Looking for New Zealand Bike Rental? We’ve Got You Covered

Natural High Bike Rental
Looking for New Zealand bike rental this summer? At Natural High, we stock a huge selection of touring bikes, hybrids, road bikes and mountain bikes, as well as cycling accessories and children’s bikes. Here’s a quick-start guide to choosing the right bike to suit your adventure.

Biking adventure #1: Multi-day road cycle tour
We recommend: the Cannondale Touring T2.
The cream of our touring fleet, this is a proven and reliable trek bike. Front and rear racks mean you can carry lots of gear and still cover ground fast.

Biking adventure #2: Daytrips, city biking and easy trail riding
We recommend: the Schwinn Sierra (for men) and the Schwinn Sierra Step-Thru (for women).
This fun, comfortable and stylish hybrid bike is designed to handle a wide range of terrain from pavement to gravel trails. A rear rack can be fitted on request.

Biking adventure #3: Exploring a cycle trail like the Otago Rail Trail
We recommend: the Specialized Hardrock Sport 29er.
With powerful disc brakes and a bump absorbing suspension fork, this bike delivers a stable and comfy ride.

Biking adventure #4: Rough, tough terrain

We recommend: the Specialized Camber 29er.
Experienced trail riders and full-suspension converts look no further – the Camber 29er strikes the perfect balance between pedalling efficiency and handling capability.

Biking adventure #5: Road races, training
We recommend: the Avanti Giro.
With its light alloy frame and carbon fork, this bike comes ready for any road challenge. We also offer the Avanti Vitale 3.0, which is designed specifically for women.

Biking adventure #6: Family fun
We have a range of cycles for little ones, including tagalongs and trailers.

Check out our full range of bike rentals or get in touch to book a bike today.

Have a great week,
Andrew Hunt


Self-Guided Catlins Cycle Tour: Not For The Faint-Hearted

self-guided catlins cycle tourRight at the very bottom of the South Island is the Catlins – a wild, rugged and remote region full of intriguing wildlife, history and scenery. If you’re searching for a tough tour that will test your fitness to the max, this self-guided route is for you.

This tour takes you from Dunedin to Invercargill (or vice versa). The first day gives you the option to explore the beautiful Otago Peninsula with a visit to the Albatross colony on Taiaroa Head.

Day two sees you bidding farewell to Dunedin and following the coastline south to Milton. Your journey weaves in and out of bays and headlands and around the edge of the Otago Coast Forest before a fast descent into Milton.

Day three takes you south across the mighty Clutha River to meet the coast at Kaka Point. You’ll then backtrack over the Karoro Creek towards Owaka. By day’s end you’ll arrive at Surat Bay for a walk on the beach. For those not wanting to cycle so far, there are options to stay in Kaka Point or Owaka.

Day four to Curio Bay involves lots of climbing, but the route is interspersed by a number of side trips to visit waterfalls, caves and bays which breaks up the riding and makes for an interesting journey. There is accommodation dotted along the way and specifically at Papatowai, if you’d prefer to break the ride up into two days, or you are travelling from Kaka Point. Curio Bay is famous for one of the world’s finest “petrified” or fossil forests. Make sure you’re settled into the lookout on the south shore an hour before sunset, to see the yellow eyed penguins waddling ashore.

Day five is a shorter day in terms of cycling distance, but allows you plenty of time to visit the fossilised forest, see the dolphins in Porpoise Bay, walk to Slope Point (the southernmost point of the South Island) and visit the historic lighthouse and shipwreck site at Waipapa Point.

The last day of your Catlins tour takes you northwest across the flat Awarua Plains to Invercargill. There is the option to visit Bluff, New Zealand’s southernmost town, which will double the day’s cycling distance.

Like all self-guided tours, your schedule is completely up to you. Add in more days to fully discover each area or break the riding into more manageable distances.

The remote nature of this tour means it’s suitable only for fit riders with cycle touring experience and the ability to ride five to eight hours per day with significant climbing on gravel roads. You will need to carry your own food and water as the distances between towns are large, and you will need basic bike maintenance skills to repair your own punctures.

This self-guided Catlins cycle tour includes:

  • Rental of a Rockhopper or Crosstrail fitted with pannier rear racks
  • Rear panniers
  • Cycle helmet
  • Bike computer
  • Full repair gear
  • Tour briefing
  • Detailed map and route information
  • Accommodation suggestions

Got questions? Ready to book? Send me an email.

