Sandra & Hendrike’s 5000km NZ Odyssey

Sandra & Hendrike's 5000km NZ OdysseyGerman travellers Sandra Wehl and Hendrike Neh recently spent eight months cycling around New Zealand, clocking up over 5000km and getting the kind of up-close perspective of New Zealand that most people can only dream about. The gutsy pair took advantage of Natural High’s buy-back scheme, purchasing two Surly Disc Truckers and then selling them back to us at the end of their trip. Here, Sandra and Hendrike share their cycle touring adventures.

Where did your cycle tour of NZ take you?
We started in Auckland at the beginning of November 2015 and made our way all the way down to Bluff and all the way up to Cape Reinga. At first we did the centre and the East Coast of the North Island: Coromandel, Rotorua, Taupo, Hastings. A bus took us from Napier to Wellington and after catching the ferry to the South Island we cycled through Picton, Kaikoura, Christchurch, went inland to Lake Tekapo and Lake Pukaki, spent some time in Queenstown and visited the Catlins.

With the Tranz Alpine train and the bus we reached the West Coast where we cycled from Franz Joseph to Nelson. Back on the North Island we headed north from Whanganui until we arrived in Hamilton. The last part of our tour was Northland. Starting in Whangarei we did a big loop via Russell, Kerikeri, Kaitaia, Dargaville, so we finally ended up in Whangarei again, having cycled more than 5000 kilometers during our trip.

lake-pukaki

What was your favorite place/places?
It’s always hard to pick one favourite place, because New Zealand’s scenery is so amazing and we liked all of it. But the ones we enjoyed the most were Lake Pukaki (right), Abel Tasman National Park and the Catlins.

Did you encounter any problems/mishaps along the way?
No. We had some flat tyres, but that was it. Our bikes were amazing! Beside that everyone we met was really nice and helping and luckily we never got involved in an accident, either. Neither on the roads nor anywhere else. The average New Zealander drives rather carefully. (But mind the trucks and tourists!)

bikes at bluffCan you tell us about your choice of bike and why you decided to use the buy back scheme?
We really wanted a bike that could survive eight months of cycling and carry all our gear. So we decided to buy two Surly Disc Truckers and were really happy with them. We didn’t have any issues at all. But taking them home with us on the airplane would have been difficult and very expensive. Furthermore both of us have bikes at home, no touring bikes, but bikes that are good enough to cover small distances – we probably won’t do another bike trip as big as our tour through New Zealand any time soon. So buying bikes at the Natural High bike shop and selling them back there was just perfect for us.

What do you love most about cycle touring?
That you are so close to the nature. You don’t have any glass between you and the scenery, you can feel the sun on your face and the wind in your hair and hear all the birds singing. Whenever you want to stop to take photos or take in the view you are able to do so, and by the end of the day you have the feeling that you have accomplished something. That is really satisfying, especially when you think of all the hard parts of the trip that you have managed to get through.

What was your cycling experience prior to this trip? Did you have any worries/fears before setting off?
We didn’t really have much experience before this trip. We’ve done two very small tours in Germany, one was for a week and the other one for three days – nothing comparable to our tour in New Zealand. So we basically started our training in Auckland. We feared that we couldn’t make it on the bikes – but we did it! 🙂 We were also scared that something would happen to our bikes, because we didn’t have any idea how to repair them. We knew how to change a tube, but that was it. Luckily we didn’t need to fix anything else.

Thanks for sharing your experiences, Sandra and Hendrike! If you’re planning an extended tour of New Zealand and don’t want to bring your own gear, our buy-back scheme could be a great option for you. Find more details here.


