Cycle Trails In New Zealand
Visit two of New Zealand's greatest cycle trails (the Hauraki Rail Trail and Otago Central Rail Trail) as you make your way from Auckland, through the Coromandel and down to Queenstown and Dunedin. Cycle for a few hours most days, taking time to explore fascinating local areas steeped in gold mining history. Bring your camera - this journey is full of breathtaking, unique scenery.
Day 1: Auckland
Arrive in Auckland, enjoy a leisurely day exploring the CBD or head out on the water, and explore one of the islands on the Waitemata Harbour such as Waiheke Island or the dormant volcanic cone Rangitoto. If you want to get some cycling in, hire a bike and ride along the waterfront to Mission Bay, where you can go kayaking, swimming at the beach or simply relax in a cafe.
Day 2: Auckland to Coromandel
There are a few ways to get to Thames today, rent a car in Auckland and drive, take a bus directly to Thames or catch the ferry from downtown Auckland to Coromandel Town. If you choose the third option, take some time to look around Coromandel Town before catching a bus on to Thames.
Thames is a great place to relax and begin exploring the local gold mining history – you’ll experience more of it when you begin cycling the Hauraki Rail Trail tomorrow.
Day 3-4: Ride the Hauraki Rail Trail
The 3-day Hauraki Rail Trail is one of New Zealand’s easiest cycle tracks. Following old railway lines between the gold towns of Thames, Paeroa, Te Aroha and Waihi, the trail takes in panoramic views, historic mining tunnels and picturesque waterfalls all surrounded by lush native forest. Along the way, there are plenty of side trails and small towns offering overnight accommodation.
Te Aroha at the trail’s end is home to mineral spas where you can relax your aching muscles with a soak in the hot pools, a massage or beauty treatment.
Day 5-6: Thames to Queenstown via Auckland
Base yourself in the spectacular alpine village of Queenstown for the next 2 or 3 days. This year-round lakeside resort is the gateway to a scenic region offering a fantastic range of recreational & lifestyle activities to suit everyone.
Day 7-9: Ride the Otago Central Rail Trail
Today, you’ll journey from Queenstown to the town of Clyde and the start of the Otago Central Rail Trail – the original great ride that inspired the creation of other New Zealand Great Rides.
Extending over 150 km, this easy cycle trail follows an old railway route from Clyde to Middlemarch, through beautiful Central Otago farmland, past fascinating historic towns and spectacular landscapes.
Day 10: Spend the day in Dunedin
End your cycling experience in Dunedin, with its historic buildings, museums and uniquely New Zealand wildlife experiences.
Visit majestic Olveston Historic House or Larnach Castle, the only one in New Zealand. Or spend some time exploring nearby Otago Peninsula where you will find penguins, sea lions and the only mainland-breeding colony of Royal Albatross in the world. In the afternoon, take a stroll to Tunnel Beach where over time wind and water have worked together to erode the sandstone cliffs into a dramatic landscape.
Highlights of this trip
Markets, wineries and unique eateries
Sunset kayak to Rangitoto
Museums and art galleries
Historic Karangahake Gorge
Gold mining relics
Beautiful views of the Hauraki Plains
Stunning walking and cycling trails
Bungy, jet boating, and skydiving
Winery tours and golf courses