Have a great week,
Andrew Hunt


Cycling McCaw Country: Tour The Home Town Of the All Blacks Captain on the Alps 2 Ocean Trail

cycling mccaw country on the Alps 2 Ocean Trail

He’s the man of the moment: a two-time world champion with 147 test caps and a 88 per cent winning percentage. We’re talking of course, about All Black captain Richie McCaw.

If you’ve been gripped by this year’s Rugby World Cup and want to dig deeper into the McCaw legend don’t miss our six-day guided Alps 2 Ocean tour – it runs right through Richie’s home town of Kurow.

Sitting on an isolated stretch of State Highway 83 between Omarama and Oamaru, Kurow is real New Zealand rugby country. After spending some time here, you’ll understand why McCaw is the tough, relentless force of nature he is.

As part of your cycle tour, you’ll get to spend an evening exploring Kurow: pop for a pint at McCaw’s local, admire the 4.8m high image of the man himself on the main street or head to the local Pasquale vineyards to sample the local vintage.

Of course, this tour isn’t just about rugby. Other highlights of the Alps 2 Ocean trail include:

Lake Tekapo
By day, the turquoise blue waters of Lake Tekapo glisten against a backdrop of snow-capped mountains. By night, the Milky Way lights up the sky. Thanks to minimum light pollution and crystal-clear air, this region is one of the best in the world for stargazing. While in Tekapo, you’ll have the opportunity to visit the famous Church of the Good Shepherd and relax in the local hot springs.

Aoraki Mt Cook National Park
New Zealand’s highest peak is an impressive sight. You’ll spend a morning enjoying a visit to the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre or the local Department of Conservation centre.

Black Stilt Recovery Centre
Enjoy a visit to the Black Stilt Recovery Centre to learn about one of New Zealand’s most endangered bird species. Black stilts are under pressure from lupins, an invasive plant species, as well as foraging rats and hedgehogs who attack their nests.

Omarama
Known as “Place of Light” to Maori, in reference to its extraordinarily pure and clear sky. This region is also famous for gliding.

Maori rock art
You’ll have the opportunity to visit the Maori Rock Art Centre to see the most significant collection of ancient Maori rock art in New Zealand. A little further along, stop to admire the unusual rock formations known as Elephant Rocks.

Oamaru
There’s plenty to see and do in this intriguing town, including visiting the yellow eyed penguin colony or wandering through the Victorian historic precinct with its period costume shops and whiskey tasting opportunities!

Scenic cycling
Sweeping tussock lands, beautiful canal rides and spectacular southern lakes – this is South Island scenery at its best. Average daily distances are around 40-50km and the cycling is largely easy-going – making it the perfect route for those new to cycle touring.

What’s included with this tour:
The Alps 2 Ocean tour is available through to April 2016. Head here for exact dates. The tour costs $1765 NZD per person, which includes:

  • Five nights of three-star, twin share accommodation.
  • Five breakfasts, six lunches and four dinners.
  • Support vehicle.
  • Luggage transfer for lightweight touring.
  • Knowledgeable, friendly tour guide.
  • Entry to DOC Stilt Recovery programme.
  • DOC fees.

See full details of the tour here:
www.naturalhigh.co.nz/alps-2-ocean-tour/

To book, simply send me an email.

Have a great week,
Andrew Hunt

Image: СНΛЯАKΛ


Five Reasons to Cycle Tour New Zealand This Summer

Five Reasons to Cycle Tour New Zealand This SummerStunning scenery, lifelong memories, improved health and wellbeing. There’s plenty of reasons to cycle tour New Zealand this summer. Here’s our top five….

Make your friends green with envy
Laid back cruising along quiet country backroads. Bubbling hotpools and starry night skies. Jaw-dropping, picture-postcard scenery. There’s no two ways about it – cycle touring in New Zealand is going to give you way better holiday stories than your mates.

Learn to slow down
Most of us live life at a million miles an hour, which isn’t always healthy. Biking forces you to slow down, to be more mindful, to notice things you simply wouldn’t spot on other forms of transport – all of which can have a huge impact on your health and wellbeing.

Immerse yourself in everything New Zealand has to offer
New Zealand is a country that demands to be experienced. Yes, you can admire the beauty of a high alpine peak from the window of a tour bus or a hire car, but pedalling up it will leave you with a far deeper sense of appreciation and wonder – not to mention a huge sense of achievement. Biking immerses you in everything – the views, the sounds, the smells, the people – and as a result you’ll come away with a greater understanding of this incredible country.

Skip the hassle
Guided cycle tours are designed to make the cycle touring experience easy. Your route and itinerary will be provided by your tour guide, who’ll be cycling alongside you at all times. A support vehicle will always be close by to give you a rest from the saddle or shuttle you up the steep bits, and your luggage will be delivered to your hotel room. You pick the destination and dates, we’ll take care of the rest.

