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Tours

New Zealand – Middle Earth Tour – Nov 2017

£2,995.00

TOUR REF: NZ71
TYPE: Road Cycling
LEVEL: Challenging
DATES:
06 Nov 2017 – 02 Dec 2017
DURATION: 27 days26 nights
ACCOMMODATION LEVEL: Standard
 
Clear

  • Optional extras

    • 800 £

New Zealand – Middle Earth Tour

The wonders of New Zealand seen from the unique vantage point of the bicycle.

Why only cycle in the summer? For those looking for some sun and a chance to ride through the worst of the British winter we offer our first trip ‘down under’. New Zealand is a long way to go so this is a 4 week trip, enough time to really see something of this incredible country. We will cover plenty of ground on both islands but a number of rest days have been built in to spend time at some of the key locations.  

Our trip starts in Auckland. We head south via the coast to the famous volcanic springs of Rotorua and then on to Lake Taupo for a day of rest and sightseeing. We continue south through the rugged lower half of North Island, arriving in Wellington for a leisurely day taking the ferry across the infamous Cook Strait to Picton and South Island.

From Picton we take the picturesque coastal route round to the spectacular west coast, passing through Nelson, Westport and Greymouth before arriving in Fox Glacier where we have a day to explore.

The last leg takes us inland via Haast Pass through the southern alps and then down to Te Annau, jumping off point for Fjordland. For our last day we abandon the bikes to enjoy an excursion by coach and boat to Milford Sound, finishing in Queenstown (adventure capital of the world) where we will catch connecting flights back to Auckland.

In all we will cover 1200 miles, averaging 58 per riding day. New Zealand offers challenging riding with little flat ground but our timetable has been adjusted to make the trip manageable for all regular cyclists.

Whether you have always wanted to see NZ, or already have and are hankering to return, what better way to chase away the winter blues?

If you would like to read other people’s comments on our holidays then check out the Customer Comments page.

 

Itinerary: 

(Mon) Day 0 – Arrive Auckland, You will be met at the airport and transferred to your motel.

Day 1 – Our first 15 miles are spent getting out of the city, utilising quiet(er) back roads wherever possible. We skirt a large headland containing the Omana Regional Park and Clevedon Scenic Reserve before reaching the shores of the Firth of Thames which we follow for the rest of the day. We spend the night in Miranda, at the base of the Coromandel Peninsula.

Day 2 – We now head inland, crossing the base of the Coromandel peninsula using quiet country roads, briefly joining Highway 26 south before returning to the back roads. We stay the night in Matamata, a small town now re-named Hobbiton due to it’s proximity to the movie sets.

Day 3 – A shorter day to allow time to see something of volcanic Rotorua with it’s hot springs and geysers. We use quiet roads wherever we can but must eventually pick up the excitingly named Thermal Explorer Highway as we approach Rotorua. We stay in central Rotorua.

Day 4 – Today we take a somewhat indirect route between the great lakes of Rotorua and Taupo, reducing highway riding to just 4 or 5 miles in the middle of the day. The scenery is beautiful as we pass between, and sometimes over, lush rolling hills. Our motel is on the shores of the lake and the spectacular Huka Falls is a short ride north should you still have some energy.

Day 5 – For the first half of the day we skirt Lake Taupo. In the afternoon we skirt the edge of the Tongariro National Park with, on a clear day, views of Mts Tongariro and Ngauruhoe to the left. Our accommodation, the Discovery Lodge, is reached by some stiff climbing but with stunning views and wonderful isolation as the reward.

Day 6 – By now we are in the heart of North Island and today is a long ride to reach an overnight stop. We continue to skirt the national park before striking south to the small town of Taihape….apparently the ‘Gumboot Capital of the World’.

Day 7  A beautiful day in the hills.  Spent mostly on minor roads with plenty of up and down but with a glorious 20 mile descent into town to look forward to. We end in Fielding on the fertile Manawatu Plains.

Day 8 – An easy, relatively flat day as we reach the west coast of North Island. For the last 10 miles or so we must ride Highway 1 which carries some traffic but offers a reasonable shoulder for most of its distance.

Day 9 – Our last full day on North Island, spent reaching Wellington, the country’s capital. Our route initially follows Highway 1, taking detours onto quieter roads wherever possible. In the afternoon we bear left onto the hillier but much quieter Paekakariki Hill Road with commanding views out over the ocean, briefly returning to the coast at Porirua Harbour before heading south to the far side of the island.

Day 10 – The ferry to South Island does not leave until 2:30 so there is time to explore Wellington’s compact and vibrant centre. Once in Picton our motel is just a short ride.

Day 11 – We start our day with a good climb along Queen Charlotte Drive, with views out over Shakespeare Bay and Cook Strait. Eventually we connect with Highway 6 and pick our way between the mountains to Tasman Bay. Our destination is Nelson, the oldest city on South Island. This a challenging but stunning ride!

