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A self-supported bikepacking challenge the length of Aotearoa/ New Zealand
Distance 3010km      Vertical 44,500m
~ 55% paved, 45% unpaved

Starting in the Deep South at the summit of Bluff Hill/Motupōhue, the Shaky Isles Challenge weaves its way north through Aotearoa to finish on the beach of Spirits Bay/Kapowairua in the Far North. The route preferences gravel roads and combines these with paved roads and short sections of cycle trail and 4WD track to connect a journey through rural New Zealand.


Designed with a gravel bike* in mind, this is a fixed route bikepacking event that can be ridden at any time. Choosing to ride the route is your choice and your responsibility. Plan carefully and exercise due diligence. Registering a GPS tracker does not qualify you for any support, advice, insurance or assistance. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the gpx file, recent road changes or closures may not have been accounted for. So, if an error is found with the GPX track, you are expected to find a solution yourself to continue the Challenge. There will be no support once the ride starts. You can view an overview of the route here.


The next Grand Depart will take place at 8 am, 10 January 2025 at the summit of Bluff Hill. If taking part in the Grand Depart, there will be a gathering of riders on Thursday 9 January in Bluff at the Eagle Hotel from 5pm.


While you can ride the route anytime and in any style at your leisure, if you want to be recognised as having completed the Challenge you will need to sign up for tracking at Maprogress (here) and follow the Agreements below. If you are riding for glory of a fastest-known-time (FKT), record your effort independently (Strava, GPX) for verification.


There is no entry fee, however donating to a local cause will undoubtedly mean you have a tailwind on your journey north. A cause worth considering is the Bluff Hill Motupohue Environment Trust.


Be aware that the information on this page and the gpx files are the only information provided. Everything else you might need to know you will need to find out yourself; no route notes, no turn-by-turn cues will be provided. It's up to you to work it all out. 

*Note that while the route is 99% rideable, there is a section of the route that will require hiking.

The Agreements

In signing up to race the Shaky Isles Challenge and be tracked by Maprogess, you agree to:

1.  Ride the route without assistance from anyone else. This means no support crews, no pre drops and no help from other riders. It also means no assistance from mates when things go wrong, no visitation from friends, family* or other forms of outside support (See note 2).

2.  Use only services that are available to all riders and the general public (accommodation, food, bike shops etc).

3.  No drafting of other riders.

4.  Take full responsibility for your own safety and well-being. If you need rescue/ emergency assistance you need to sort it yourself. There is no event back up.

5.  Obey the road rules and remember that all roads are open to the public at all times. 

6.  Follow 100% of the course as defined by the gpx file. If you leave the course, you must re-join it where you left. Failure to follow the route for any advantageous distance (intentionally or unintentionally) will result in your tracker status being marked as "off route" and a DNF.

7.  Cross Cook Strait on one of the publicly available ferry services. No flying or private charters.

8. Don't bring the event into disrepute by undesirable behaviour. (eg not paying for camping, leaving rubbish.) Being a dirt bag is ok, but don't take it too far so that it reflects badly on the bikepacking community. 

*If on the off chance your friends or family decide to visit you, make it one-off and ask them to do so in a place where there are plenty of other folks around, rather than a remote spot. Keep in mind that some riders will have travelled from afar and don’t have the chance to get the benefit that visitation provides.

Riders Chat Facebook page. If you'd like to read about other riders experience there are stories here and here


You can view the route in ridewithgps here. If you need a hand sorting files for gpx devices, send me an email or download the file from RWGPS and split it to a usable size. 

Note: there have been a number of updates since January 2024. The route through west Auckland has a number of reroutes to accommodate current roadworks and will be revised prior to the next Grand Depart

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