Cycling adventure from North to South
As you travel from Auckland to Queenstown and Dunedin along the Hauraki Rail Trail and the Otago Central Rail Trail, you'll see two of New Zealand's best cycle paths (the Hauraki Rail Trail and the Otago Central Rail Trail). Most days, I cycle for a few hours, pausing to visit fascinating local locations rich in gold mining history. Bring your camera because this trip is packed of magnificent, one-of-a-kind scenery.
Day 1: Auckland
Arrive in Auckland and spend the day touring the CBD or taking a boat tour of one of the Waitemata Harbour islands, such as Waiheke Island or the dormant volcanic cone Rangitoto. Hiring a bike and riding down the coastline to Mission Bay, where you can go kayaking, swimming at the beach, or simply relax at a cafe, is a great way to get some exercise.
Habibi CafeHabibi Cafe High Street, Auckland CBD, Auckland, New Zealand
Day 2: Auckland to Coromandel
Today, there are several options for getting to Thames: rent a car in Auckland and drive, take a bus directly to Thames, or take the ferry from Auckland's downtown to Coromandel Town. Take some time to browse around Coromandel Town before boarding a bus to Thames if you choose the third option. Thames is a lovely spot to unwind and start learning about the local gold mine history; you'll learn even more about it tomorrow when you start riding the Hauraki Rail Trail.
Kuaotunu BeachKuaotunu Beach, Kūaotunu, New Zealand
Day 3 - 4: Ride the Hauraki Rail Trail
The three-day Hauraki Rail Trail is one of New Zealand's most accessible bike routes. The walk brings in panoramic vistas, historic mining tunnels, and stunning waterfalls while passing through lush native woodland through the gold settlements of Thames, Paeroa, Te Aroha, and Waihi.
There are numerous side paths and little communities along the road that offer overnight lodging. Mineral spas may be found in Te Aroha, at the trail's end, where you can soothe your hurting muscles with a soak in the hot pools, a massage, or a cosmetic treatment.
Hauraki Rail TrailHauraki Rail Trail State Highway 2, Waikino, New Zealand
Day 5 - 6: Thames to Queenstown via Auckland
Return to Auckland from the Coromandel and fly to Queenstown on a domestic aircraft.
For the following two or three days, stay in Queenstown, a stunning mountain community. This year-round lakeside resort serves as the entryway to a gorgeous region with a diverse range of recreational and lifestyle activities.
QueenstownQueenstown, New Zealand
Day 7 - 9: Ride the Otago Central Rail Trail
Today, you'll travel from Queenstown to Clyde, where you'll begin the Otago Central Rail Trail, the first great ride in New Zealand that spurred the creation of later great rides. This easy cycle trail, which stretches over 150 kilometers from Clyde to Middlemarch, passes through lovely Central Otago countryside, fascinating historic villages, and breathtaking scenery.
It takes 5 days to complete the trail, which ends immediately before Middlemarch Train Station.
You can take the historic Taieri Gorge Railway to Dunedin or arrange transportation with a cycle tour operator from here.
Otago Central Rail TrailOtago Central Rail Trail, Lauder, New Zealand
Day 10: Spend the day in Dunedin
Dunedin, with its historic buildings, museums, and uniquely New Zealand nature experiences, is the perfect place to end your cycling adventure. Visit the magnificent Olveston Historic House or the one-and-only Larnach Castle in New Zealand. Alternatively, spend some time visiting the surrounding Otago Peninsula, which is home to penguins, sea lions, and the world's only mainland-breeding colony of Royal Albatross. Take a stroll to Tunnel Beach in the afternoon, where wind and sea have combined to erode the sandstone cliffs creating a stunning environment. The gorgeous Dunedin Botanic Gardens, Chinese Garden, and Otago Museum are well worth a visit if you have time.
Larnach CastleLarnach Castle Camp Road, Larnachs Castle, Dunedin, New Zealand
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