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Touring New Zealand

FOGcpFOGcp Posts: 145
edited November 2008 in Tour & expedition
The wife and I are just starting to plan next year's trip to NZ so we have a few basic questions to start with[ I am sure we will have plenty of detailed ones later].
What's best ,take your own bike, hire one or buy there with a possible buy back?
If you do take your own which airlines are good in terms of price and handling of bikes?
What to do for accommodation? Obviously we are not paupers that we are going at all but we would like to stay as long as poss so we want to keep daily expenses down.
Is outdoor gear cheap there so we could take civvies and buy specialist on arrival?
Sorry for so many questions but we want to get it right we won't be affording many trips like this!


  • steephillsteephill Posts: 151
    I flew Air New Zealand to the North Island from North America and from the North Island to the South Island. No charge for your bike if it's your second bag. I was very happy with their service. According to the experts, Feburary is the best time to visit. For accomodations, the "hostel" network in New Zealand is very good: We were satisfied at all our stops.

    I posted three ride reports (with photos and video) a couple of years ago of the South Island:
    Christchurch and Banks Peninsula:
    Lake Tekapo:
    Queenstown and Wanaka:

    Steve bike travelogue
  • I was browsing your pics/words on queenstown... really great info + pics you have there.

    Is that your only equipment steephill? Man that's not much luggage at all on your road bike! Or is this just for a day ride? :?
    I notice you opted for proper road-going shoes, not walkable ones...

    How did you find the road surfaces?
  • steephillsteephill Posts: 151
    Is that your only equipment steephill? Man that's not much luggage at all on your road bike! Or is this just for a day ride? :? ... 0back.html
    We had a car with us. The rackpacks where for short 1-4 day loops. I once did a three week trip years ago with such a setup but not on this trip.
    I notice you opted for proper road-going shoes, not walkable ones...

    How did you find the road surfaces?
    The chip-seal was rough but there were few potholes: ... 24c02.html
    Just make sure you don't have any loose fillings and use good new tires. bike travelogue
  • johansjohans Posts: 24
    I live in Christchurch, NZ. Bike prices are quite a bit higher for 2009 models that are in shops now due to exchange rate and shipping costs. Also not all models are available in NZ with local agents typically importing a smaller range.

    So you should be able to get everything you want however you will likey have a smaller range to choose from.

    If I were undertaking a tour offshore and assuming shipping the bike/gear is not a major hassle/expense I would get sorted at home and test things before leaving.

    I have a Specialized Tricross and think it would make a perfect touring bike in NZ - depending on how much you want to load on it .

    NZ asphalt surfaces are quite rough and you will likely encounter many dirt roads you want to explore or need to use to get to scenic points. The Tricross is built for this type of stuff.

    Look at Tricross Double Comp or Sport Triple, although the Sport does not have the same frame/vibration damping. Higher spec models are more for cyclocross racing. ... 39&eid=123

    For price comparison the 2009 Comp Double is about NZ$3,400 in shops - you can probably get a bit of discount off that, maybe $100. Always ask for a discount in NZ.

    A friend has been touring in Europe (Zurich to Istanbul) using a Tricross Double and found it worked well -

    In NZ you can pretty much stop anywhere and camp legally. There are many motels, camp grounds etc all over the place so you should not have a problem.

    Watch out for the sand flies on the west coast - their bites are really nasty!
  • We have just got back from home to NZ from touring in Italy, UK and France, the first 2 on a tandem. The best Airlines to fly to from UK to NZ are Singapore Airlines or Air NZ. We always go via USA so as to give us enough luggage allowance.
    Re roads. Our chip is rougher than yours but no where near as many pot holes, or drain grates, your roads are like an obsticale course compared to ours. If you want to stay off main roads be prepared for some gravel roads, but unless they have just been graded they are normally smoother than the seal.
    I tour on a Van Nicholus Amazone on Continental 700*32 and have done 100's of km on gravel fully loaded ( camping gear etc) no puctures or problems, just pump the tyres up to 100psi.
    If you need some where to saty on the way from Auckland to Wellingto, we live at Reporoa half way between Rotorua and Taupo in the middle of the North Isalnd. We always have room for cyclists.
    Enjoy your time here and get good maps and stey off the main roads and you will have a ball. Otherewise you will hate the traffic, Our drivers are crazy compared to yours.
    Cheers Brian & Sue.
    PS you can check us out at
  • jetsonxjetsonx Posts: 84
    >>>just pump the tyres up to 100psi

    I thought this increases the risk of a puncture - over inflated tyres?
    "Knowing and not doing are equal to not knowing at all."
    - Unknown
  • Not from snake bites.
    I did a trial on the tandem. I over inflated the rear tyre from 80psi to 120 psi and got 960km out of it, before it blew. With exactly the same brand and type of tyre I only inflated to the recomended 80 psi. It lasted 240km.
    The last 2 people I have toured with, inflated the tyres to 80 psi, both got flat tyres from snake bits. I have yet to get one, in 12,500 km (10,000 miles) of riding in 12 months.
    I rest my case.
    Cheers Brian
  • jetsonxjetsonx Posts: 84
    When you say "snake bites" - do you mean that in the literal sense :)?

