Experience Four: On Your Bike

Want to wheel your way around New Zealand’s most beautiful bits? We don’t blame you. Here are three suggestions to get you started…

Takaro Trails, Cycle Tours Hawkes Bay, North Island
Discover the Heretaunga Plains– the ‘Land of a Hundred Pathways’, according to Māori lore. We’ve got our eye on three in particular: the Water Ride, the Wineries Ride and the Landscapes Ride. This trio of Great Rides totals more than 200km of off-road trails that cut through the region and link highlights in Napier, Hastings and Havelock North. Each route has its own particular charms: bucolic grapevines and orchards, peaceful wetlands, rugged coastal paths and the thyme- and fennel-scented forests of the Puketapu Loop. The trails here make for leisurely cycling: they’re wide, flat and smooth; they’re also surrounded by stunning countryside, with access to delicious food and drink. With Takaro Trails, you can pick from day tours, multi-day tours, private guided tours and luxury tours; options include four-day gastronomic tours, a Havelock North and West Cape wineries tour, a water trail and more.
More info: http://www.newzealand.com/uk/plan/business/takaro-trails-cycle-tours/

Alps 2 Ocean, South Island
The clue’s in the name: the Alps 2 Ocean track takes you from rugged mountains to glittering coasts, via quiet lakes, pretty rivers and stunning countryside. The trail, located halfway between Christchurch and Queenstown on the South Island, runs 431km from the Southern Alps to the Pacific Ocean. Allow four to six days if you want to conquer the entire ride, or dip in and out of the route with a day trip. The trail is grade two (easy–intermediate) and suitable for cyclists of all ages. There are a few suggested itineraries, including the Relaxed (eight days), the Classic (six days) and the Fast (four days), and plenty of local companies to choose from, if you need to hire a bike or want to join a tour.
More info: http://www.newzealand.com/uk/plan/business/alps-2-ocean-3201042/

The Old Ghost Road, Westport, South Island
Feeling ghoulish? The Old Ghost Road is a former gold-mining track that’s been raised from the dead, thanks to the volunteer-driven Mokihinui-Lyell Backcountry Trust. The 85km track connects the old Dray Road in the Lyell (Upper Buller Gorge) to the Mokihinui River in the north, ticking off four ghost towns, forests, valleys, rivers and open tussock tops – consider it your epic outdoor museum. The road is punctuated by huts where weary cyclists can rest their heads (and legs) for the night. If you’re starting from the south, you’ll begin at Lyell Historic Reserve/DoC Campground; from the north, you’ll wheel off from Welcome Bay/Mokihinui Gorge, near Seddonville.
More info:
www.oldghostroad.org.nz
www.newzealand.com/uk/feature/the-old-ghost-road/

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