Day 12 – Nelson is a surprisingly large city and we work our way out of town using back roads before rejoining Highway 6 as it threads it’s way southwest between the mountains past the Kahurangi National Park. Murchison is a small town which conveniently splits the distance from Nelson to Westport.

Day 13 – From Murchison we follow Highway 6 and the Buller River west to its mouth at Westport and the Tasman Sea. A day of many short rises and falls though always with a downward trend!

Day 14 – From Westport we now follow the west coast for 4 days, praying that this notoriously wet part of the country is not true to type. For much of today we have the ocean to the right and the Paparoa National Park to the left  with outstanding views. Greymouth is home to almost half of all ‘west coasters’ and jumping off point for the glaciers.

Day 15 – A much flatter day with just a few modest hills in the afternoon. Accommodation is scarce on this part of the coast and our motel is the best but also the ONLY option for many miles!

Day 16 – Glacier country. An easy day’s ride with few hills in the morning but some good climbs through Franz Joseph and into Fox.

Day 17 – A rest day. Fox is a tourist town with all amenities and excursions of every type. At the very least we recommend a guided walk up onto the glacier!

Day 18 – Our last day on the west coast and a long one, but very manageable with great scenery and the occasional glimpse of the Southern Alps to the left. Our destination is at the mouth of the Haast River with the promise of the glorious Haast Pass the next day.

Day 19 – A wonderful day’s cycling. We follow the Haast River gently upstream for some 30 miles before climbing through the Haast Pass – a tough but hugely rewarding climb, emerging onto a broad upland plain through the Mount Aspiring National Park. With no light pollution this is a wonderful place to admire the stars of the southern skies.

Day 20 – A very short day with some stunning riding past lakes Wanaka and Hawea. Wanaka is a vibrant town on the shores of the lake and you will be glad to have an early finish and time to explore.

Day 21 – Our first of two visits to Queenstown takes us up and over the Crown Range on the highest paved road in New Zealand, a dramatic and sensational road.

Day 22 –  From Queenstown we follow the side of Lake Wakatipu (a beautiful road), gradually turning west to follow the Mataura River before cutting between two mountain ranges to the Oreti River and Mossburn. No trip to New Zealand would be complete without one night in a traditional pub/hotel and tonight we can cross this off the list.

Day 23 – A short and easy last day of cycling. From Mossburn we climb for the first 15 miles then it is downhill virtually all the way to Te Ana, jumping off point for Fjordland. Time for a small celebration.

Day 24 – A long and busy day but no cycling to be done. You will be collected from your motel for the coach/boat excursion deep into Fjordland an on Milford Sound. You will be returned to Te Anau where the support vehicle will ferry you back to Queenstown.

Day 25 – You have most of the day free to explore Queenstown (extreme sports capital of New Zealand and possibly the world) before transferring to the airport for a late afternoon flight back to Auckland. We stay in a nearby airport hotel.

Day 26 – The hotel offers a shuttle service to the airport for your long flight home.

Tour Price includes:
  • All accommodation within NZ in a mix of bed-only and bed and breakfast accommodation
  • Full tour leader support, typically 1 per 6-8 guests
  • Full vehicle support with tools and spares
  • Airport transfers (see detail) within NZ
  • Inter-island ferry
  • Milford Sound excursion
  • Internal flights from Queenstown to Auckland
Tour Price does not include:
  • Meals other than breakfast as mentioned
  • Flights or other travel to/from start/finish
  • Insurance

 

Holiday Details:

Accommodation: Accommodation will be in motels and small hotels.

Weather: February is late summer in New Zealand.  Plenty of sunshine can be expected but rain is also common, especially on the west coast of South Island.

Flights: Your booking excludes flights to/from Auckland and you are responsible for making your own flight bookings. 

Airport Transfers: All airport transfers within NZ are included.

Transporting Your Bicycle: The policies of airlines vary and frequently change. Some will carry your bike in addition to the standard luggage allowance, some allow the bike as part of the standard allowance and some will charge extra. At the time of writing British Airways allows bikes as part of the overall allowance provided they are ‘properly’ boxed. You are responsible for checking with your airline that your bike can be carried.

The rules regarding how the bike must be prepared also vary widely. Regardless of what the airline will accept, we recommend that your bike is properly boxed, either in a purpose-built case/bag or a stout cardboard box (most bike shops have these and are happy to give then free or for a few pounds). For advice on exactly how to package the bike contact us. Again, you are responsible for ensuring that your packaging meets the airline’s requirements. If you plan to use a hard case please let us know so that we can ensure we have enough luggage space to carry it. 

If getting your bike boxed or transported to/from your departure airport is a concern please contact us for advice.