Welcome to Nelson, the mountain bike capital of New Zealand and now the home of the NZ MTB Rally. We look forward to this inaugural event and are excited about what you will experience.

As well as the stunning scenery as you fly, drive, and of course, ride across Te Tauihu, the top of the South Island, you will also have an opportunity to feel our manaakitanga – a warm and generous welcome to a city that has a lot to offer.

Cycling is in Nelson’s DNA. We are proud to have more cycling commuters than anywhere else in New Zealand. That, along with the wealth of mountain bike tracks near the city centre, Tasman’s Great Taste Trail and other coastline tracks, make Nelson a must-do for cyclists.

It has been wonderful to be part of the development of mountain biking across New Zealand since the 1990s as the Minister of Conservation. I led changes from mountain biking being considered a road activity to be banned from national parks to a welcome new way in which to enjoy the great outdoors. It was great to be involved in developing iconic multiday enduro rides such as the Old Ghost Road, Paparoa Track and opening up the Heaphy in winter – all accessible from Nelson. It’s a logical step for Nelson City Council to be a major sponsor for the NZ MTB Rally.

We look forward to seeing you in March 2024. 

Hon Dr Nick Smith  Mayor of Nelson | Te Koromatua o Whakatū

Mayor Nick Smith 2022

Quintessentially Kiwi and with a pioneering gearbox-based design, there was only ever one option for our preferred weapon-of-choice.  Thousands of hours in the backcountry scoping out routes for The Rally mean we can attest first hand: if you want bombproof reliability paired with otherworldly suspension sensitivity and a near-silent ride experience, you need a Zerode.

And before you ask; no, the gearbox isn’t draggy; yes, it actually shifts easier and faster than a derailleur, and no, it doesn’t need any maintenance at all…not even oiling your chain (because it doesn’t have one).

We may be in one of NZ’s sunniest spots, but even here in paradise, it’s gotta rain sometimes. With Dirtlej, you’ve got no more excuses to keep getting out there, no matter the weather.  Innovative, MTB-Specific wet weather gear is Dirtlej’s speciality. But for our long hot summer days, we like to feel as cool as we look (yeah boi!) with Dirtlej’s patented drirelease® technology which feels like cotton but dries like synthetic.  Don’t just take our word for it; Dirtlej are kitting out all racers and crew with a custom NZ MTB Rally 3/4 sleeve jersey (included with your race entry).  

Now that’s worth a ‘Chur, Bro’ for sure!

Safety is one thing we don’t want to compromise at NZ MTB Rally and when we are pushing our limits deep in the backcountry, we want to feel both comfortable and confident in our safety gear.  When it comes to protection in action sports; POC have been the Gold Standard since as long as we can remember. 

Our crew of Doctors, Paramedics, Outdoor Guides and First-Aiders have got you covered if you get into trouble during The Rally.  And POC will have our crew kitted out with the protection they need for themselves; so they in turn can stay safe and be ready to help you, when you need them.  

POC have also provided several replacements for anyone unlucky enough to destroy their helmet in a crash during the race. So now, you might say every crash has a silver lining. Bravo, POC!

We’ve already hyped our region as having the best craft breweries.  Now we’re going to prove it to you.  McCashin’s; brewed right here in Stoke (Nelson) since 1981 and opened by none other than the then Prime Minister, this is seriously good drinking.  You’d better prepare your tastebuds for thirst-quenchingly-good times and as good a reason as any to finish the last stage in your quickest possible time  (…to get a cold one of these beauties into your hand!).  Craft Beers, Apple and Fruit Ciders, Ginger Beer and non-alcoholic options).  You like it? We’ve got it! Included with your entry, of course. Cheers, McCashin’s!

You can’t run a Heli-enduro without a Helicopter, that’s for sure.  Step-up Helicopters Nelson who have been the region’s premier operator since back when we were still running V-brakes and wearing body armour over the top of our lycra bib-shorts. These pilots have the skills to set you down safely on a narrow suspension bridge over a deep Gorge if they have to (but don’t worry, we’re not going to such extremes).  When they’re not flying luxury charter services and customised tours to some of NZ’s most stunning remote locations; they’re on call for NZ Fire and Emergency and responding to all manner of situations. We’ll be using two Airbus AS350 machines each with six leather-bound passenger seats and custom-made bike racks. So you’d best pack your favourite army camouflage and perfect your “GET TO DA CHOPPER”! action hero one-liners.

A family-owned business, Wilsons have been running cruises into the Abel Tasman Marine National Park since 1977.  Today, Wilsons offer a huge variety of family and adventure-based packages including kayaking, hiking, seal-watching with superb cuisine and overnight luxury lodge accommodation.  We’re literally ‘pushing the boat out’ with a one-off custom charter not available outside of The Rally in Wilsons’ 140-capacity ‘Vista” Catamaran luxury cruiser.

We’re going properly off-road, and our tracks can be steep, loose, and rough!  Not only that, we’ve got to haul 120 bikes around behind us.  Luckily, Houston Motor Group have just the tool for the job. The All-New Triton launches in NZ in early 2024, and with Houston representing Mitsubishi right here in Nelson, our timing couldn’t have been better. What an opportunity to showcase what this thing can do! A fleet of three Tritons will take the lion’s share of towing up to 30 bikes at a time, through all extremes of terrain and gradients over our full week of shuttling.   The Triton probably won’t even break a sweat (although you almost certainly will!)


THE NZ MTB Rally has been made possible only through the generous support of countless volunteers, professionals, landowners and local organisations that have worked together for years to make this region such an incredible place to visit and to ride bikes.   We’d especially like to thank Nelson City Council, Ngati Koata and all Iwi and ancestral landowners, Nelson Mountain Bike Club, Golden Bay MTB Club, Marlborough MTB Club, Tasman District Council, Kaiteriteri Recreation Reserve, The Department of Conservation, Wairoa Gorge Bike Park, Cable Bay Aventure Park, Blue Moon Lodge, Gravity Nelson, Helibike Nelson, Scottish Adventures, Wilsons Abel Tasman, Street Food on Washington, the Prince Albert Bar and Hotel, Marlborough District Council, Nelson Airport & Air New Zealand, Peak Safety, Any Mech & More, Belinda Crisp, Craig Skillicorn & Bryce, Martin Croft, Jeff White & FENZ, Andrew Norris & Andrew Stoddart, Jamie Roberts, Rebecca Leach,  Bare Kiwi, Jay French, Cam Mackenzie, Paul Jennings, Todd Couper, Daniel Eiermann, Dominic Blissett and all the talented media crew who have contributed to this project. Last but not least, all of our our 40-strong crew of talented volunteers & trail builders who bring our vision to life and work tirelessly behind the scenes, year-round.

NZ MTB Rallly single loop logo

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