks with snowy mountain peaks visible at all times. The track splits off before joining the Clutha River, which you’ll follow until you reach its source, Lake Wanaka, where you’ll see the famous Wanaka Tree.
SUITABLE FOR: EVERYONE
Stay at Edgewater, right on the banks of Lake Wanaka. The views are unbeatable and there’s excellent cycling around the lake right at your front doorstep.
Eat at the Big Fig in the middle of town. This local favourite serves slow-cooked food fast with delicious sides and salads. Think 12-hour braised lamb with quinoa and locally brewed craft beer.
Coastal cruising in Kaikōura
At the northern tip of Canterbury, mountains cascade to a rocky shoreline. Here you’ll find a small town of about 2,000 residents, world-famous for having one of the most diverse marine ecosystems in the world – Kaikōura.
PureTrails does a fantastic e-bike tour through the region, starting at Christchurch and running along the coast through to Kaikōura. The first stop is Hanmer Springs, where you can head to the thermal hot pools and put your body at ease after a day’s cycling.
From there, you’ll head along the Pacific Coast Highway: a scenic, dramatic route where you’re likely to see seals on the shoreline. After winding along the coast for just over a day, you’ll arrive at Kaikōura.
SUITABLE FOR: MORE EXPERIENCED RIDERS
Stay at the Tree Houses at Hapuku Lodge. These timber structures offer luxury with a twist: built on stilts to sit 10m above the ground among the canopy of a native forest; a bedroom in the sky with views out over the Pacific Ocean and Kaikōura’s dramatic mountain ranges.
Eat at Nin’s Bin, just north of Kaikōura. Freshly caught crayfish and mussels are served from a little caravan at the roadside, with water views. Kaikoura means “eat crayfish” in te reo Māori so it seems only appropriate.
Country coasting in Whanganui
Whanganui is a quiet rural centre, known for its rich past as a base for both Māori and European settlers, which can be seen in the area’s many carefully maintained historic buildings.
Pick up your wheels from E Bikes Wanganui to discover the Whanganui River Road, which runs from Pipiriki (a tiny settlement up the river) all the way back to Whanganui. The trail runs through several small settlements such as Ranana (the Māori word for London) and Parikino, where you’ll see Māori pā and marae and get the chance to meet the locals.
This scenic route is all gentle hills, lush ferns and trickling rivers – perfect for a slow and relaxing day of cycling.
SUITABLE FOR: EVERYONE
Stay in a piece of Whanganui history – the Grand Hotel, built in 1926-1927 and located right in the town’s centre.
Eat at the Rutland Arms, a Whanganui institution which serves well-executed Kiwi staples such as steamed whole mussels in garlic and white wine sauce, served with sourdough.