Feel like a kid again
Riding a bike is fun. Whether you’re whizzing down a mountain or cruising the flats there’s something infinitely freeing about pedal power. Time to jump in the saddle and reconnect with your inner child.

Ready to start investigating a cycle touring holiday? Not sure where to start? Check out this recent article:
Three Easy New Zealand Cycle Tours that are Just Perfect for Newbies

Have a great week,
Andrew Hunt


Central Otago Rail Trail Tours

Central Otago Rail Trail Tours
There’s something wonderfully nostalgic about cycling old rail trails and the Central Otago Rail Trail with its intriguing history, breathtaking scenery and warm southern hospitality offers many compelling reasons to ride.

For newbie riders, the trail makes a particularly great introduction to cycle touring since the terrain is relatively flat and easy-going.

We offer two types of Central Otago Rail Trail tours: an all-inclusive guided tour or a completely flexible self-guided tour. Read on for all the details…

Guided Central Otago Rail Trail Tours
If you’re looking for a fully-supported adventure with accommodation, meals and luggage transfer all taken care of, choose one of our guided Otago Rail Trail tours. We offer a five-day Christchurch to Christchurch tour or a five-day Queenstown to Christchurch tour.

Both tours offer the complete rail trail experience; 150 kilometres of changing landscapes, high country sheep stations, river gorges, tunnels and viaducts. You’ll explore small towns and abandoned gold diggings, sample delicious fare at local cafes and try your hand at curling (bowls on ice). You’ll also enjoy a ride on the famous Taieri Express – considered one of the world’s great train journeys.

Self-Guided Central Otago Rail Trail Tours
Want to ride the trail at your own pace? Then our brand new self-guided tour is for you. This provides you with detailed route maps and top-quality bike gear but gives you the freedom to organise your days as you please. Add on extra days and stay longer at a destination that tickles your fancy…or combine two days into one for a faster, more challenging journey. It’s completely up to you!

What’s included with a self-guided Otago Rail Trail Tour:

  • Rental of a Specialized Hardrock 29er or Specialized Pitch 650b mountain bike fitted with rear panniers, bike computer and full repair gear.
  • Detailed route maps and itinerary suggestions to make exploring as easy as possible.
  • Accommodation suggestions. We provide you with a list of recommended motels, backpackers, B&B’s and campsites along your route. You make your own bookings to suit your timeframe.
  • Bike transfer of your rental bike to and from Dunedin and/or Queenstown.

Like to know more about these tours? Ready to book? Send me an email.
Have a great week,
Andrew Hunt


New Zealand Wine Tours: Discover Our Most Under-the Radar Vineyards – By Bike

new zealand wine tours by bikeNew Zealand wine tours – by bike!

Nestled in the lee of the Southern Alps, 40 minutes north of Christchurch, are the vineyards of the Waipara Valley. Aromatic grape varieties such as pinot noir, riesling, pinot gris and gewürztraminer thrive in the cool climate of this region and the valley is fast establishing itself as one of the premium wine producing areas of New Zealand.

Right now, the Waipara Valley is still very much an insider-secret. Which is why we’re thrilled to be able to offer you two cycling tours that take in this undiscovered region.

Five Day North Canterbury & Marlborough Cycle Tour
Spectacular southern scenery, spa soaks and sublime wine are all on the menu on this easy ride through the picturesque Canterbury landscape.

You’ll set out from Christchurch and spend your first evening in the Waipara Valley (wine-tasting by the side of a pool, to be exact!) Day two sees you on the road to Hanmer Springs, home to thermal hot pools and excellent restaurants. The back country beckons on day three when you cycle through the Molesworth Station, New Zealand’s largest farm. After a night in the shearers’ quarters of a merino sheep station, you’ll follow the river down the beautiful Awatere valley to emerge in vineyards alongside the sparkling Pacific Ocean. You’ll overnight in Kaikoura, where you’ll have numerous opportunities to view whales, dolphins and albatross, before returning to Christchurch via the spectacular inland Kaikoura road.

This tour is available from December through to April 2016. Head here for exact dates. The tour costs $1565 NZD per person, which includes:

Four nights of 3-star, twin share accommodation.
All breakfasts, four lunches and three evening meals.
Support vehicle.
Luggage transfer for lightweight touring.
Knowledgeable, friendly tour guide.
DOC fees

Riding ability: Grade: 2. Moderate.
Book this tour today.

One-day Waipara Wine Tour
Short on time? Join us for a one-day tour of the Waipara Valley. The riding is easy, the scenery delightful and the wine tastings plentiful.

