If you are interesting of visiting New Zealand in a new and exciting way, bicycle touring is definitely something that you want to consider. This activity is now increasing in popularity, mainly in the South Island region since traffic density is much lower and we are faced with quite spectacular scenery. The number of companies that are offering cycle tours with professional guides is growing and you can easily choose anything that you want from a really short day tour taking you through beautiful vineyards to a really serious challenge like a 1 month tour that takes you through all that New Zealand has to offer.
In the year 2009 we saw the allocation of over 50 million local dollars for the development of a national cycleway. This automatically led towards an increase in popularity for biking among both locals and travellers.
At the moment we can say that the network available in New Zealand for cyclists is much better than in most other countries from all around the world, offering easy routes and even challenging experiences for those that are interested in more adrenaline filled trips. The riders are now able to easily get an up-and-close experience while they visit the country with a different transportation model than the regular vehicles.
There are 7 main routes in the country. 5 are available in North Island and 2 can be enjoyed in South Island. These routes cover cycleways, tourism attractions and facilities. We thus have:
- Track 1 – covering Opua to Hokianga
- Track 2 – focuses on Hauraki plains from Thames to Paeroa
- Track 3 – covers 2 river trails close to Lake Karapiro and Hamilton
- Track 4 – links Taumarunui to Pureora
- Track 5 – also referred to as Mountain to Sea, covering various landscapes in the North Island
- Track 6 – covering mostly South Island’s Hammer region
- Track 7 – takes you round Mountain Rail Trail
North Island Biking
You will normally need a minimum of 1 or 2 days to cover the really popular mountain biking trails available in North Island. Make sure that you always focus on the Whakerewarewa Foresk bike park and head towards Mount Ruapehu in the event that you are looking for real adventure. Highly recommended for tourists stands out the Bridge to Nowhere Track.
South Island Biking
If you want to go mountain biking in New Zealand’s South Island, you will want to consider Kaiteriteri Mountain Bike Park. Many extra activities are going to be available for those that are interested, besides mountain biking. Go down in Queenstown to reach the beautiful Queenstown Bike Park. It offers great options for both advanced and intermediate riders. Those that enjoy being on a downhill track will surely love the opportunity.
The South Island gives you access to rustic, deep and rural trails. Views are spectacular and the rides are charming.
No matter where you decide to go biking in New Zealand, you will want to wear the helmet. In fact, this is mandatory in the country. Cyclists cannot go on the freeways (locally referred to as motorways) and you have to ride on the road’s left side. Traffic turning left will give way to the traffic that is present on the right. During the nights, you should only bike in the event that you have working white front lights, together with red reflector and lights in the back. Wherever there is a cycling road available, you should be on it.