My 'Best of New Zealand's North Island'

Discussion in 'Touring and recreational cycling' started by poupou, Jan 27, 2006.

  1. poupou

    poupou New Member

    Jan 20, 2006
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    I owned a bikeshop in Hamilton, New Zealand for six years (the mid-nineties) and for my hols my wife and I would take our bikes for ten days, two or three weeks around some part of the North Island. Over the years we've been to most of the island's more remote (read 'more interesting') spots.

    So in the interests of those planning to come to these fair shores and want something a bit different I can thoroughly recommend you consider the following stretches(in no particular order):

    (Things you may want to consider:
    *We had mountain bikes with full racks - a lot of our routes therefore were unpaved. Given today's technology 700c could handle them with ease;
    *These are 'Out-Of-The-Way' our number one priority when planning our trips;
    *We used the rail network (branching out from Hamilton) as a starting point - so we could throw our net further and not lose valuable on-the-bike time;
    *Whereas people know the South Island for its mountains and clean-and-green-ness, I'd consider the North Island for its getting in touch with New Zealanders - there are a lot more of them there for a start)

    Port Waikato to Awakino: rolling farmland, small settlements, not too big on shops. 3-6 days.

    Taihape to Napier: Crossing the 'Gentle Annie' forestry, farmland, massive downhills; deserted 2-3 days.

    Raetihi to Wanganui: following the river - NO people 2-4 days (depending on who you meet and diversions).

    Stratford to Te Kuiti: visiting the fantabulously named Whangamomona 2-4 days. Loads of native forest, and small farming settlements

    Lower Hutt to Masterton: via Cape Palliser - the coolest golf course, tumbleweed and deserts 3-6 days

    Te Aroha-Rotorua: along the Kaimai foothills to Matamata, then over 499metres and then back roads to Ngongotaha via Maclaren Falls This would avoid the traffic during the World MTB champs

    East Cape: Opotiki-Gisbourne-Opotiki. Big country, big hills and distances (compared to my other routes)

    Coromandel: avoid Jan or you'll be fightin for camping space and road space

    North of Auckland to the Brynderwens (south of Whangarei): just too much traffic to be enjoyable. However North and west of Whangarei is fantastic.

    In all these trips we only suffered one puncture, and this was in the days before kevlar.

    Anyone else visited 'Out-Of-The-Way' New Zealand??

  2. athoma00

    athoma00 New Member

    May 14, 2004
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    I'd have to include:
    * Wairoa - Murapara via Lake Waikaremoana. It's absolutely beautiful through here and the road isn't so bad.
    * Kaitaia - Dargaville via Hokianga Ferry and Waipoua Forest. Nice backroads and the ride through the forest on a summer morning is magical.

    Of your other choices I have tried and fully agree with:\

    Port Waikato - Awakino: I did it the other way and ended up in
    South Auckland on my way to Northland that year. Very few cars - a great experience.

    Stratford - Te Kuiti via Whangamomona - one variation if coming from the North/East is to go through Ohura and take the road through to join SH3 at Ahititi. Then continue over Mt Messenger to New Plymouth. Next day go round Mt Egmont via Pukeiti Gardens (top road) and then continue on to Stratford or other towns to the south.

    East Cape: Opotiki-Gisbourne-Opotiki. Awesome scenery, esp. the beaches. Plan to stay at Tokomaru Bay. This is my 'dream' locality. If I could live anywere I wanted, it would be here.

    Coromandel: I went in march and it wasn't too bad. The road north of Thames was a pleasant surprise.

    Of the others I wouldn't mind doing a trip from Stratford through the middle of the island, over the 'Gentle Annie' and then south through the Wairarapa, via Cape Palliser to Lower Hutt. This year I'm taking a month and going to the South Island, as it is still a worthwhile place to visit, even though the North is v. beautiful too.
  3. twonbike

    twonbike New Member

    Jan 28, 2006
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    Hi Guys

    I am glad to see I am not the only one who thinks the North Island has some great riding and people. I am always having to stick up for the North Island the message is all ways go south go south. Sure the south is nice, but they are different, enjoy the difference I say. We have found the people in the North just as freindly and nice as those in the south once you have made the conection. It is just that they are a bit wary at first, but with us a couple of oldies on a tandem what threat are we. The tandem is always a good opener as well.
    The routes you have both quoted are lovely. We have not done them all by bike yet but have done some of them in the ute with caravan in tow. We paln to cover them by bike over the next year or two.
    Great post May the wind always be on your back.
    Cheers Brian & Sue