NEW: Twin Trails Tour. Ride the Alps 2 Ocean and the Central Otago Rail Trail

lake pukaki Alps 2 OceanNew Zealand’s South Island is home to some of the most diverse and dramatic landscapes on the planet. Experience it all on our brand new Twin Trails tour. Combining two of New Zealand’s most famous trails, the Alps 2 Ocean and the Otago Rail Trail, this nine-day adventure takes you from the soaring peaks of Aoraki/Mt Cook to the historic port town of Oamaru (alongside the Pacific Ocean) to buzzing, adventure-filled Queenstown. This is a journey rich with cultural heritage, epic vistas and tantalising extras. Here’s what awaits:

Day 1: Christchurch to Mt Cook
Approx 30km of cycling.
Your Natural High representative will pick you up from your accommodation and drive you to Natural High headquarters to meet the crew and get you set up with your bike. Then it’s time to hit the road, stopping along the way to cycle the famous hydro canals and admire the pristine blue waters of Lake Tekapo and Lake Pukaki. Once at Mt Cook, you’ll have time for a stroll around the DOC information centre and museum, or a hike in Aoraki National Park.

Day 2: Mt Cook to Ohau
Approx 58km of cycling.
Wake to one of the best views in the world and an unforgettable start to your Alps 2 Ocean adventure: a scenic helicopter flight across Lake Pukaki to the start of the trail. Today’s riding is endlessly scenic: glacier-carved valleys, turquoise lakes, snow-covered peaks and tussock-covered highlands.

Day 3: Ohau to Omarama
Approx 55km of cycling.
Today’s riding starts with a small climb to the bush line where native beech trees meet the tussock. The track is wide and the gradients no greater than 5%. From the top enjoy stunning views of Lake Ohau, one of the coldest and deepest of the southern lakes. We detour for a picnic lunch at Clay Cliffs, before a short afternoon ride takes you to Omarama for an afternoon gliding flight over the Southern Alps, or a soak in some of the most scenic hot pools in New Zealand.

Day 4: Omarama to Kurow
Approx 67km of cycling.
Ease into the day with a gentle climb over the Otematata Saddle. Take a last admiring glance at the Southern Alps before rolling downhill to Otematata. For the rest of the day, you’ll pedal past pristine lakes and intriguing early engineering works, before arriving in Kurow – the hometown of former All Black captain Richie McCaw.

Day 5: Kurow to Oamaru
Approx 82 km of cycling.
Unusual geological features and Maori rock art are on the agenda today, along with a stop at Vanishing World Visitors Centre. Tonight’s final destination is the fascinating Victorian town of Oamaru.

Day 6: Oamaru & Dunedin
Rest day.
Plenty of time this morning for a stroll around Oamaru’s historic precinct with its period costume shops, or a visit to the famous Yellow Eyed Penguin colony. After a picnic lunch at the waterfront, we drive the east coast to Dunedin, with a stop along the way to see the famous Moeraki Boulders.

Day 7: Dunedin to Wedderburn
Approx 46m of cycling.
After breakfast we head to Dunedin Railway Station for a scenic train journey to Middlemarch or Pukerangi (depending on the timetable). After a transfer to Hyde, you’ll start your journey along the historic Central Otago Rail Trail. This easy-going trail throws up a stunning backdrop of turquoise blue lakes, big skies and flinty river gorges. Tonight’s entertainment is a spot of curling, followed by a slap-up meal at the quaint Danseys Pass Coach Inn.

Day 8: Wedderburn to Omakau
Approx 42km of cycling.
Today you’ll meander through the vast open expanse of the Ida Valley and take a peek at the Idaburn Dam, one of New Zealand’s few outdoor winter curling sites. A highlight of today’s ride is the beautiful Poolburn Gorge, featuring two tunnels and two viaducts.

Day 9: Omakau to Queenstown
Approx 29km of cycling.
Good news: today’s cycling is all downhill! You’ll cruise through the colourful fruit growing area of Alexandra before dismounting for the final time for a celebratory lunch at the Shaky Bridge café – where local wines and craft beers await sampling. Then, sit back and enjoy a relaxing drive to your accommodation in Queenstown.

Is this tour for you?
This tour is a fully-supported, all-inclusive tour that’s suitable for riders of all abilities. You’ll be accompanied at all times by an experienced guide and support vehicle and have all your accommodation and most meals taken care of. Plus you’ll be able to ride without luggage, since this will be transferred daily to your next overnight stop. For departure dates and to download an itinerary, please see the Twin Trail tour page.

