Day 1: Tour also available in reverse. Auckland to Thames (127 km -72 km cycling). After meeting and setting you up with your bikes in the morning, we head by minibus to Kawakawa Bay. On reaching the coast at Kawakawa Bay we will have our first sight of the Peninsula with the Coromandel Ranges rising steeply from the sea. Here we begin cycling on quiet roads, continuing south down the Firth of Thames. The narrow road hugs the coast on its way to Miranda Bird Sanctuary. There are two climbs today with a final flat run to Miranda, where we climb back in the van and head to Thames for the night.
Day 2: Thames to Whitianga (via Coromandel), (120 km - 70 km cycling). We visit a working historic Gold Mine and picturesque Rapaura Water Gardens, before the final descent to Coromandel. From Coromandel we cross the range to the east side of the peninsula, where we have magnificent coastal views and great riding down to the seaside village of Whitianga.
Day 3: Whitianga to Waihi (106 km total - 38 km cycling). This morning we take the ferry to Flaxmill Bay. Past Purangi Vineyards, we head for Hahei where we can laze on the beach or walk to magnificent Cathedral Cove. After lunch we visit Hot Water Beach where the natural mineral water rises through the sand. Those who have the energy can tackle the Pumpkin Hill climb with its views of Shoe and Slipper Islands and enjoy a great descent to Tairua before continuing by van to Waihi.
Day 4: Waihi to Rotorua via Tauranga (160 km - 80 cycling). From Waihi we head inland through Karangahake Gorge. An interesting diversion is to take the historic walkway on a disused railway through the gorge – you will need to walk a short distance through a tunnel. From there we board the van to backtrack to Waihi then on to Tauranga's Mt Maunganui for lunch before we get back on the bikes for the last stage to Rotorua via Te Puke.
Day 5: Rest Day. Rotorua. A day of leisure to either relax or take in the various optional extra activities this thermal region has to offer, such as the Agrodome (a sheep farming theme park); a visit to the boiling mud pools and geysers for which Rotorua is renowned; a 4WD trip up Mt Tarawera; rafting; the Buried Village; the Green and Blue Lakes (a 32km cycle ride); fishing and of course, shopping.
Day 6: Rotorua to Taupo (105 km - 89 km cycling). We take a quiet back road through Waikite Valley and Waiotapu thermal areas on our way to Taupo. The thundering Huka Falls provide a noisy and spectacular entrance to the town of Taupo. Lake Taupo is New Zealand's largest lake at 606sqkm. On a good day there will be superb views across the lake to Tongariro National Park and its three distinctive mountains. The area is famous for trout fishing in the many streams that flow into the lake.
Day 7: Taupo to Tongariro National Park (98 km total - 50 km cycling). An impressive and varied ride along Lake Taupo leads to the still active volcanic region of Tongariro National Park. On leaving the lake side there is a substantial climb up to the plateau with a view of the entire lake. As we gain altitude there will be a distinct change in the vegetation, pine forests giving way to alpine bush and tussock grasslands. We spend the night on the side of Mt Ruapehu, the North Island's highest mountain at 2,797 m.
Day 8: National Park to Taihape (105 km total - 55 km cycling). We ride around Mt Ruapehu through National Park township to Ohakune via the Makatote Viaduct. We continue to Waiouru on SH1 via Tangiwai, the location of NZ’s worst train disaster where we reboard the van and drive to the rural town of Taihape for the night.
Day 9: Taihape to Masterton (199 km - 80 km cycling). South of Taihape we turn off SH1 at Mangaweka onto HW54 and continue on generally quiet, but hilly rural roads towards Ashhurst and Woodville before finishing for the night in Masterton. Mostly driving today with riding when you wish.
Day 10: Masterton to Wellington (110 km - 69 km cycling). While cycling through the Wairarapa take in the rural towns of Masterton, Carterton, Greytown and Featherston before reboarding the van for the climb over Rimutaka Hill to Upper Hutt where, depending on the time, you can cycle along the Hutt River down towards Petone to finish the North Island section of your tour in Wellington.
Day 11: Complete tour in Wellington or transfer on to our eight day South Island; contact us for details.
- Tour also available in reverse
- To experience more of what New Zealand offers continue onto our 8 day top of the South Island tour, which includes a soak in thermal springs nestled in the Southern Alps, visiting creative Nelson and enjoying the vineyards of Marlborough.
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