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Author Topic: Suggestions for bike touring in New Zealand  (Read 1701 times)

woollypigs

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Suggestions for bike touring in New Zealand
« on: April 15, 2010, 02:18:26 PM »
Hi

We are heading out to Australian and New Zealand in Oct/Nov this year. We will have cycling friends to guide us in Oz but we will be on our alone-some in NZ.

We are not scared of some hills and a bit of off road (e.g dirt track, hard packed gravel) and would rather be off the main roads. Can you lot recommend some cycling maps and route for the south island in New Zealand ?

We will have around 30 days and have found out that 30miles a day is our ideal touring distance. We will be starting in Christchurch and finishing there too. Not really keen on the tourist traps, as in we would cycle past a church and say it look nice but do not take the guided tour.

Anyone recommend some a nice remote location to see, campsites to use etc ?

Thanks
woollypigs
« Last Edit: July 07, 2011, 01:47:22 PM by Stephane »

Stephane

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Re: Suggestions for bike touring in New Zealand
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2010, 08:10:02 AM »
Hi Wooly, thank you for joining. I think you will love NZ, it is really a beautiful country.

The best maps for bicycle touring in NZ are by far the Pedaller's Paradise maps. They are made specifically for bicycle touring. They show pretty much every road and give locations with campgrounds, grocery stores, bicycle shops, etc. They also have great elevation charts, which is nice in NZ, as it is rarely flat. There is one map for the South Island and one for the North Island.

Here is my personal list of my favorite routes to ride on the South Island of NZ (Of course, I didn't ride every route out there - I inserted a picture to go along with each route ;D):

Queenstown to Te Anau: You will probably like this one. To be more accurate, it is from Mt. Nicholas on the southern side of the lake from Queenstown to The Key on route 94 east and not far from Te Anau. You have to take a nice (and affordable) ride on a steamboat from Queenstown to St Nicholas. No cars at all on this road. Very scenic, very quiet, you will pass a lake and tons of great camping spots. It is a mix of dirt roads and packed gravel. It is one my favorite routes in NZ. In Te Anau, you can hike the Kepler Track (a breathtaking 2- to 3-day hike that doesn't need to be booked months in advance).




Queenstown to Glenorchy: This is a one-way road so you will have to come back the same way. It takes you along the beautiful Lake Wakatipu to an area called Paradise where a lot of "Lord of the Rings" shootings took place.




Te Anau to Milford: The route is very scenic and Milford is really gorgeous. But it is also one of the most touristic towns in NZ.






Wanaka to Haast. Here is another breathtaking route. It will take you through a nice variety of landscapes, including along two beautiful lakes and many waterfalls. I would recommend staying in Hawea and not in Wanaka, where there is one of the nicest campgrounds I have ever seen.  It is called Lake Hawea Holiday Park. http://www.aatravel.co.nz/main/listing.php?listingId=69695




Wanaka to Lake Pukaki: Nice ride that will take you over the beautiful Lindi Pass.




Route 80: This route goes along Lake Pukaki to the foot of Mount Cook (highest mountain in NZ) in Mt Cook National Park. Unfortunately, it is also a one-way road so you have to do it twice.  But it is worth it, and it is not that long (1 easy day ride). Amazing view of Mount Cook, nice little hike at the foot of glaciers and the whole route is really stunning all the way.




Tekapo canal: to go from Lake Pukaki to Tekapo, you can avoid the main road by following the Tekapo Canal. Nice and quiet. A lot of wind, though.




Haast to Fox Glacier: Nice views. On this ride, you get to see the the sea once in a while. Nice hike at Fox Glacier (the glacier is one of only two on earth where you can see tropical forest at the foot of the glacier.).



Other routes that are known to be very scenic:

Southern tip of the island: Te Tua - Invercargill - Balclutha
Northern tip: Route 6 and 60


Not so nice: Ok, I gave a very optimistic view of the island because it is truly breathtaking. But there are also parts that are not so nice:

sand flies: they can be a real nightmare on the west coast
wind: very strong along the Tekapo canal
rain: Milford gets some of the heaviest rain on earth (but personally I think it is truly magical to see the zillions of waterfalls that start flowing in the fjord when it's raining)
hills: be prepared to have some good climbs (a tough one is on the shortcut between Queenstown and Wanaka via Cardrona)

I hope this helps.  Enjoy NZ and I wish you a lot of tailwinds  ;)


« Last Edit: July 07, 2011, 01:47:31 PM by Stephane »
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woollypigs

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Re: Suggestions for bike touring in New Zealand
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2010, 10:04:14 AM »
Thanks Stephane, that really helped us and given us lots to plan for. Wonderful pictures and we are looking so very much forward to this tour.

Yes I was looking at the Pedaller's Paradise maps right after I posted this :)

>sand flies: they can be a real nightmare on the west coast
Hmm I hope that DEET will be our friend. though  I have become used to be eaten by BB's (biting "barstewards") I tend to call myself others repellent.

>wind: very strong along the Tekapo canal
Well I grew up in Denmark, were we have a saying - In Denmark the wind is our mountains.