Have a great week,
Steve

Photo: Lake Pukaki


The South Australian Recreational Cycling Club’s Top Three Rides of the North Island

SARCC at TuroaBack in February of this year, the South Australian Recreational Cycling Club (SARCC) landed on our shores for a two-week cycle tour around the North Island.

Taking in the delights of the Coromandel and the Hauraki Rail Trail, Te Ara Ahi (the Path of Fire) in Rotorua, the Bridge to Nowhere Track, the Old Coach Road, various rides around Taupo, the Te Awa Trail and a section of the Waikato River Trails, this was a busy, action-packed adventure.

President and NZ tour coordinator Eric Chaney says the whole 14 days were full of highlights but if he had to pick three rides, “I guess the Hauraki Rail Trail for a great scenic recreational ride, the Turoa Ski Field 1000m downhill in 16km to Ohakune for the adrenaline rush, and the Bridge to Nowhere for the incredible rewarding challenge and jetboat exit.”

Here are excerpts from the group’s trip notes for these rides:

Hauraki Rail Trail
For recreation this is one of the best. We dropped five riders at Kopu; their task was to ride to Waihi to bring three minibuses back. The remaining riders drove to Waihi and rode through the bush clad Karangahake Gorge Gorge to lunch at Paeroa, then on through quiet countryside to Kopu. The trail is a little undulating for the first 5km then settles to flat for the remaining journey. This is a not to be missed recreational ride.

Bridge to Nowhere
We changed dates to avoid any inclement weather and you wouldn’t ride this track in any rain. The Bridge to Nowhere Track is an incredible ride that includes a huge range of track styles, stunning scenery and New Zealand bush. It’s one of the best ‘adventure rides’ on the North Island and a must for all mountain biking enthusiasts.

From the signposted start of the Mangapurua Track, we had a well-graded but challenging climb. Over the course of about 4kms, you’ll climb just about 300 metres on a 4-wheel drive farm track – we found our granny gear and stopped every now and then to look back at the mountain views behind. From the Mangapurua Trig the track literally flies down into the valley for about 7kms, before it flattens out and meanders down Mangapurua Stream along the valley floor for a further 20kms, crossing countless swing bridges. Finally travelling along the valley floor the Bridge to Nowhere quite literally appears from nowhere.

You can expect to complete the Mangapurua Track to the Bridge in four to six hours – including many stops along the way. The track is nearly 100% rideable apart from the dozen or so swing bridges; it is still a bit technical in some downhill parts and some of the exposed sections where the track crosses bluffs. You can expect to hop off your bike a couple times to cross these bluffs. A short 3km track takes you from the Bridge down to the Mangapurua Landing on the edges of the Whanganui River. Ken of Whanganui Jet Boats picked us up from Mangapurua Landing and took us on a fantastic adventure 30km down river to Pipiriki where we organized our minibus to take us 28km home to Raetihi. What an adventure WOW!”

Turoa Ski Field 1000m downhill
We drove 30km up to Turoa at 1625m. We all disembarked in a cold thick cloud and rode down 1000m on a sealed road 16km to Ohakune. The cloud parted at 100m down and the speeds became faster – WOW – the thrill and the concentration was intoxicating. To cap it off we rode through the finish line at Ohakune to cheers and cameras… we had interrupted a MTB race round the base of the mountain and crossed the line in first place – oh well. Great coffee break at OCR CaféOhakune.

Then off to ride the Old Coach Road Ohakune to Horopito (I recommend riding Horopito to Ohakune next time). The views of the old viaduct and the bush make the bumpy cobblestone track bearable. Albeit the climbs are not long nor too steep the surface is far from smooth. We had lunch at Hapuawhenua Viaduct and were lucky to see a freight train cross the new viaduct – literally a real hoot.

SARCC is a medium sized recreational cycling club who embark on regular rides around Adelaide and further afield.

