Over the past 8 months we’ve travelled many regions in the New Zealand South & North Island, taking our ‘Trusty Rusties’ with us. Leisure cycling in New Zealand is easy and a great alternative form of transport. In the past 5 years, New Zealand has established wonderful new cycle trails. These are mainly packed gravel tracks through scenic spots in the countryside.
For international visitors, New Zealand cycling is a popular way of staying active while travelling and using all senses to explore our beautiful countryside. No engine noise, just a symphony of birds, smelling the sea and a sense of joy at the freedom of it all.
Most international travellers won’t arrive with their own bikes, but this can be a great advantage. Firstly, many hotels, lodges & B&B’s now have complimentary bikes available or for a minimal rental. They also provide helmets which are compulsory under New Zealand law. All you need is a good rain jacket, comfortable cycle pants and cycle shoes.
A second alternative is to rent a bike from a local bike shop or a dedicated cycle trail operator specialising in self-guide or fully guided biking. So what’s included? You’ll get your rental bikes, equipment, a location map, plus local advice. Wait, there’s more! You’ll also get a drop-off and pick-up service, either at the beginning or the end of your cycle day tour. How cool is that? There are a number of regions perfect for cycling in New Zealand (with not too many hills, unless you’re into serious mountain biking) Here’s five cycle region with a superb network of cycle trails:
Great Taste Cycle Trails. Travel from Nelson to the Abel Tasman National Park. There are some hills in between, as well as a short boat transfer. It all depends which area along the coast you wish to cycle. If you’re keen to cycle, staying in the Mapua region would work out best.
West Coast Wilderness Trail
Some parts in the Lake Kaniere area are simply stunning and an absolute joy to explore with a bike. Imagine cycling along historical water races and thru lush rainforest.
Our friends Jan & Stephen at “The Breakers B&B” know all the trails in the region, so if you stay with them, you’re “sorted”!
Lake Wanaka, Queenstown and Central Otago – this area has LOTS of outstanding cycle trail options to offer… in the Wanaka region 750 km alone!
Most people know about the Central Otago Rail Trail, plus in the Arrowtown + Gibbston Valley, superb trails have now been build.
In and around New Plymouth there is a superb cycle and walking network along the coastline. Be sure to spend more time to include this beautiful, yet less travelled part of New Zealand.
We recently stayed in the Cape Kidnappers region and were totally impressed by how well built and maintained the trails around Hastings and Havelock North were. Combined with some outstanding vineyards, it’s the perfect combo!
Hopefully this brief overview will provide you with some idea on how you can leisurely cycle New Zealand during your vacation and travel New Zealand by immersing yourself in it’s environment.