Cycling Adventure from North to South

8 DAYS

2060 km

Highlights

  • Two historic cycle trails
  • Untouched wilderness
  • Diverse scenery

Proximity

CAR-FREE TRAVEL OPTIONS

Includes one domestic flight AKL to ZQN

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

Auckland
Auckland, Auckland

By Alistair Guthrie

Auckland

AUCKLAND

Vibrant city style and spectacular landscapes

Highlights

  • Markets, wineries and unique eateries
  • Sunset kayak to Rangitoto
  • Museums and art galleries

MUST-DO EXPERIENCES IN AUCKLAND

A buzzing urban hub nestled between two contrasting coastlines.

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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

The Coromandel
Thames Coast, The Coromandel

By Pikitia

The Coromandel

THE COROMANDEL

Pristine beaches and dramatic coastlines

Proximity

  • By car: 1 h 50 min | 115 km via SH1, Sh2 & SH25
  • By bus: 1 h 45 min | by Intercity or NakedBus

THAMES

A gold-rush town on the doorstep of The Coromandel.

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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 Coromandel
Hauraki Rail Trail Bridge, The Coromandel

By @Simonharrycollins

Highlights

  • Historic Karangahake Gorge
  • Gold mining relics
  • Beautiful views of the Hauraki Plains

Proximity

  • By bicycle: 5 min from Thames

HAURAKI RAIL TRAIL

Explore small towns, verdant countryside, and native forests.

Learn more

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.

Visit the trail page for full details of the Hauraki Cycle Trail.

Day 5 - 6: Thames to Queenstown via Auckland

Queenstown
View from Bob's Peak, Queenstown

By Destination Queenstown

Queenstown

QUEENSTOWN

Home to the ultimate adventure bucket list

Highlights

  • Stunning walking and cycling trails
  • Bungy, jet boating, and skydiving
  • Winery tours and golf courses

Proximity

Travel from the Coromandel back to Auckland and take a domestic flight from there to Queenstown.

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

Central Otago
Otago Central Rail Trail, Central Otago

By Miles Holden

Highlights

  • Stunning landscapes
  • Pioneer history
  • Character accommodation & cafes

Proximity

  • By car: 1 h 10 min | 83 km to Clyde via SH6
  • By bus: 1 h 20 min | by Intercity

OTAGO CENTRAL RAIL TRAIL

Experience New Zealand’s original great ride.

Learn more

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. The trail takes 5-days to ride and ends just before Middlemarch Train Station. From here, you can catch the historic Taieri Gorge Railway to Dunedin or organise transport through a cycle tour operator.

For more details about the trail, visit our Otago Central Rail Trail cycle page.

Day 10: Spend the day in Dunedin

Dunedin
Lanarch Castle, Dunedin

By Miles Holden

Dunedin

DUNEDIN

Historic architecture and eco-adventure await

Highlights

  • Larnach Castle and gardens
  • Relaxed cafes and bars
  • Penguins, albatross and seal colonies

TOP EXPERIENCES IN DUNEDIN

Discover spectacular landscapes, unique wildlife and local history.

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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. 

If you have time, the scenic Dunedin Botanic Gardens, Chinese Garden and Otago Museum are also worth a visit.

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Important things you need to know about driving in New Zealand.

View the route below

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