Get on your bike

by Rianne Ojeh on 14 March 2014, 16:03PM

We all know that New Zealand is home to some of the most picturesque landscapes in the world, from stunning snow capped peaks, to emerald green rolling pastures. Flying over just doesn’t do it justice, we’ve suggest some of the best easy to intermediate cycle trails in New Zealand for a unique experience to add to your holiday. Cycling is fun and a fantastic way to experience New Zealand. There are multiple trails and routes that cater for all skill levels. Trails are graded from Easiest (Grade 1) to Expert (Grade 5).

North Island - Hawkes Bay Trails (Grade 1: 187km, 2-4 Days)
These trails take you on a journey between Napier and Hastings with over 180km of cycle paths to be discovered. It is mostly flat combining river and coastal pathways across the Heretaunga Plains. The Hawkes Bay Trails is made up of three different routes. The Landscape Ride (56kms) is a picturesque coastal adventure through Haumoana, Te Awanga and Clifton.  Delight in world class wineries, stunning countryside, panoramic ocean views and the majestic Te Mata Peak. Plus, see the coastline of iconic Cape Kidnappers, home to the world’s largest mainland gannet colony. The Water Ride (96 km) is perfect for families as you ride alongside expansive views across the Pacific Ocean. Continue to the seaside village of Ahuriri, a great place for a rest with excellent cafes and shops.  The trail will lead you to the Ahuriri Estuaray, a sanctuary for endangered wetland wildlife. The Wineries Ride (48km) journeys across the wine regions of Bridge Pa, Gimblett Gravels and the Ngatarawa Triange. Stop to sample some award-winning wine along the way. The ride is mostly off-road, cycle along the banks of the Ngaruroro River, through the historic tree-lined Oak Avenue in Hastings.

North Island – The Hauraki Rail Trail (Grade 1, 69km, 2 Days)
This gentle trail journeys through some of New Zealand’s most breath-taking scenery and pioneering heritage sites. The trail is split into three distinct sections. The Thames to Paeroa journey begins at the wharf then continues across farmland for 12km to The Cheese Barn Café, a perfect place to re-fuel.  After gaining back some energy, continue to the small town of Hikutaia which has a pub and café called the Convenient Cow. Heading on to Paeroa where you must try the Lemon & Paeroa soft drink. Start the next section of the Hauraki Rail trail on Seymour Street, cycling all the way to Te Aroha. Be sure to follow the smell of afternoon tea and stop at the Devonshire Tea shop. Onto the final leg now to Waihi station via the Karangahake Gorge. Take some time to admire the beautiful forest and mountain views. The trail will then lead you out of the Gorge to Waikino Staion, where you can take the vintage train to Waihi.

South Island – The Queenstown Trail (Grade 2-3, 99km, 2-3 Days)
Challenge yourself with an easy to intermediate ride through Queenstown, Arrowtown and Gibbston. For a relaxing scenic journey, Lake Hayes Loop circumnavigates the lake along a 6km gravel trail. It is an easy route and great for all levels of ability, plus a great place to take a picnic along with you. Intermediate riders will enjoy the Gibbston River Trail as it follows a slight gradient along the Kawarau River with a return trip of 17km. Starting at Kawarau Bungy bridge, why not begin your journey with an exhilarating bungee jump. Stop in one of the wineries or visit historic archaeological sites along the way. The Queenstown to Arrowtown combines easy to intermediate levels where the trail will take you past the stunning Shotover River. Shotover River is home to the thrilling Shotover Jet, a jet boat experience that is not to be missed. For an easier downhill option start in Arrowtown first and then work your way to Queenstown.

So go on, get on your bike and leave your tyre tracks across New Zealand.

For more information about holidays to New Zealand visit www.travelbag.co.uk/holidays/australasia/new-zealand


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