Their New Zealand tour was a DIY affair. The group (of 36) hired three minibuses and then added bike trailers and bikes from Natural High. Eric designed the route and itinerary, mixing gentle, cruisey rides with the occasional more challenging route, as well as non-riding activities. Accommodation close to each ride was booked in advance, and the group cooked and dined together each evening.

Natural High supplied a variety of bikes, including 29” MTB and commuting bikes, and Eric says they “received great guidance from the friendly competent staff at Natural High, both in fitting and selecting the right bicycles.”

They must have enjoyed their trip because they’re coming back next year to tackle the South Island!

If you’re a member of a cycling club looking to do something similar, drop us a line. We can help you organise bike trailers and bike hire, as well as assist with route ideas and accommodation recommendations.

Have a great week,
Steve

Photo: SARCC tour riders about to descend from Turoa Ski Field.


The New Carbon Roubaix Has Landed (Special Deals On Hire)

Specialized Roubiax Sport SL4 590x370When the Olympics get underway later this week, keep an eye on the Kiwi track cycling team. They’ll be riding a new, revolutionary design of bike that they believe will have a massive impact on the Rio velodrome.

The high-tech design is the result of a three year, closely-guarded project between bike manufacturers, wheelwrights and aerodynamic experts. The final outcome? A lighter frame, reduced aerodynamic drag and one, very fast bike. Now it’s just up to the riders!

While we don’t have access to the supersonic wizardry of our Olympic team, we do have a new, high performance bike in stock: the Specialized Carbon Roubaix. The 2016 model of this superb road bike has just landed in our Auckland branch, and to celebrate we’ve got a few special deals lined up for you:

Roubaix Day Sprint*
One day hire for $80 (normally $90), with helmet. Available for weekday hires only.

Roubaix Weekend Pursuit*
Hire the Roubaix for a whole weekend, picking up before 5pm on Friday and returning before 10.30am on Monday, and pay for only two days hire ($175). We’ll also throw in a bike helmet. Please note that bikes returned on Monday after 10.30am will incur a $60 fee.

The Roubaix features a light carbon frame and fork, plus Shimano 105 11 speed components. It’s designed to feel stable and comfortable on the longest of rides, making it a great choice for the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge.

To book Roubaix hire, send us an email, or give the team in Auckland a call on 09 257 4673.

Have a great week,
Steve

*Available for Auckland hires only. Offer available during August and September. Bike drop off/pick up at hotels available for fee.


Is This The Year You Take On The Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge? (Plus Win FREE Bike Hire)

Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge
Fancy gaining some bragging rights at the office, club or dinner table? Then mark 26 November 2016 in your diary and get training for New Zealand’s premier cycling event: the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge.

Held amidst the stunning scenery of Lake Taupo, in the centre of the North Island, this is NZ’s biggest cycle event, drawing around 8,000 riders each year.

You don’t have to be an elite athlete to enter – there are rides to suit every level of ability and riding style, from on road to off, short to ultra-long. Here’s a brief overview of the categories:

On Road
A huge variety of rides, with distances ranging from a 5km kid’s ride to a 1280km extreme enduro ride (that’s eight laps of Lake Taupo!) The 160km one-lap circumnavigation of Lake Taupo draws the most amount of riders (Auckland branch manager Logan is a veteran of this event).

Off Road
Challenge yourself with a Huka MTB ride (there’s an 85km event, a 60km event and a 35km event) or give the more cruisey 16km Lakesider trail a go.

Group Challenges
Up the fun level by taking part with your workplace, cycle club or mates.

Pro riders have their own elite categories. (Entrants must hold a current National Racing Licence or International Licence.)

For full details of all the categories and to register, head to the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge website.

Need a bike for the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge?

If you’re coming from overseas, or want to rent a high-performance bike specifically for this event, we’ve got some great deals for you, including discounted hire for early bird bookings and the chance to win FREE bike hire!

