Northland Cycle

Northland Cycle

Trip Highlights

  • Cycle through the stunning Waipoua Forests
  • Visit Tane Mahuta, "Lord of the Forest" the world's largest kauri tree
  • Cross the beautiful Hokianga Harbour
  • Admire Cape Reinga, the northern most point of NZ
  • Savour fresh seafood throughout the tour
  • Enjoy beautiful cycling along coastal roads with sea views and golden sands
  • Spend a free day relaxing in the magical Bay of Islands

Trip Summary

This journey into Northland takes you to the most northerly point in New Zealand. The scenery is sublime with long white beaches stretching between ancient volcanic headlands, remote dune-scapes melding into sub-tropical forests and warmer evenings yielding to spectacular bright starry nights. This itinerary provides challenging cycling as we ride from our hotel every day and aims to minimise the number of vehicle transfers. From Auckland we follow the west coast via the magnificent kauri forests where you'll encounter Tane Mahuta, New Zealand's biggest kauri tree and the stunning Hokianga Harbour with it's enormous sand dunes. The northward journey follows 90 Mile Beach and ends at Cape Reinga, where the waters of the Pacific Ocean collide with the Tasman Sea. We then head southwards down the east coast to the original capital, the harbour town of Russell, where there is a free day to explore secret beaches and climb up to a vantage point for breathtaking views. We continue to follow the coast southwards cycling bay to bay through rolling green countryside and lush native bush, to arrive back in Auckland at the conclusion of our tour. Accommodation will be a mixture of resorts and quality motels in scenic coastal locations.

Trip Grading

To determine the grade of a particular adventure we consider a number of factors. These include the condition of the terrain, the altitude, the amount of climbing, the types of roads and the length of the trip. The Northland Cycle is graded moderate to challenging. You will need to be a competent road rider with stamina and a good level of fitness, you should be able to cycle comfortably for up to 6-8 hours or around 100km/60miles per day, day after day, with some extended uphill ascents. There are some long days and some steep sections. You should be confident riding on main roads alongside traffic which can be travelling at speed. This tour is not for beginners. The tour is fully supported and if at any stage you feel like having a rest from cycling you will be able to ride in the support vehicle.


We meet in Auckland at 8:30am for a bike fit and tour briefing. We then drive northwards out of Auckland for approx 2 hours to the start of our cycle tour at Paparoa. We start with a short warm up ride through rolling hills through rural communities where we turn off at Matakohe to go to the Kauri Museum for lunch. We recommend taking time to visit this amazing display which tells the stories of the pioneers and the history on the Kauri Coast, you can see the world's largest kauri slab and the uses of the beautiful kauri timber (optional visit). The afternoon is a flat ride as we follow the Wairoa River into the small town of Dargaville through prime kumara growing country. Our final 13km is undulating and brings us to Baylys Beach, a huge expanse of white sands. We have time to relax and walk on the beach before dinner, then a sunset walk to view the sun setting into the ocean is an evening must do. Cycle Distance: Paparoa to Baylys Beach – 65km / 41miles Total Ascent: 330m

Meals:  L,D

The day starts off with an easy 33km as we retrace our steps from Baylys Beach and then head northwards towards the more challenging hill section in the Waipoua Forest. Here the road becomes enclosed by thick lush native forest as it winds through magnificent stands of tall kauri, rimu and northern rata, and offers extensive views in a few places. The sag wagon is as always available to take the hard work out of the hills. We take a slight side detour to our lunch site alongside the Waipoua River. The climbing continues after lunch and at the top of the last major climb we take a rest from the bike to walk through the forest. Here we can admire Tane Mahuta, 'Lord of the Forest'. With a girth of 13.77m it is New Zealand’s largest known living kauri tree. As we leave the forest we are greeted with views of the surrounding hills and our descent to Pakia Hill Lookout rewards us with spectacular views of Hokianga Harbour and the large sand dunes across the bay. We continue to descend into Omapere and our accommodation for the night. The hotel has a waterfront setting and we will have time to relax and enjoy this special place. Tonight we are free to make our own dinner arrangements. Cycle Distance: 82km / 51miles Total Ascent: 1150m

