The Tour of New Zealand is a bi-annual road cycling event that covers the length of either the North Island or South Island, you choose your course and meet in the middle. The North and South courses start from opposite ends of New Zealand and run simultaneously, covering around 100km per stage for seven days as they converge on the centre of the country. On the eighth day everyone meets in Wellington for a morning of criterium racing in the grounds of Parliament.
Join the Adventure South support team and enjoy 8 days of spectacular riding from Cape Reinga at the top of the North Island to Wellington at the bottom. All logistics are taken care of so you can concentrate on cycling whether you choose to ride competitively or socially. Your guide will make sure you are well looked after if the weather gets a bit too much or your legs need a rest.
To determine the grade of a particular cycling adventure we consider a number of factors. These include the condition of the cycling surface, gradient, cycling difficulty and the length of the trip. Riders should be prepared to spend between 4 and 9 hours a day in the saddle. The rides range between 50 to 130kms per day depending on the terrain and may involve some steeper ascents which can be avoided by using the support vehicle.
There will be some group cycling at times and you should be comfortable riding in a group or bunch on paved roads with some traffic. As the trip is fully supported, you have the option to ride in the support vehicle at any time if required. However, the nature of the event is such that we encourage riders to try and complete as much as possible of the route. You should be of moderate to good fitness and able to ride an average of 80 kms a day for eight days. We suggest a preparation of one hour of aerobic type exercise a minimum of four times per week, in variable weather conditions.
We pick you up from a central Auckland hotel (details will be advised upon booking) and start the drive north around 10:00am. Today is a relocation day (drive time 4-5 hrs, plus stops) and there is time to do a final check of your bikes on arrival in Kaitaia before settling into your accommodation for the night. We can also pick you up today from Whangerei en route to Kaitaia if required.
PLEASE NOTE: All bike cases will be couriered to the Wellington hotel at no extra cost.
Early this morning we drive to Cape Reinga, allowing 30 minutes on arrival to explore the tip of New Zealand scenery. Here, the heaving energy of the Pacific Ocean battles the tides of the Tasman Sea, creating a truly wild display. Above a dramatic foreground of sheer cliffs and beneath soaring gulls, the splendid Cape Reinga Lighthouse silently stands guardian over the unfolding action.
The first cycle leg on the North Island is a good warm up section and begins with some pleasant down hill riding before flattening out to Te Kao where we load the bikes. We may see glimpses of the incredibly expansive 90 Mile Beach between the sand dunes as we drive back to Kaitaia for early lunch. The second cycling stage for today departs from Kaitaia as we traverse some beautiful Kauri country with some winding roads, a few uphills and a final descent to Kohukohu on the edge of the Hokianga arbour. We transfer by ferry across the harbour then meet our vehicle for the short drive (20 mins) to our accommodation at Opononi near the mouth of the harbour for overnight. Optional Peloton Party is at Omapere tonight, just a 5 min drive away.
(Cycle distance - Cape Reinga to Te Kao 45km, Kaitaia to Kohukohu 65km, total 110km)
This morning there is a neutral (untimed or optional) ride for 23km, starting from Omapere. This stage is dominated by Kauri forests and we will ride through the heart of them passing through the Waipoua Forest, negotiating some reasonable hills and a good descent to the largest Kauri tree in New Zealand - Tane Mahuta - where there is time for a break. Take a very short walk to see this giant tree which has a girth that measures over 13 metres. Back on the bike, the timing begins from here and we ride some tight corners through forest and into open dairy country that flattens out near Dargaville, where we stay tonight.
(Cycle distance - Omapere to Tane Mahuta Tree 23km, Tane Mahuta to Dargaville 56km, total 79km)
Today is a relatively easy cycling day, so enjoy a well-deserved leisurely morning exploring Dargaville. The ride today starts on the flat and stays that way for 50 kms. We pass some beautiful Northland farms, cycling on straight and easy roads. Reserve some energy for the last 20 kms though as there are some short uphill sections that will require our lowest gears but will reward us with some fast downhills on the other side. Our stage finish today is at the small rural town of Brynderwyn. From here we have a 90 minute drive south, via the outskirts of Auckland, to Tuakau, a town of just over 4000 people in the Waikato district which gets its name from the formidable Waikato River running through it and sustaining the surrounding profitable farmland.
(Cycle distance 70km)
We start this morning about 1km from the Tuakau town centre. The road we will cycle today is a quiet back road heading directly south through small farming settlements, crossing one way bridges and climbing small hills. Some fast downhill sections will be exciting before the stage finish at the intersection just after Ohautira (11km east of the surfing town of Raglan). From the finish we drive to Waitomo Caves (approx 1 hr) where there is time for an optional 45-minute boat tour of this amazing cave system (own expense) or a wander around the limestone landscape. Tonight we stay in nearby Te Kuiti
(Cycle distance 84 km)
Today's ride is in two parts. The first is through King Country, the heartland of North Island farming and energy production. Starting a short drive south of Te Kuiti, we will pedal 71km through gently undulating to flat countryside and should arrive in the town of Taumarunui by early afternoon. We then travel by vehicle to National Park (the village) for a late afternoon stage: a 15km hill climb from National Park to the magnificent Chateau Tongariro near Mount Ruapehu (the North Island's highest mountain). An average rider will take 35 minutes but there is plenty of time to ride at your own pace. We will be greeted at The Chateau where we stay overnight. There is an optional official Tour NZ Peloton Party and dinner at The Chateau (own expense) if you have some spare energy.
(Cycling distance 86 km)
Today's ride is again in two parts, the first commencing from the steps of Chateau Tongariro. There is a lovely 15km of downhill, before a left turn at the village of National Park to point us towards Pipiriki. This first section is 77km and an early lunch will be well-earned once we have achieved this distance. We will drive a short distance (approx 18km) to Ranana, where the second part of today's cycling begins at midday. From here there is a further 56km on a beautiful country road, following the Wanganui River, before reaching the stage end at Wanganui town. There is opportunity to explore for a short time or just relax and soak up the hospitality of this river town before we drive to our overnight stay in Palmerston North.
(Cycling distance 133 km)
Today is the last full stage cycling day. We start in Palmerston North and cycle to Pahiatua. The following section follows a quiet country road with low rolling hills and meandering streams. There is no traffic apart from the local school bus. The road twists and turns, passes over a few age-old wooden bridges and leads to the outskirts of Masterton, where the stage cycling on the North Island ends. We can begin celebrations as a reward for our achievement. We drive (1.5hrs) from the stage finish at Masterton to New Zealand's capital city, Wellington, which will be our base for the next two nights. Your guide can assist with collection of bike cases on arrival this evening.
(Cycling distance 106 km)
Tour NZ Criterium details, along with information on prize giving formalities, will be provided in your race pack upon entering the event. Please refer to that for specific arrangements. The general procedure is that we meet competitors from the South Island Tour on the steps of the Houses of Parliament. Race leaders from the North will compete against race leaders from the South in an exciting finale (multiple laps of a specified circuit) to decide the overall Tour champions. The Criterium is scheduled to finish by 10.30am and will be followed by prize giving (1:30pm) and other official events. Results and a selection of official photos will be available at the prize giving. The remainder of the afternoon is free to explore Wellington at leisure and your guide can help with suggestions. Overnight Wellington.
Arrangements for the supported tour package end this morning, in Wellington. Please make your own way to the airport or let us know if you would like assistance with post-tour accommodation.
Per Person, Twin Share