Lake Taupo Challenge Early Bird Special
Book between 1 August and 30 September 2016 and enjoy these great prices:

  • Alloy road bike: $110 + relocation $75 = $185 (usual price $313.33)
  • Carbon road bike: $150 + relocation $75 = $225 (usual price $355.33)
  • Sirrus flat bar: $85 + relocation $75 = $160 (usual price $283.33)
  • Rockhopper Expert 29 hardtail MTB: $110 + relocation $75 = $185 (usual price $313.33)
  • Camber 29er full suspension MTB: $150 + relocation $75 = $225 (usual price $355.33)

These prices are for a two-day hire. You’ll be able to pick up your bike in Taupo on Friday 25 November (we’ll be on hand to adjust your bike for a perfect fit and answer any questions you might have about the event) and return on Saturday 26 November after the event. Drop us an email to reserve your bike today.

Win FREE bike hire
Everyone who books a bike for the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge between 1 August and 30 September 2016 will go in the draw to win their bike hire for free*! So don’t delay, book your bike today!

Have a great week,
Steve

*The winner will have their deposit refunded. If the winner has a booking for multiple bikes, only one bike (the highest value bike) will be free. The winner will still need to sign our normal bike hire terms and conditions and can choose to pay our optional insurance.


Saddle Up for a Spectacular High Country Experience: Cycling Molesworth Station

Cycling Molesworth StationNestled amongst 180,787 hectares of towering mountains and river valleys, Molesworth Station is New Zealand’s largest farm and a truly unique place on earth.

Located three hours drive of either Nelson, Blenheim or Christchurch, Molesworth is cradled in the headwaters of the three great rivers of Marlborough – the Wairau, Clarence and Awatere.

This is rugged, isolated terrain with a long and chequered history. Ngai Tahu Maori were the first to establish trails across the area. Later, Molesworth captured the imagination of early European settlers, who used the valleys as short cuts for moving stock from Marlborough to Canterbury.

Over the years, numerous owners and managers attempted to turn a profit in this inhospitable environment, but by the late 1930s overstocking, overgrazing, scab mite, erosion, rabbit infestation and economic recession had all taken their toll, and the land was largely abandoned to the Crown.

Today, Molesworth is administered by the Department of Conservation. Careful management has enabled the land to recover and the station is now home to around 10,000 cattle.

Molesworth Station is only open to the public for a limited period every summer. It’s a not-to-be-missed chance to experience the wide open spaces, remote beauty and remarkable history of a true high country station.

Experience Molesworth Station on our 5 Day North Canterbury and Marlborough Cycle Tour
Starting out in Christchurch, this tour takes you through the wine growing district of the Waipara Valley and idyllic Hanmer Springs (where wonderful hot springs await). Day three sees you cycle the scenic road through Molesworth Station. Breathe in the spectacular landscape and learn more about the station’s history, as you pass buildings from the original stock droving days. After a night in the shearers’ quarters of a merino sheep station, you’ll follow the river down the beautiful Awatere Valley to emerge amongst vineyards alongside the ocean. You’ll overnight in Kaikoura with options to view whales, dolphins and albatross, before returning to Christchurch via the spectacular inland Kaikoura road.

Fancy Christmas in New Zealand? We’re currently taking bookings for this tour’s 27 December departure date. Head here for full tour details (more dates are available).

Have a great week,
Steve


US travellers blown away by Kiwi kindness

cycling in marlboroughWhat makes a trip to New Zealand so special? For many people it’s the beauty of our natural landscape. For others it’s our unique culture or first-class wine.

For US travellers Lucas and Lisa Barber it’s our Kiwi kindness. In a recent post on their travel blog, Barbers Go Global, Lucas writes,

“When I think of culture I often think of food, fashion, music, or the arts, but by doing this I fail to recognise the values that are at the centre of those outward expressions … During our first seven days in New Zealand, we had been recipients of so much unsolicited kindness and generosity that our human interaction paradigm was spinning.”

“In those first few days people that hadn’t known us up until a few hours beforehand offered us rides, invited us to their homes for coffee and cake, invited us out to dinner in the city, took off work to show us around the country they were so proud of, engaged us in deep and meaningful conversation, bought us lunch and dinner, offered the use of their vehicles and homes to us, prepared us dinner, brought us home to meet their family, and even invited us to cross-fit with them.”

