December 15, 2017

Cycle Touring in New Zealand

New Zealand Cycle Touring Routes

This blog includes details of the cycle touring routes that I have ridden over the past few years.
The objective of this blog is to provide cycle tourers with information on the best cycle touring routes in New Zealand.

From my experience there are different types of cycle tourists. Some are keen on achieving goals such as riding from the North Cape to the Bluff while others may concentrate on seeing the best scenic parts of New Zealand. Which ever group you fit in this blog should provide you with valuable information to enable you to plan your route.

Part of the enjoyment of cycle touring is riding on roads that have adequate shoulders or have low traffic volumes and the blog includes strategies to avoid busy roads that have high traffic volumes and inadequate provision for cyclists,

In planning your cycling route it is important to have an idea of what to expect on the ride and based on the old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words images of what you will see on the cycle routes have been included. The route descriptions are not intended to provide a turn by turn route description.

To give you a general idea of what to expect when cycling around New Zealand the links below show images and descriptions of some of the rides that I have done. I have included the Nevis and Molesworth rides in the South Island. These rides are on shingle roads and while the scenery is magnificent there are some significant climbs. You can stick to the tarmac and still see lots of great scenery.

Happy pedaling!

The New Zealand Great Rides App

The New Zealand Cycle Trails project has resulted in the creation of dedicated off-road cycle trails in both the north and south islands. Originally the cycle trails project was intended to create a continuous cycleway from the North Cape to Bluff but this was not realistic given New Zealand's topography.

 What has been created are cycleways in the regions and these projects have had a significant impact on both the local and national economies and no more so than for the struggling rural regions faced with declining populations. The cycle trails are located in some of the most scenic parts of New Zealand with accommodation and cafes along the way catering for all types of riders.

The good news is that there is now an app for both Android and  Apple IOS devices that provides detailed information and maps on each of the New Zealand cycle trails.   This is a well-designed app that is easy to read which is important when you are on your bike. You can download only the rides that you want to and all of the information that you will need to do the ride can be found in one place and is available to you while on the ride. You can find out all the essential things you need to know about each ride with the minimum of effort.

November 25, 2017

Cycling around Northland

 There are options for cycling around Northland. The first consideration is where to start the ride. If you are cycling up from Auckland I strongly advise against cycling up the main road to Whangerei as the carriageway is to narrow to provide a shoulder for bikes and the high volume of cars and heavy trucks. It is better to take an alternative route or to catch a bus from Auckland and to start your ride in Whangerei.
Route from Auckland North:

The first option to see Northland on a bike is to ride the Pou Herenga Tai Twin coast cycle trail which goes from the Bay of Islands to the Hokianga Harbour. Details of this ride can be found on the following link. It will give you a good taste of what Northland has to offer.

If you wish to see the whole of Northland then the following route will allow you to do this.

I have just completed a 750 kilometre ride around Northland that started in Whangerei and went up the east coast and then to Cape Reinga and then went down the west coast to Dargaville. From there we cycled back to Whangerei. There are some big hills to ride up but there are some great beaches and places to stay on the route.

On the first day from Whangerei to Whangaruru we went on a back country route which avoided the main road.  It was shingle which can be difficult to ride on.

If you stay at camping grounds these usually have choices of camp sites and huts which are ideal for cycle touring. On the second day we headed to Kerikeri a distance of 76 kilometres and on the following day we rode to Matauri Bay. This is a great beach with a camping ground on the foreshore. There was big hill out of Matauri Bay as we headed to Cable Bay via Russell and Waitangi.

Matauri Bay
There is a spectacular coastline to ride along and there are some big hills. We then rode out to the Karikari Peninsula which is a very worthwhile optional side trip. From there we went to Awanui on our way up to Cape Reinga.

Cape Reinga is the place to start if you are doing an New Zealand end to end cycle ride.

After you have reached the top it is time to head down the west coast to Dargaville and there some very interesting places and towns to visit. You need to catch the ferry from Kohukohu to Rawene. Opononi is a very attractive seaside town. On the way down this coast again there are some big hill climbs.

 We rode the 82 kilometres from Dargaville on back roads wherever possible to avoid the traffic.

This round trip while fairly demanding because of the hills was a excellent cycle touring route provided you have sufficient time to enjoy the towns and beaches that you visit. It is best done at a leisurely pace.

My Northland Ride Video:

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