Who did we design this trip for?
Cyclists wanting a taste of cycle touring in New Zealand, at the same time as experiencing some of the wonderful highlights of the North Island. You’ll complete a loop of the North Island, from Auckland and back, with the opportunity to cycle around 200 miles (322 km). There is the chance each day to cycle more than the daily mileage, or jump in the support vehicle and do less, depending on your mood. This is your cycle tour and we are here to help you make it as physically demanding as you like.
Day 1: Arrive in Auckland, cycle Thames to Coromandel Town. If you’re flying in long-haul, you’ll leave the Northern Hemisphere on Sunday evening and arrive in New Zealand early Tuesday morning. It’s hard to get your head around, as you’ll lose a day to the dateline – but you’ll get it back on the way home, so just go with the flow! You’ll just need to make sure you arrive in Auckland by 9 am to clear customs and the luggage hall before we meet you at 10 am. Alternatively, we can pick you up in central Auckland at 9.30 am.
We’ll start by fitting and adjusting your bike to your liking and then we’re off! Our first ride takes us along the Coromandel Peninsula, past beaches and rolling farmland, and is a fantastic chance to stretch your legs and warm up those cycling muscles. This ride is rated as one of best day trips from Auckland and you’ll see why – it’s a great introduction to New Zealand. Notes: Cycling distance - 34 miles (55 km) - Thames to Coromandel Town (ascent 250 m, descent 250 m, 2 hills). Accommodation: Coromandel Lodgings, Coromandel. Includes: (L, D).
Day 2: Cycle Coromandel to Whitianga, hike to Cathedral Cove. From the Coromandel we’ll head straight up and out of town. While we’ll only cover a small distance today, we'll give ourselves plenty of time to go up and over a major hill. If we make good time, there are plenty of other options too. After arriving into the seaside town and our accommodation in Whitianga, we’ll drive the short distance over to Hahei and take a walk to the famously beautiful Cathedral Cove. This stunning marine reserve is only accessible on foot or by boat, and the clear waters and white sands make it an idyllic spot. Enjoy the sea air over a fantastic meal and then have a restful sleep. Notes: Cycling distance - 31 miles (50 km) - Coromandel to Whitianga (ascent 400 m, descent 400 m, 1 hill). Accommodation: Whitianga Lodgings, Whitianga. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 3: Cycle Whitianga to Whangamata via Hot Water Beach. Today we’ll catch the ferry across the inlet, and ride the quiet roads south towards Whangamata, a popular surf spot at the base of the Coromandel Peninsula. Watching the surfers show off their moves is a great excuse for a break today! Along the way we’ll take a short detour to Hot Water Beach, a favourite spot in this area for a fun do-it-yourself spa experience. Take a spade for a short walk along the beach, dig yourself a hole, and voila – the strangest bath you’ve ever had! Once at Whangamata, we’ll jump in the bus, give our legs a break and drive the main roads south to Rotorua, another interesting kiwi town! Notes: Cycling distance - 47 miles (75 km) - Whitianga to Whangamata via Hot Water Beach (ascent 275, descent 275 m, 2 hills). Accommodation: Cedarwood Lodge, Rotorua. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 4: Cycle Lake Rotorua, visit a Thermal area and Maori Marae. From our lodgings on the lake, we’ll head out on the “loop de lac” (a circumnavigation of Lake Rotorua) finishing back at our lodge. If you’re really keen, you can do it twice – once in each direction – it’s worth it! After lunch, we’ll head out to Hells Gate Geothermal Reserve, a unique place of extreme contrasts. You’ll see remarkable formations and colours, cascading hot water and unearthly vistas, even examples of “land coral”.
Tonight you’ll get to know a bit more about the local Maori culture and share a traditional Maori feast called a hangi. The meal is prepared by wrapping up the ingredients and burying it in the earth to cook over hot stones. This method is very healthy and akin to steaming except it imparts a wonderful smoky flavour at the same time. Vegetarians are also well catered for. We’ll stay in our lodge another night before we head back to Auckland. Notes: Cycling distance - 27 miles (43 km) - Lake Rotorua loop OR 54 miles (86 km) - double loop (no real hills!). Accommodation: Cedarwood Lodge, Rotorua. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 5: Cycle South Auckland, depart. For our last day together, we’ll head back towards Auckland for our final ride. After lunch, we’ll jump on our bikes and follow the Firth of Thames, one of New Zealand's most important coastal stretches for shorebirds, and cycle the coastline to Kawakawa Bay. Once there, we’ll continue into Auckland, where we’ll have you at the airport in time to catch evening flights back home or down south for a South Island trip if you’re keen to see more. We’ll make sure you finish your trip refreshed and reenergized, ready to take on the world again. Notes: Cycling distance - 35 miles (56 km) - Mangatawhiri to Kawakawa Bay (ascent 150, descent 150 m, 3 hills). Includes: (B, L).
The trip fare is US$2299 + 15% NZ government taxes.
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