Take a thrilling ride through two of the North Island’s national parks, following historic and diverse trails. The emerald lakes and volcanic peaks of Tongariro National Park inspired the setting of Mordor in the Lord of the Rings films, and the park’s otherworldly extremes and Maori spiritual significance have given it dual World Heritage status for both its cultural and natural importance. In Whanganui National Park, follow the Bridge to Nowhere into lush indigenous forest, coast over viaducts along the Old Coach Road, and cross wood, timber, and swing bridges. Skim the whitewater rapids of the Whanganui River (once called the Rhine of New Zealand) on a jet-boat ride to the final stage, ending at the North Mole where river meets ocean.
For an unusual overnight, trade your helmet for a cowboy hat at the Mellonsfolly Ranch where you’ll find an Old West atmosphere in a thousand acres of native New Zealand forest which be explored on mountain bike trails.