I have a trip to New Zealand booked for mid-Feb to mid-March 2015. My partner Jacki and I are planning on riding around 60km per day or so and camping mostly. Does anyone have any tips on routes from Auckland to Christchurch via Wellington. We may end up catching a train or bus part of the way if the time/distance becomes a bit too difficult for such a trip.
If your time is limited you may be better to cycle only in the South Island. Generally it is more scenic, less crowded and less hilly save for some very big ones.
That sounds like a good idea. I'll have a look at the options for a short trip in the north followed by a bus trip to Wellington then a ferry south.
i did the north island by bike last year. I took the ferry from Auckland to Coromandl, what is really a nice, beautyful and hilly part. Down to Tauranga, Opotiki, Gisbourne, Wairoa, Palmerston oNrth, from there I took the bus to Wellington, the Ferry to Picton to the south island, and cycled in the north of the south island.
I would recommend you to cycle in Coromandl!
If you have any questions, just aks!
Did you travel east towards Whitianga or south towards Thames from Coromandl?
Here's what I think you meant: http://ridewithgps.com/routes/5766674
I traveled east towards Whitianga, since I've been to Thames and Coromandl before(by bus). But the route (25+26) to thames you marked should be very beautiful as well and not that hilly! I skiped the east cape and took route 2 insinde the country. east cape is quite abandonment but nice to see and quite flat.
If you are limited then South Island only is the best option.
If you are set on the north then Coromandel is worth a cycle, especially right to the top and also inland to the Pinnacles for walking. We stuck west on the peninsula as the road was flatter, with fewer lorries and blind corners. There is a rail trail from Thames to Waihi (detour but worth it) and then down to Te Anau from Paeroa. From there we headed to Rotorua (just south actually) via Okoroire for geothermal fun, then Taupo for supplies before cutting across to SH30 via the park to the west of Taupo - really nice section.
The coast road from Waitomo down towards Waitara is great then there is a signed cycle route that takes you over the hills towards the Forgotten world highway which was a lovely stretch too. It is then a good cycle up to National Park and the volcanos from where you can then cut west towards the Whanganui river road which was another lovely lovely cycle. Then follow the coast road into Wellington. Cycle routes kick in about 60km or so before Wellington.
Have you camped in NZ before? Wild camping is exceedingly difficult but there are plenty of cheap DoC sites and other basic sites ranging from $NZ6-10 pppn with varying facilities. Some are free but think they are only in the South Island although the last one before Wellington may well be free too.
Enjoy. Rather jealous!
Thanks very much.
We're still deciding whether to spend equal time in the north and south or a short trip in the north and a longer period in the south. Everyone seems to be suggesting that the South Island is the best option so that's likely. Maybe we'll spend 10 days in the north and the rest in the south.
I had a look at the nzcycletrail.com site. That's brilliant. It shows the current touring routes, rail trails and paths.
The rail trail from Thames south with the detour is on the agenda already. I think we may just ride south as far as Palmerston North and then bus it to Wellington. That's about 850km and should take maybe 10 days or so.
I put together a tentative map of the route after looking at the nzcycletrail.com site http://ridewithgps.com/routes/5766674. It's just to give me an idea of how far we have to travel really, not a predetermined route.
You could cycle from Palmerston North over the Pahiatua Track and link onto Route 52 down to Masterton and Martinborough. Either catch the train into Wellington or cycle over the Rimutuka Rail Trail and into Wellington.
I cycled 6600km all over New Zealand in 2004. Most people always tell you that the south island is much better and more quiet. I think it depend on where you go. If you take good maps, at that time I got them for free in the AA (Automobile Association) you can even find some great dirt roads in the center of the north island. Also the east cape was a fantastic ride along quiet bays where almost nobody goes. I went down the east side of the northern island and it was all quiet and scenic. The Rimutaka Incline Railtrail was highlight and a great way to get near to Wellington.
The south island is a real gem. Highlights for me were the Marlborough Sounds, Lewis Pass, Arthurs Pass, Haast Pass and Mavora Lake area (dirt roads). Some roads I missed because they were closed from snowfall (April) were the dirt tracks north of Hanmer Springs. One goes from Hanmer Springs northeast and is first called Jollies Pass Road and later Awatere Valley road. Another one connects Hanmer Springs with the Nelson Lakes via Lake Tennyson. Some people call it the Rainbow Road.
Thanks for the reassurance. There is so much to see that we may need to make a second visit as soon as we can build up enough holidays. But then again there is New Caledonia, Vietnam, Europe, central Australia, Madagascar ... so much to do ... let alone our lovely little part of the world here where I live in the tropics.
My first idea was to plan nothing other than our starting and finishing point. Maybe we will just do that but have a few places in mind to try to get to. I reckon that if we just keep moving, keep away from the busiest roads and ramble around the countryside as we feel, then we will have a fantastic holiday no matter where we end up.