New Zealand this Holiday-
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  1. #1
    Bikes are good
    Reputation: Elfbkr50's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006

    New Zealand this Holiday

    So we are planning a riding trip to New Zealand over the holiday break this year. Mid December or so. Looking at renting a camper van maybe and spending two weeks riding and seeing New Zealand. Heard Rotorua was good, but wanted to get some solid beta on what trail systems or rides to hit while we are there as well as other things to do while in New Zealand. Thanks for any leads.
    "Having lack of self-preservation makes biking more fun."

  2. #2
    Coming to visit
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Hi Elfbkr

    Rotorua is definitely good. It has a central network of trails built from hero dirt, shuttle buses if you feel like cutting out some climbing, and more natural trails 'out the back' which are easy to get to but some require a fair chunk of riding before linking back up with more great trails. Still worth riding though. 2-3 days will probably leave you wanting more, but you could hit most of the trails and plenty of them twice. There is also plenty of other tourist stuff to do from cultural options to white water rafting, zorbing, etc.

    Within an hours drive or so there is also Rainbow Mountain, the Taupo MTB park (Craters of the Moon), and a bunch of other rides that form part of the Great Lake Trail and/or the national bike trail. There is also a small bungy jump and plenty of jet boating and other adventure tourism options.

    If you plan to hit the south island as well, stop in Wellington for a day or 2 or 3 and hit up some or all of Makara Peak MTB park, Wainui MTB park, tracks on Mt Vic, Hawkins Hill, the Polhill trails. There are bunch of other riding areas too. Bring your climbing legs... If the weather is playing ball you will understand our phrase 'you can't beat Wellington on a good day'. Terrain varies quite a bit from riding area to riding area from pine forest to exposed and rocky.

    At the top of the south it's worth spending a day or 2 in Nelson - heaps of riding areas there. One of the best options is the Dun Mountain Trail - it's raced in under 3 hours but allow for 4-5. There is a section that can be missed out early on if you don't fancy a mega-climb followed by a bit of hike-a-bike. The trade off is some very cool natural descending. The Nelson/Marlborough area has one of the best climates in the country, and many of our best winerys. If you're up for a truly fantastic ride and someone will drive the camper for you, get dropped off at the top of Takaka Hill, ride the 11km dirt road to the Rameka Track and follow the trail system down to Takaka. Nearby Pohara is a great place to spend the night. Takaka Hill is also known as Marble Mountain and has some limestone caves that are a cool visit for your driver. It's also raced annual in a Xmas/New Year stage race - in the past it's been a TT, now it's at the end of a 140kmish stage. The Rameka Track trails pass through a multitude of ecosystems starting in high forest that stays damp and mossy year round, and finishing on a river bed with the trail making great use of the natural features. To me it's NZs answer to The Whole Enchilada, only much shorter, with no slick rock and not high enough to destroy your breathing at the start!

    Christchurch has a lot of riding, and Otago is a must. You could easily spend a week based in Queenstown and do something epic every day (including non-bike tourist stuff if you want to rest the legs - a trip to Milford Sound is well worth while). There is a small bike park, heli-biking, and all day rides that will blow your mind.

    If you did the Takaka option, between there and Christchurch you could hit the West Coast and check out the Old Ghost Road. It's pretty new and I haven't gotten there myself, but it's a big deal and if it's as good as other West Coast riding I've done you won't be disappointed.

    Probably the best thing is to order yourself a copy of the latest edition of Classic NZ MTB Rides - it's now in a north and south island split that I don't think was necessary, but still worth getting both. Every person you ask would give you a bunch of different ideas because there are so many options, but if you hit all the spots above I think you'd have long enough in each place and not be disappointed with a mix of terrain, mtb park and more back country riding. My advice would be to not book ahead with much accommodation because you might decide you want to stay somewhere longer or shorter once you're here. Mid-December is still off-peak for us, but if you get too close to Xmas you would start to find it a bit tricky to get spots at the better motorcamps.

    Weather-wise, mid-December is generally pretty good. Summer doesn't really kick in until later in the month unless it's a really good year, but even on a good year there is a small chance of snow on the hills in Otago, and southerly storms don't have respect for seasons anywhere really. Definitely expect some wind and rain, but you should also get some really warm, sunny days.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation: adventuregirl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Thanks for the info XCKiwi.
    We are headed to NZ for a month at end of Feb/March. This info was just what I was looking for.

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