A Custom Cycle Tour Of The Catlins

Rachel Lamb has covered a large portion of New Zealand by bike, including the Tour Aotearoa – the 3000km brevet from Cape Reinga to Bluff. Back in February, she toured the Catlins with Natural High and friends. 

Located in the southeastern corner of the South Island, the Catlins is an area of stunning natural beauty – from magnificent coastal cliffs and long sweeping beaches, to rainforests, hidden waterfalls and rolling farmland. Here, Rachel tells us a bit about her trip.

What was your favourite place?
The whole of the Catlins is a treasure trove for nature lovers with spectacular scenery everywhere. If I had to pick one spot as my favourite it would have to be Curio Bay. We witnessed two spectacular sunrises and were fortunate enough to be there when the conditions were perfect for learning to surf. Before getting on our bikes for the day, we took part in a two-hour surf lesson and while we were out there five Hector’s dolphins joined us. Amazing.

How would you describe the riding?
The riding is generally easy but there are a few hills that you need to go over. The other element that can be a factor is the wind – the Catlins is quite exposed so you can encounter headwinds which add to the challenge.

What do you love most about travelling by bike?
I love to walk but I love to cycle even more as you can go so much further and see so much more.

What types of accommodation did you stay in? Is there anywhere you’d especially recommend?
We stayed in very comfortable accommodation in some lovely spots. The waterside cabins at Pounawea stood out as did our accommodation at Whistling Frog Resort.

What bikes did you use for your tour? Did you feel they were a good fit for your journey and why? 
We used mountain bikes for our trip which were great – there wasn’t a lot of off-road cycling but they were good on the gravel roads.

Anything else you’d like to mention?
There are so many little side trips you can do in the Catlins – walks to waterfalls, lighthouses and old saw milling spots. I would recommend incorporating as much of those into your trip as possible. Curio Bay was just magical and I would highly recommend at least getting in the water there and hopefully swimming with the dolphins. You can also find the petrified forest at Curio Bay which is very interesting.

Rachel’s trip was custom-designed to suit her group. Want to chat about a custom tour of your own? Drop us an email today.

Have a great week,

Images: Courtesy of Rachel Lamb.