The couple, from Rochester in New York, quit their jobs and sold their house in order to travel the world, with New Zealand their first stop. Lucas says the level of kindness they’ve experienced has been so foreign that it’s exposed his “cynicism towards strangers”, and challenged him to re-examine his attitudes.

“Although I’m sure you have your own problems as a country, it has been a breath of fresh air for an American who did not realize how tired he was of being guarded. You reintroduced me to the magic of human interaction…If you take nothing else from this letter, take this – please don’t change! Some of us need to have our worlds rocked, our paradigm flipped on its head, and our kindness recalibrated.”

Makes us proud to be Kiwis!

Have a great week,
Steve

P.S. We’ve got brand new cycle tours coming for summer 2016/17 – details coming soon!

P.P.S. To get you even more inspired to visit, here’s Tourism New Zealand’s latest video, featuring US director James Cameron.

Top image: Phillip Capper


Cycle Touring NZ: How to Pick a Cycle Tour that Fits Your Comfort Level

How to Pick a Cycle Tour that Fits Your Comfort LevelYou don’t need to be an elite athlete to enjoy a Natural High cycle tour. In fact, on any tour you can ride as little or as much as you like.

Guided road tours always have a support vehicle in attendance, so you can climb aboard whenever you feel like a break. And if you’re independent touring, you can stop and take a breather (or take the afternoon off!) whenever you feel like it.

However, in order to get the most enjoyment out of your trip, we recommend picking a tour that best matches your riding style and ability. We offer tours to suit all levels of rider, so whether you’re looking for laid back and cruisy, or technical and tough, we’ll have a trip to suit.

Here’s a quick guide to the different levels of tours we offer:

1 – Easy
Easy tours are just that – easy peasy. Generally these tours are suitable for people who just want to ride, relax and enjoy the scenery. They cover lower distances per day with fewer hills.

2 – Moderate
Moderate tours cover longer distances with a few more hills thrown in. To take on a moderate tour, you should be able to comfortably cycle for up to 3 – 4 hours a day, on some uneven ground and with some uphill.

3 – Challenging
You’ll want to be a competent, fit rider for these tours. Some days cover over 100km/60miles, with lots of steep uphills.

4 – Difficult
We reserve our top grade for long, hard, gut-buster rides and off-road technical riding on difficult trails. These are for experienced, fit riders only.

Wondering what the NZ terrain is like?
All major highways and many secondary roads are tar-sealed (paved). Unsealed secondary highways consist of gravel and are generally well maintained in popular tourist areas.

New Zealand roads tend to be straight up and over affairs and there are no long, all-day climbs as found in places such as the European Alps. However many of the alpine passes have steep sections.

If you’d like to talk more about finding a tour to suit your ability level, please get in touch. And keep your eyes peeled over the next few weeks – we’ve got some brand new tours coming for summer 2016/17 which we think you’re going to love!

Have a great week,
Steve


Why Cycling in Christchurch is Set to Get Even Better

discover christchurchA compact, buzzing city surrounded by rolling hills, steep peaks and epic trails, Christchurch offers a huge variety of cycling terrain – and it’s set to get even better with the construction of a new $20 million, 358-hectare mountain bike park. Expected to open in December this year, the Christchurch Adventure Park will feature more than 100km of downhill trails, a 1.8km chairlift and 2km of zip lines through the forest.

Once completed, this will be the largest park of its kind in the southern hemisphere. We’re excited about what this means for cycling in Christchurch – which is already crammed full of opportunities. From laid back city cruising to more challenging, rugged terrain, here’s a guide to what Christchurch has to offer.

See the city
Pedal power is a great way to discover Christchurch’s many attractions like the Cardboard Cathedral, the Re:START Mall (made up of shipping containers) and the extraordinary Gap Filler Projects which pop up around the city at random. Or take a spin around Christchurch’s iconic Hagley Park, which offers 5km of gently-meandering, tree-lined tracks. It’s a great spot for families and especially stunning in spring and autumn.