Meals:  B,L

Our scenic ride today starts as we skirt the shores of the beautiful Hokianga Harbour. We pass through Opononi which became famous when a bottlenose dolphin "Opo" started swimming with children in the summer of 1955/56. We continue along quiet rural roads to Rawene where we take a car ferry across the harbour. The road continues to follow the waters edge along the side of the Mangamuka River, before turning inland and winding its way through the pretty Maungataniwha Ranges. The final short climb of the day takes us through the Herekino Gorge to emerge on the west coast at Ahipara on the southern end of the spectacular 90 Mile Beach. Cycle Distance: 91km / 57miles Total Ascent: 930m

Meals:  B,L,D

A spectacular ride today takes us to New Zealand’s northernmost point at Cape Reinga. Cape Reinga is considered the separation marker between the Tasman Sea to the west and the Pacific Ocean to the east. From the lighthouse it is possible to watch the tidal race, as the two seas clash to create unsettled waters just off the coast. At the Cape there is a gnarled pohutukawa tree, believed to be over 800 years old. According to Maori legend, the spirits of deceased Maori leap from this tree into the ocean to return to their ancestral homeland of Hawaiki. We will ride either north to south or south to north to take advantage of tail winds. The road is straight and undulating with occasional views out to sea and we make a small detour to visit the famous 90 Mile Beach. In the afternoon we will drive back down the peninsula to Awanui and onto our luxurious resort at Taipa Bay. We can enjoy a walk on the beach immediately opposite our accommodation and tonight we have dinner overlooking the sea. Cycle Distance: Pukenui to Cape Reinga – 70km / 44miles Total Ascent: 775m

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we'll experience a little more traffic as we head south towards the Bay of Islands. This morning will start with a short transfer to the start of our first ride, where we cycle up and over a headland with a spectacular descent to Taupo Bay, recently voted as one of NZ's Top 10 beaches. After morning tea we can retrace our steps or load up to drive to the start of our second ride which follows the coastal road around Whangaroa Harbour. Once again the road weaves through a pretty mix of rural and coastal landscapes with some gentle climbs and long descents. We have another picnic lunch at the stunning Taiaue Bay before a climb out of the bay and weaving inland to the end of our ride where the road meets the State Highway. We load up the bikes and drive approx 45 minutes to Paihia, the main resort in the Bay of Islands. Once in Paihia there is an option to visit the famous Maori Marae at Waitangi, scene of the signing of the peace treaty between the Maori and British Government in 1840 (entry fee payable). We then take the passenger ferry with our bikes across the harbour to the pretty seaside township of Russell, once known as the Hell Hole of the Pacific! We will stay at the historic Duke of Marlborough hotel for the next 2 nights. Cycle Distance: Taupo Bay Road - 22km / 14miles return Whangaroa to Matauri Bay Road - 48km / 30 miles Totl Ascent: 980m

Meals:  B,L,D

Today you are free to relax and explore the area. There are many options for sight-seeing including Bay of Islands cruises to see the Hole in the Rock and swimming with dolphins, sea kayaking, walks along the beach, a visit to the National Maori Marae at Waitangi or some cycling on quiet roads behind Russell. Your guide will be happy to help suggesting tours and making any bookings. You are free to make your own lunch and dinner arrangements.

Meals:  B

Today is another spectacular coastal ride as we bike from bay to bay. Our undulating route winds through beautiful northland bush, with views of the bright blue sea and white sandy beaches. The views from the high points make the climbs well worth while and there are several options for a swim on the way. We reach Helena Bay after 55km and then we ride a further 5km uphill to lunch at a lovely cafe and gallery, well known for its display of Maori crafts. There is the option to hop on the bus for a ride up the hill. An awesome descent takes us back to the main road at Whakapara where we load the bikes and drive towards Whangarei. We will have the chance to view the Whangarei Falls on the way into town and relax before dinner. Tonight we dine on the waterfront at the local marina. Cycle Distance: Russell to Whakapara – 73km / 45miles Total Ascent: 1030m