>rain: Milford gets some of the heaviest rain on earth (but personally I think it is truly magical to see the zillions of waterfalls that start flowing in the fjord when it's raining)
It is just a bit of water.

>hills: be prepared to have some good climbs (a tough one is on the shortcut between Queenstown and Wanaka via Cardrona)
We have been in training in Wales and have cycled up the Tourmalet in the Pyrenees though that one was not fully loaded.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2011, 01:47:48 PM by Stephane »

petervanglabbeek

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Re: Suggestions for bike touring in New Zealand
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2010, 10:48:14 AM »
When I was in New Zealand in 2004 the AA offices had great maps 1:300.000 for free. They show even most of the dirt roads.

I agree with Stephane that the road from Queenstown to Te Anau is one of the most beautiful roads in New Zealand.

Some other good cycling on deserted dirt roads:
-The Rainbow Road from Hanmer Springs to St. Arnaud in the north of the South Island (search google for info).
-Dansey's Pass in the south of the south Island, look for it on google maps.

Some other scenic passes: Lewis pass and Arthurs pass. Possible in one loop of about one week, starting and ending in Christchurch.

There are no climbs in New Zealand that comes close to the Tourmalet. The highest pass is about 1200m on the Cordrona road mentioned by Stephane. Arthurs pass has some 18% passages when you climb from west to east.

Wild camping is the best in New Zealand.

Peter
« Last Edit: July 07, 2011, 01:47:56 PM by Stephane »
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woollypigs

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Re: Suggestions for bike touring in New Zealand
« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2010, 12:55:01 PM »
Been (and still is) playing around with a route, around 2200 km which is around 73Km a day (45miles).

Click here to see route

Between B and C we will take which I think is the Rainbow road up and over Lewis Pass, into the Matakitaki River Valley. Between point F and G we will take the track along Lake Wanaka and between H and I we will take the route that Stephane talked about. Between I and K we might take a bus if we need to pick up time Between K and L we will follow the Otago rail trail. Between O and P we will take the Tekapo canal that Stephane talked about.

Do you think that this is doable for two medium fit cyclist over 30 days with 5 rest days ?
« Last Edit: July 07, 2011, 01:48:05 PM by Stephane »

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Re: 30 odd days in New Zealand
« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2010, 05:42:10 AM »
Nice pics Stephane.
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petervanglabbeek

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Re: Suggestions for bike touring in New Zealand
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2010, 12:41:06 PM »
Hello Woolly,
Honestly i think 2200km is too much for 30 days. But it is a wonderful ride that you have in mind.
I am sure you will enjoy this roads and if it turns out to be a bit too much you can always take short cut in the end.
Peter
« Last Edit: July 07, 2011, 01:48:15 PM by Stephane »
Peter van Glabbeek

Stephane

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Re: Suggestions for bike touring in New Zealand
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2010, 12:51:36 PM »
I agreee with Peter 2200km is way too much. And knowing Peter, believe if he tells you that, it is definitely too much. I like to plan 1000km per month it gives me enough room to visit places and extra time for unplanned stuff. I think 1500km should be the maximum planned otherwise, you will stress by the fact that you are behind schedule and endup biking wau more than you should. I met so many people who ended up to have a terrible experience for that exact reason. It is better to see less and enjoy it than see everything in the rush.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2011, 01:48:26 PM by Stephane »
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woollypigs

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Re: Suggestions for bike touring in New Zealand
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2010, 01:30:28 PM »
Thanks, I have looked at the route over the last few days and talked to others and have found 2-3 places where will be taking this bus for part of the route. That should cut the cycling down quite a bit.

« Last Edit: July 07, 2011, 01:48:38 PM by Stephane »

woollypigs

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Re: Suggestions for bike touring in New Zealand
« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2010, 09:57:30 AM »
We just got back from 35 days in New Zealand and many thanks to you lot for some ride ideas, we managed to cycle 730 miles (1200Km) and took the bus for 910 miles (1465Km). Definitely the best time to ride there is the low season from what we heard the locals tell us and what we saw.

We had wild camping, empty roads, earthquake, helicopter ride, swimming with dolphins, rain, snow, blue skies at 27c, glaciers rumbling in the night, broken wheel, sandflies, water falls, fall off a horse (not me), fall off a bike (not me again), clear night skies and absolutely stunning gorgeous views.

http://www.woollypigs.com/2010/10/across-new-zealand-christchurch-hokitika/
http://www.woollypigs.com/2010/10/the-west-coast-hokitika-makarora/
http://www.woollypigs.com/2010/10/to-the-centre-of-nz-makarora-queenstown/
http://www.woollypigs.com/2010/11/stepping-back-in-time-queenstown-te-anau/
http://www.woollypigs.com/2010/11/all-on-board-clyde-dunedin/
http://www.woollypigs.com/2010/11/back-inland-omarama-lake-tekapo/
http://www.woollypigs.com/2010/11/aller-retour-christchurch-akaroa/
« Last Edit: July 07, 2011, 01:48:48 PM by Stephane »