December 15, 2016

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!

New Zealand Cycle Touring - Route Planning Maps

As I cycle around New Zealand I have designed cycle touring routes that avoid busy roads and include towns with camp sites. These maps are included below for the benefit of other cyclists. If you want some advice on the best routes for cyclists for the places you wish to visit just send me a message on the contact form bellow.

North Island - Te Awamutu to Taihape
I caught the bus from Auckland to Te Awamutu and then rode to Taihape on the following route.
Route from Te Awamutu to Taihape

This route goes from Te Awamutu to Taihape and goes via Mangakino, Tauramanui and Ohakune all towns that have camping facilities and are not on state highway one.

Cycle Touring in New Zealand - Recommended Northland Route - Northland - Wellsford to Whangarei

This route has been designed with the objectives of staying of State Highway one wherever possible and also so that the route includes most of the attractions that the north has to offer. To get to Wellsford from Auckland you ride from Auckland Central out on the north western bikeway and then up the west coast

The route goes up to Wellsford and then goes up the east coast to Mangawhai and Laings beach which is a spectacular coastline to ride up. The route then takes you across to Dargaville on the west coast using back roads.

Laings Beach

This route was designed by Kit O'halloran based on a ride that he did. He has included a short ride up the 90 mile beach but this can be left out by travelling on the road.
Make sure that you visit the Matakohe Timber museum which is interesting. He can advise further on accommodation and changes to the route if it is too long.

Matauri Bay

Cycling North from Auckland
When riding north from Auckland one of the main considerations is that the State Highway is a very busy narrow road and in places with minimal shoulders for cyclists.
The best strategy is to keep away from main highway one by going up the west coast. However there is one section,from Wellsford to state highway 12, which is a distance of 28 kilometres which is unavoidable.
When you travel this section make sure it is not a public holiday or a school holiday.

The recommended Northern route set out above involves taking a longer route up the East coast to Waipu Cove rather than riding on State Highway One for 28 kilometres.

Cycling South from the Coromandel to Tauranga

The State highway one from Waihi to Tauranga is a very busy stretch of road and you need to ride this section very carefully.
The map below sets out a route that does not go on the state highway 2 for the first part of the ride.

On state highway 2 into Katikati there is a shoulder which you can cycle on but great care must be taken as the road is used by a large number of trucks.

The road after Katikati into Tauranga is also very busy and there are three bridges that do not have a shoulder to cycle on. The strategy here is to wait until the road is clear of traffic before crossing these short bridges. We stayed in Katikati overnight and we were told that a large number of residents work in Tauranga so the road is always busy first thing in the morning which it was.

December 09, 2016

Cycle Touring New Zealand - Cycling around the Waikato Region

Rather than cycling through a region one alternative is to do rides from a central location within the region. We selected Te Awamutu as a central point in the Waikato region and we did four rides from this location. The total ride distance was 290 kilometres.

Once you leave the main roads in the Waikato the secondary roads are ideal for cycling with excellent surfaces and little traffic. One positive effect of the new Waikato expressway has been to reduce traffic on the secondary roads so that the roading infrastructure becomes more like the roading hierarchy in France where cyclists ride on secondary roads and do not go near motorways and there is also minimal local traffic.

The main Waikato geographical features include the Waikato River, Mount Pirongia in the west and Sanctuary Mountain in the East.. There is also a volcanic cone near Te Awamutu being Mount Kakepuku. The rides include some foothills so there are climbs and downhills included in the routes.

The Waikato region is a very green and fertile farming area and the four rides will take you around most parts of the region.

Waikato Day - One - From Hamilton to Cambridge and back in a round trip taking in Lake Karapiro.

This ride started and ended in the Hamilton gardens so we did this ride on the way to Te Awamutu.
The route uses quiet secondary roads with the most difficult part of the ride being getting in and out of Hamilton.
We visited Cambridge and Lake Karapiro and the Avantidrome which is just out of Cambridge on the route.

Waikato Day-One

The Cycleway between Cambridge and the Avantidrome

Waikato Day-Two

The day two ride goes from Te Awamutu to Otorohanga partly on the main road which has a high volume of large trucks and care has to be taken over this section.
There is a climb out of Otorohanga to Honikiwi and then there is a long downhill through a scenic and isolated valley.

Waikato Day-Three

Day three heads east from Te Awamutu towards Sanctuary Mountain and then goes to Cambridge which makes a good destination for a coffee stop.

Waikato Day Four

The final day involves taking a car from Te Awamutu to the starting point of the ride.
This was a very good days cycling with in the most part quiet and smooth roads. All of the routes would be very good for training on.


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