Ahhh, summer in New Zealand. Long, lazy days at the beach. Wall-to-wall sunshine, ocean dips and leisurely picnic lunches. And of course, the perfect conditions for jumping on your bike! If a summer cycling holiday sounds like just the tonic you need after all the Christmas excess (and a great way to beat the winter blues if you’re battling the cold in the northern hemisphere) here are five spots we highly recommend…
Beautiful beaches, breathtaking scenery and sparkling water make this region a favourite for Kiwis and tourists alike. Gentle, therapeutic riding can be found amongst the Waipoua Forest, home to huge and magnificent kauri trees. Or check out the Twin Coast Cycle Trail, running between Hokianga Harbour and the Bay of Islands (note: some sections currently closed).
Eastern Bay Of Plenty
An off-the-radar summer spot that serves up long, sandy beaches and cycling options for beginners and advanced cyclists alike. Don’t miss the Motu Trails which offer three different riding experiences. The Dunes Trail is an easy, 22km return ride with opportunities for ocean dips and beach time along the way. Intermediate riders will love the Motu Road Trail, which runs through remote bush and farmland, while advanced riders should head for the Pakihi Track which careens through native forest. You can also loop all three rides together for one, ultra-fun riding experience.
Something of a pedaller’s paradise with kilometres of scenic tracks and trails, conveniently located alongside great cafes, wineries and craft breweries. The must-do ride of this region is the Great Taste Trail, a 175km meander through the Abel Tasman National Park and Golden Bay region. Nelson itself is brimming with art galleries, boutiques, cafes and bars and there’s beautiful beaches to both the north and south of the city.
Long, hot summers are the norm in Marlborough, as is great wine! This is New Zealand’s largest wine growing area, with heaps of vineyards clustered around Blenheim. Embark on a pedal-powered wine-tasting tour or head to the Marlborough Sounds, home to picturesque coves, beautiful beaches and one of New Zealand’s best known walks, the Queen Charlotte Track. The track is also open to mountain bikers (although the section between Ship Cove and Camp Bay is closed for riding from the beginning of December to the end of February every year).
Just as buzzing in summer as in winter and chock full of cycling opportunities, from family-friendly trails to the mountain-bike hotspots of the Queenstown Mountain Bike Park and the 7-Mile Mountain Bike Reserve. If you really want to up the adrenaline levels, there’s also bungy jumping, jet boating, white-water rafting, river surfing, canyoning, paragliding and parachuting thrills aplenty.
There you have it – five spots to soak up those summer vibes and stretch your cycling legs at the same time. Which one takes your fancy?
Happy New Year!