    12.5 k an no puncture - you must tell me your brand of tube?
    "Knowing and not doing are equal to not knowing at all."
    - Unknown
  • No when you ride over a stone and get 2 pinches holes that look like snake bites.

    That 12500km is over 3 bikes, one tandem (Thorn Adventure) running Schwalbe Marthon Plus, 29*1.95 inflated to 110psi loaded, 90 unloaded and did about 4500km loaded plus a more unloaded, Van Nicholus Amazone about another 4500km loaded Continetal Contact 32s, inflated to 100 psi loaded. 80 psi unloaded and a Trek Pilot 5.9 about 3000km on Conti Grandprix 4 season 28s, inflated to 80 psi. I use these tyres as I do quite alot of gravel on this bike as well and I find they handle it realy well. The balance of the kms is made up on the MTB.

    As you can see, I don't buy cheap tyres and on the touring bikes I swap the back to the front after about 3000 to 4000 km where I will get another 2000 to 3000km out of them. I don't run them right down to the canvas.

    The tubes I use are nothing fancy just what I get from the LBS. I match the tube to the tyre size and inflate them as above. On the road I check tyre pressures every day, I have a mini track pump with a gauge on both touring machines.

    In case you are wondering how I fit all these kms in . Easy I am retired and it is what I do, just ride almost every day. If I am home for more than 1 or 2 weeks without at least one or two nights away on the bike I start to get fidgity and restless. Like I am now with the weather not doing it's part.

    Cheers Brian
  • I cycled around the whole of NZ in 2006 on my own. I would suggest taking all your own kit as its not so cheap out there. Its best to get used to your equpment before you go as its no use farting around when you get there with the wrong cleats, different saddles etc and new kit that you are not used to. You will encounter enough little problems without the added hindrance of getting used to new stuff. Camping is great if you like that kind of thing, but i wouldn't recommend the south west as it rains all the time. Hence the word 'rainforest'.
    NZ is the most backpacking friendly place in the world with plenty of backpacker hostels. As long as you don't mind sharing and there are ALOT of Germans out there. Lived in the country most of my life so i get a bit annoyed with the accent.
    Carrying bikes on flights is fine, just remember to travel light and have a smile on your face and you will get on great.
    Oh and a BOB trailer would be handy
  • You'll experience good and bad touring NZ no doubt. Outside the main cities traffic will be light, but the roads are often in a poor condition and NZ drivers are amongest the worst I've seen - no joke.

    I'd say bring your own bike if you're coming for a decent length of time, as bike hire can be expensive. It's no doubt getting more hassle flying with bikes, but airlines are pretty much of muchness. I'd definitely avoid flying through the States to get to NZ though, the eastern route through asia will be much more pleasant transit wise.

    Flying with the bike, either go the simple route of just removing the pedals twisting the handlebars and fitting bubble wrap to protect the paintwork - if they'll allow it or just use a cardboard bike box, easily dispensed with at the other side, and easy to pick up at a local bike shop before you return.

    Bikewise I find an old rigid mtn bike able to take a pannier rack is ideal, fitted with slicker tyres the gearing is usually ideal for touring. I don't know how others manage on a normal road double cassette.

    Gearwise NZ isn't particularly cheap, and not generally great for specialist touring equipment either so bring it with you.

    Accomm wise though you shouldn't have too many problems, there's an excellent network of backpacker places at excellent value ( However when you come to plan your route, be careful with regard to anticipating places to stop off, many places marked on the road maps are little more than a few houses!
  • Remember that your bike has to be scrubbed clean before they'll allow it into NZ for biohazard reasons. Don't turn up with muddy tyres. As said above, fly via the USA and you'll get huge baggage allowances - 2x32kg for each person I think.

    I flew(with a bike) in and out with AirNewZealand with no problems.
  • Hello,
    I'm cycling, camping and Woofing around the North island currently.
    South island after Xmas.
    The woofing stops have been good to rest up from the eternal winds here...
    When I'm not grinding up hills I'm doing a few hours a day cutting fenclines, clearing bush trails and general farm/small holding work all for just bed and board.
    Then we go fishing for Snapper, shooting Opossums, gathering Greenlip mussels and drinking beer with Pig hunters and Maori weed growers... :shock:
    I've even been coerced into doing a reading in a Maori church!
    Yup, if cycling is what you want to do then do it but for the real N.Z go woofing.
    Forget needing a work permi etc thats all censored so ignore the official government site and just subscribe to the woofing organisation N.Z and go and do it.
    The only draw back is carrying your extra clothes and work boots on the bike.
    Off now to kerosene creek to boil my bum in a free hot spring (most are pay as you boil...)
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