Tour includes:
Hybrid bike and helmet, hotel pick up and transport to and from Waipara. Morning coffee, wine tastings at any of four cellar doors (which could include Pegasus Bay, Torlesse, Waipara Springs, Greystone and Black Estate), and a delicious antipasto lunch platter. 10am pick up from your central Christchurch accommodation, drop off by 5.30pm.

Tour excludes:
Wine purchases, alcoholic drinks with lunch, optional coffee at your final cellar door.

Pricing details:
$275 per adult for 1-2 adults.
$240 per adult for groups of 3 or more.
Duration: 6-7 hours.
This tour will run daily after 26 October.
Book this tour today.

Like to know more about these tours? Send me an email.

Have a great week,
Andrew Hunt


Three Easy New Zealand Cycle Tours that are Just Perfect for Newbies

easy new zealand cycle tours for newbiesIf you’ve never undertaken a cycle tour before, you might feel a little apprehensive about signing up for several days in the saddle. Will it be hard work? Will you make it to the end? What if you don’t feel like cycling one day?

Don’t worry – our cycle tours are designed to offer complete flexibility from the day you set out to the day you reach your final destination. If you feel like having a day off from the bike, let us know what you’d prefer to do instead and we’ll organise it for you. If you feel like you need a breather during the day, we’ll summon the shuttle to your side. As for whether it’ll be hard work, we recommend you find your touring legs by choosing one of our easier tours. These offer laidback, relaxing cycling with lower daily distances and fewer hills. Here are three easy, New Zealand cycle tours that are just perfect for newbies:

5 Day Cycle Tour Wellington Harbour to Greytown
Right on the doorstep of Wellington – the coolest little capital in the world – is the Wairarapa, a region of rugged coastline, beautiful bush and interesting townships. This tour winds its way from the head of Wellington harbour to the charming Victorian town of Greytown, taking in the wild beauty of Palliser Bay and the genteel vineyards of Martinborough along the way. Smooth, gentle riding makes this route particularly suited to newbie cyclists or families.

5 Day West Coast Wilderness Trail
Discover the enthralling history and dramatic scenery of the South Island’s West Coast. This tour follows a 140km graded trail through dense rainforests, glacial rivers, lakes and wetlands, offering five days of leisurely cycling, sightseeing, cultural experiences and fine dining. You’ll visit the historic goldmining town of Ross, experience the many delights of Hokitika and pay a visit to a local carver of Pounamu (greenstone).

6 Day Alps to Ocean Cycle
This is the longest continuous ride in New Zealand, descending over 2000 ft from the lofty heights of Mount Cook to the coastal town of Oamaru. Along the way drink in the stunning beauty of the Mackenzie Country, bathe in the Lake Tekapo hot pools under one of the best night skies in the world, get up close with majestic Mt Cook and wander the Victorian Quarter in Oamaru.

Got any questions about these tours or cycle touring in general? Ready to book? Send me an email today!

Have a great week,
Andrew Hunt


Fancy Your Very Own Personal Tour Guide?

andyThis week I’m out on the Alps 2 Ocean trail with a group of long-term clients. This is their fourth trip with Natural High and to celebrate they’ve let me design them their very own custom tour.

So I’ve put together an exciting itinerary which blends all the standard goodness of the Alps 2 Ocean trail – stunning scenery, big skies and wide open spaces – with plenty of unexpected twists and turns!

Naturally the signature Natural High touring experience applies too: top-quality bikes, tasty snacks all ready and waiting at refuelling breaks, support vehicle always on hand, top-notch accommodation and plenty of fun and laughter.

I absolutely love showing visitors around New Zealand. When I’m planning a custom tour I obsess over the details: what insider secrets can I include? What cafes have the most delicious coffee and muffins? Where are the best hotpools? (Got to have hotpools on a cycle tour.)

I’ve been leading tours around the North and South Islands for years now, and I love it as much today as I did when first starting out. It’s a pretty special feeling knowing I’ve helped give people holidays they’ll remember forever.

I’m thinking of running an Andy special in March – possibly the Rainbow Range…or even harder! This will be a challenging tour for experienced, fit riders who want tough terrain and everything taken care of. Expect a few surprises thrown in along the way too! Email me if you’d be interested in learning more. And if you want me to custom-build a tour just for you – get in touch. I’d be happy to help.

Have a great week,
Andrew Hunt


New! One-Day Cycle Tours Around Christchurch

one-day-tours You can pack a lot into a day! Our new range of day tours around Christchurch are overflowing with everything that makes this region great: stunning scenery, quiet country roads and delicious food and drink. Which one will you choose?

