The full trail is most commonly ridden from the mountains to the sea, i.e. from Ohakune to Whanganui city. Shuttle transport services both ends, but you can also arrange pick-ups and drop-offs in other places to skip certain sections or transfer you to accommodation off the trail.
Bike tour operators can also help you with logistics for day rides, commonly ridden as ‘hub and spoke’ meaning that you base yourself in one place and venture out on day trips – a great option for families who want to put cycling at the heart of their holiday
Note that none of the Mountains to Sea transport operators provide scheduled services; what’s more, many pick-up and drop-off points are remote and out of cellphone range. These factors make advance booking essential. This includes the Whanganui jet boat trip, a popular excursion not only for cycle trail riders but also general sightseers exploring Whanganui National Park – the Bridge to Nowhere tour is a must-do visitor activity, and very popular in peak season (Dec–Mar).
The main bases for mountain biking services are Ohakune, National Park village and Raetihi. Taumarunui is also a great option with close proximity of both the Mountains to Sea and Timber Trail Great Rides.
Not far away, Taupō and Rotorua are also hotspots for mountain biking and off-road cycle tours. Some companies offer guided and independent trips around multiple Great Rides, with Auckland a popular departure point.
Trail head car parks are well signposted from major highways. Secure parking is widely offered by accommodation providers.