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning we transfer out of Whangarei to Puwera and unload the bikes. Today, another day of quiet rural roads, rolling green hills and undulating cycling takes us to Paparoa, where we set off from on our first day. We then transfer by vehicle to Waipu to avoid the highway. From here we cycle along the coast road getting glimpses of the sea from behind the sand dunes and arrive at the beach at Waipu Cove. We continue to the stunning Langs Beach before our road weaves uphill onto the headland through lush native bush. We then descend to the seaside resort of Mangawhai Heads. Our accommodation is out in the country, so we load up the bikes here and transfer to our hotel. Tonight is our last group dinner together and we celebrate our weeks cycling achievements. Cycle Distance: Puwera to Paparoa - 45km / 28miles Waipu to Mangawhai Heads - 21km / 13miles Total Ascent: 625m

Meals:  B,L,D

After breakfast in Mangawhai Heads we drive to the small town of Wellsford. We cycle eastwards towards the coast, the first part of the ride is flat following the lush Whangaripo Valley. We are then greeted by our last challenge; a long climb to the top of a peninsula (where there is a short 1.2km section of gravel) followed by a great descent taking us to our lunch stop in Leigh. After lunch we follow the undulating coastal road alongside the Whangateau Harbour and inland to Warkworth which marks the end of our cycle ride. We load up the bikes and drive back to Auckland, a journey of approx 1.5-2 hours where we say a sad farewell to our guides and new cycling companions. There will be one drop off in Parnell, Auckland and we can expect to be there around 6pm (traffic dependent). Cycle Distance: Wellsford to Leigh - 34km / 21miles Optional Ride: Leigh to Warkworth - 22km / 14miles Total Ascent: 460m (optional ride 230m)

Meals:  B,L

What's Included

  • 8 breakfasts, 8 lunches, 6 evening meals
  • 8 nights hotel/motel ensuite accommodation on a twin share basis
  • Professional qualified guide/driver
  • Private vehicle transport
  • Ferry transfers at Hokianga Harbour and Russell
  • Water and snacks while cycling
  • Access and concession fees paid to the Department of Conservation
  • New Zealand Goods and Services Tax (GST)

What's Not Included

  • International or domestic flights and taxes
  • Arrival and departure transfers
  • Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
  • All beverages, other than breakfast
  • Bike hire (including helmet)
  • Water bottle (help us save the environment and bring your own bike drink bottle)
  • Optional activities (eg. dolphin watching from Russell, visit to Treaty House at Waitangi )
  • Personal expenses (eg. phone calls, internet, laundry, shopping etc)
  • Travel insurance
  • Visa (if required)
  • Tips

Road bikes 2

ROAD BIKE (Additional Charge)

On road cycling tours our road bikes provide the ultimate cycling experience. The drop handle bars offer multi hand positions. Our bikes have wider 32mm tyres and disc brakes which are safer and better suited to NZ road conditions. They have a relaxed geometry and wide range rear cassette to suit people with varying levels of cycling experience and for longer cycle touring routes.


HYBRID BIKE (Additional Charge)

These bikes have the same narrower tyres and lightweight frames, only with flat handlebars to give the performance and speed of a road bike. The geometry allows you to sit in a more natural upright riding position that provides the best control of the bike with a well-placed centre of gravity and in a posture that reduces strain on the rider's neck and back.


TANDEM BIKE (Additional Charge)

Our tandem bikes for road cycling tours are ideal for experienced cycle partners to enjoy the journey together. The riding position on our tandems is similar to being on a mountain bike but we fit road tyres to make them perfect for the sealed roads.

For bicycle specifications please contact us.



Bikes can be fitted with flat pedals, toes clips or MTB SPD (clip in) pedals. A bicycle helmet will be provided with all bike rentals.

Upcoming Travel Dates



Duration:9 Days
Starting Point:Auckland
Finishing Point:Auckland
Activities:8 days Cycling
Grade:Moderate to Challenging  Click for more information
Trip Code:NLC
Prices From:NZD$3695
Public Holiday Supplement:NZD$50 
Bike Rental:NZD$400 
Single Supplement:NZD$995