Head to the hills
Looking for tough climbs and exhilarating downhills? The Port Hills are just ten minutes from the city centre and offer plenty of uphill slogs and exhilarating downhills, as well as vistas that stretch all the way from the Pacific Ocean to the Southern Alps. Popular routes include The Kiwi Loop, Dyers Pass and Summit Road. You’ll find maps on the Christchurch City Council website. (Also a good place to check for track updates before you ride).

Lose yourself for a few days
South-east of the city lies Banks Peninsula. Formed over six million years ago by the violent eruptions of two volcanoes, the resulting craters now form the harbours of Lyttelton and Akaroa. One way to reach the peninsula is to cycle the Little River Rail Trail, which runs from the edge of Christchurch to the township of Little River (mainly flat and off-road riding) From Little River, numerous routes, hills and tracks beckon and you can easily spend several days navigating the quiet back roads and spectacular scenery.

Excited to ride Christchurch? We can set you up with bike hire, route ideas and insider information. We also run guided tours of the Port Hills and Little River Rail Trail. Drop us an email to get your Christchurch cycle trip underway.

Have a great week,
Steve Inns

P.S. We’re currently in the process of upgrading our Christchurch bike fleet – we’ve got some exciting new deliveries arriving soon which are going to make biking in Christchurch even more fun! We’ll keep you posted…

Image: Re:START Mall. Shelia Thomson.


Where to Stay When You’re Cycle Touring Around New Zealand

Where to Stay When You're Cycle Touring Around New ZealandBack-to-nature campsite? Or a luxury lodge with everything taken care of? Whatever your level of comfort and budget, New Zealand has an accommodation option to suit. Here’s a quick guide to the different accommodation options available to you when you’re cycle touring around New Zealand.

Don’t want to spend a lot?

DOC’s range of conservation campsites offer some of the cheapest overnight stays going, with fees starting at just $6 a night per person (and some are completely free). Facilities are limited: a composting toilet and water supply is your most likely setup but the surrounding scenery will more than make up for the lack of amenities. Check the DOC website for a full list of locations.

Campgrounds and holiday parks with a wider range of services can be found in just about every corner of New Zealand. Most provide well-equipped communal kitchens and fridges, and some have games and TV rooms. Many also offer cabins and self-contained accommodation of varying degrees of luxury.

Backpackers and hostels are a good budget option if you want to meet other travellers.

Want a taste of Kiwi life?

Farmstays are a popular option for travellers who want to really immerse themselves in Kiwi culture. Costs vary widely – some farms offer B&B-type accommodation while others have more backpacker-style shared accommodation. Rural Holidays provides a collection of farmstays throughout New Zealand.

Bed and breakfasts tend to be smaller, independent affairs run by friendly hosts. Like a farmstay, these offer a more local experience than a chain motel or hotel.

More pricier accommodation options.

Holiday homes. The classic Kiwi holiday home is called a “bach”. Typically these were simple, rustic cottages with basic facilities. These days, holiday houses tend to be flashier (and therefore more expensive). Usually the entire house is rented, so this can be a costly option for a single traveller or couple. Book a Bach offers a wide range of holiday homes available for rent.

New Zealand motels are typical to motels anywhere in the world. You’ll generally find a selection lining the highway on the entry and exit to a town or city. Quality and prices vary: a double room in a mid-range motel can cost anywhere between $100 and $200.

International hotel chains can be found in the main centres, while independent hotels are scattered across the country. Trivago is a useful website for finding the best deals on hotel and motel accommodation.

Lodges are a cross between a luxury bed and breakfast and boutique hotel. They’re often in beautiful or remote locations and offer excellent food and wine.

Accommodation on our cycle tours

All our guided cycle tours include accommodation – usually a mix of high-quality, three and four-star hotels and motels. Many tours also include at least one night at a farmstay. All accommodation options have been carefully chosen to incorporate comfort and scenery.

Our self-guide tours provide a list of recommended motels, backpackers, bed and breakfasts and campsites to allow you to book your own roadside lodging.

Check out our full range of guided tours and self-guided tours on our website.

Have a great week,
Steve Inns