WAIPARA WINE TOUR
Uncork the pleasures of the Waipara Valley, a region well-known for its award-winning aromatic wines and spectacular views of the Southern Alps. This tour offers relaxed, easy riding along an off-road cycle trail and quiet country roads, with leisurely stops for an antipasto lunch and wine tastings along the way.

Tour includes:
Hybrid bike and helmet, hotel pick up and transport to and from Waipara. Morning coffee, wine tastings at any of four cellar doors (which could include Pegasus Bay, Torlesse, Waipara Springs, Greystone and Black Estate), and a delicious lunch platter. 10am pick up from your central Christchurch accommodation, drop off by 5.30pm.
Tour excludes:
Wine purchases, alcoholic drinks with lunch, optional coffee at your final cellar door.
Pricing details:
$275 per adult for 1-2 adults.
$240 per adult for groups of 3 or more.
Duration: 6-7 hours.

LITTLE RIVER RAIL TRAIL TOUR
Escape the city and discover the delights of the Banks Peninsula. The Little River Rail Trail follows the route of a 19th century railway and offers stunning views of lake Te Waihora and its resident birdlife. The trail ends in the rustic country village of Little River, where an award-winning local café provides well-earned refreshments. Quiet roads, gentle gradients and beautiful scenery make the Little River Rail Trail a fantastic outing for cyclists with little to no riding experience and families.

Tour includes:
Hybrid bike and helmet, hotel pick up and transport to and from the trail. Water bottle and riding snacks. 9am pick up from your central Christchurch accommodation, 3pm drop off.
Pricing details:
$260 for 1 adult.
$180 per adult for groups of more than 2 adults. $150 per child.
Duration: 6 hours. Motukarara to Little River is a distance of 22km. Fast riders can ride both ways.

PORT HILLS ROAD TOUR OR MOUNTAIN BIKE TOUR
Lots of different options await riders in the scenic Port Hills, from road rides through seaside suburbs and along quiet country roads to fun and challenging mountain bike terrain. The Port Hills boast stunning views across the Canterbury Plains to the Southern Alps in the west and the blue bays of the Banks Peninsula in the east. Let us know your riding ability and preferences and we’ll tailor a day just for you.

Tour includes:
Performance bike and helmet, hotel pick up and transport to and from the trail. Water bottle and riding snacks. 9am pick up from your central Christchurch accommodation, 3pm drop off.
Pricing details:
Road bike tour: $260 for 1 adult, $180 per adult for groups of more than 2 adults.
Mountain bike tour: $280 for 1 adult, $190 per adult for groups of more than 2 adults.
Duration: 6 hours.

To book these tours, simply send us an email.

Have a great week,
Andrew Hunt


Cycle Touring NZ: When To Go

cycle touring nz: when to goIt’s the million-dollar question – when’s the best time of year to cycle tour around New Zealand (and not get hit by gale-force winds and bucketing-down rain?) Because blue skies and warm (but not too warm) sunshine every day would be pretty nice, right?

Since none of us at Natural High possess a crystal ball, here’s the next best thing: a general overview of the types of weather to expect each season.

Summer (officially December-February)
Our most popular season for overseas visitors. Average summer temperatures are around 25˚C in the North Island and 22˚C in the South Island. February and March generally offer the most settled weather of the year – mornings and evenings are cooler but the days are beautifully clear and sunny.

Peak holiday season for New Zealanders is during the summer school holidays, from late December to the end of January. During this period roads can be busy and many popular holiday spots (Coromandel, Raglan, Mount Maunganui, Northland) book out completely. Easter weekend and Labour Day weekend (late October) can also be fairly busy holiday periods.

Autumn (March-May)
Can still be warm, sunny and settled and it’s possible to swim in some areas until May.

Winter (June-August)
Tend to be the wettest months of the year. Gets chilly all over the country (especially the further south you go) with snow on high ground and alpine highways. On the upside, accommodation is often cheaper during this time of year and popular tourist spots will be quiet. Be aware that some accommodation providers close completely during the off-season – if you’re touring during these months, ring ahead to make sure you have a bed for the night!

Spring (September-November)
Can be cold and frosty, or warm and hot! Often the windiest season.

Top tip: be prepared for all weather no matter when you decide to visit. Good quality, reliable waterproof gear is a must. In the summer months, the sun can be fierce, so cover up with a hat, sunglasses, loose clothing and high factor sun cream.

Got any more questions? Click here to email us.

Have a great week,
Andrew Hunt

P.S. We’re introducing some exciting new day tours next week. Keep your eyes peeled for details!