I'm new to this community and relatively new to cycle touring!
In a few weeks I fly over to Dunedin where I'm going to un-box my bike and ride ride all the way up to Auckland over the period of a month. The plan is to ride about 70k a day and free camp as much as possible.
I have uploaded an image with all the expected stops. If you tourers have any suggestions of places to go or avoid, it would be greatly appreciated!
I'm not sure what you expect to see from days 1-7 but we found this part of the country rather boring compared with elsewhere. The Catlins coast south of Dunedin is scenic but would not be enough to warrant a special visit by itself. Consider cycling to Mosgiel and catching the train to Middlemarch and cycling to Queenstown via the Kawerau Gorge. You could do the Otago Rail Trail along the way or keep to the roads.
Days 7-19 are following the typical cycle tourist routes.
Your days 20-22 are mostly on SH1, very busy and very boring but this may be the only way since you are trying to cover too much of the country in too little time. This means you will have to take busier, less scenic routes. Be aware of freecamping being restricted in some regions and is being looked unfavourable by many locals, especially if you do not have toileting facilities available.
I HAVE been uming and arring about riding through the Catlins because it does seem a bit unimpressive - compared to the rest of the country.
The main reason for it was the bragging rights of having ridden from the very bottom of NZ (slope point) to Auckland.
I hear the central Otago Rail trail may be more suitable and will also allow me to take more time with the rest of the country.
Oh! I forgot to add in the first post that I am no stranger to bicycles! I have ridden/raced MTB for years and have been a bicycle mechanic as my part time job whilst I was at Uni.