Need some Kiwi assistance - 2 to 3 week stay in New Zealand

Questions about bike hire abroad and everything light bike related. No off-topic chat please

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Bigger Gear
Posts: 369
Joined: Fri Mar 27, 2009 6:58 pm
Location: Wet coast, Canada

by Bigger Gear

Hi all, hoping I can get some feedback from the Southern Hemisphere.

My wife and I are planning to take a 2-3 week vacation in early January to ge away from work and life for a bit. It's been a rough year, I've had a cascade of GI problems and I"m now down a gallbladder. I'm back to work, back riding a reasonable amount etc etc. Anyway, we are considering a trip to "normal" places like Arizona or California but honestly we've done those quite a bit. Last night I threw out New Zealand as an option and it was met with some favourable response. We've traveled in NZ 10 years ago but me without a bike. We went from Christchurch to Nelson to Wellington to Rotorua to Auckland in about 2 weeks. It was great and so much of NZ reminds me of British Columbia which is why I probably felt so at home. This time we would probably just pick one spot and stay there the entire time with only a few day trips. Really a trip of relaxation and changing our daily routine more than intensive sight-seeing and scurrying around.

So early January, where is the best place to set up with some consideration to riding but also a lifestyle for the non-cyclist? My wife is more of a walker/hiker and enjoys being by the water, likes a good cafe and of course a glass of red wine, while I'm much more a craft beer afficianado. I remember Christchurch seemed like it would be pretty good. I personally really loved the town of Nelson but riding might be a bit limited. Wellington seemed nice but wet and windy. Auckland had too much big city for me from what I saw, in terms of being able to ride. I'll probably bring my steel Hampsten, it's rim brake but mucho clearance so I can run some 32s if the riding would be mixed surface.

Please weigh in Kiwi Weightweenies :)

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Gearjunkie
Posts: 817
Joined: Tue Feb 19, 2008 5:17 am
Location: NZ

by Gearjunkie

Hi BG.

I live in Christchurch, so totally biased - Christchurch is your best choice all the way 8)

Advantages:
+ International airport only 10 minutes drive from centre of town.
+ Not crowded, minimal traffic.
+ Awesome road and mtb trails within 10 minutes riding of Cathedral Square (centre of town). Port Hill have it all, great climbs, great descents, great views, harbour / bays riding and options for longer rides if you are up for it.
+ Earthquake rebuild is now well progressed, so plenty of cool new cafes and restaurants to choose from, plus lots of interesting new buildings (eg: new state of the art library just opened last week, and we have the Southern Hemisphere's largest play ground if you have kids).
+ Best balance of weather in NZ. Dryest part of the country and in January usually great weather. Only downside is it can be a little windy, but head for the Port Hills and you are nearly always sheltered for a good part of your ride.
+ Within easy travelling distance of the Alps and if you are looking for water the harbour is just 5 - 20 minutes drive or go to Sumner for shelter from wind, great sun, nice beaches.
+ And if you do decide you want to look around further, it's a short flight or 5 hour drive to Queenstown or Dunedin.

In short, we have it all :thumbup:

If you make it over, happy to show you the best rides.

Cheers
GJ

by Weenie


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Gearjunkie
Posts: 817
Joined: Tue Feb 19, 2008 5:17 am
Location: NZ

by Gearjunkie

Oh yeah, forgot to say there are also many many walking options for your other half, plus a number of markets, craft etc

Squashednuts
Posts: 368
Joined: Tue Apr 25, 2017 11:12 am
Location: Christchurch New Zealand

by Squashednuts

Hi Bigger Gear,

+1 for Christchurch, complete agree with GearJunkie, for the record also biased live in Christchurch

You've already visited so have an idea of geography, weather and what certain areas have to offer

The Port Hills are brilliant for walking, there are many hills and tracks within 30 minutes of town. Surfing, spend two weeks learning 😃, you won't regret it.
Great coffee shops, nice restaurants and obviously some great rides

If you don't want to rush around there are nice day trips to places like Hanmer.

I know there are people from Wellington, Tug Boat, on this site who's opinion may differ

campbellrae
Posts: 548
Joined: Mon Jul 11, 2011 8:20 am
Location: Glasgow, Scotland

by campbellrae

Another Christchurch resident here, although I'm more recent than the other two after moving last year.

It's a fantastic place for an active lifestyle for the reasons above. Great weather, the port hills are wicked for riding and hiking. Easy access to the Alps for something a bit more spectacular. Plenty of good day or multi day trips. Good wine tours in the Waipara valley an hour to the north.

We also love it around Wanaka, but it can get really busy over the Christmas and New Year period. Nelson is great as well, but the riding isn't the most varied unless you've got an MTB.

Happy to show you around if you do come over!

dereksmalls
Posts: 2091
Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2011 9:20 pm
Location: New Zealand

by dereksmalls

I would agree that the riding in Christchurch is pretty decent, on and off road. Port hills are awesome. Easy to get to other destinations like Wanaka and Queenstown too, either by car or plane. Noth hav great riding on and off road (Crown Range is an awesome climb over to Wanaka and back - plus the wine in awesome to down that way.

I'm in Wellington so I'm pretty bias towards Welly. Weather can be hit and miss, but summer is pretty decent. We are the craft beer capital of New Zealand and probably to coffee capital too. Martinbourough is a 1 hour drive and it is pinot noir country . We have great riding with I think 3-4 mountainbike parks now, plus of course great roads. Climbs aren't too taxing with the highest only just on 500 meters in height.

I wouldn't bother with Auckland.

Squashednuts
Posts: 368
Joined: Tue Apr 25, 2017 11:12 am
Location: Christchurch New Zealand

by Squashednuts

dereksmalls wrote:
Sat Oct 20, 2018 8:22 am
I wouldn't bother with Auckland.
:lol:

glam2deaf
Posts: 706
Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2015 4:36 am

by glam2deaf

Hamilton here, not really worth a visit unless it's just riding you're looking for, though I would say the coffee here is better than anywhere else. Avoid Auckland, it's a hell hole. As derek said Wellington can be hit or miss. Christchurch probably would be the best place, though most of the South Island is premium postcard material too.

grover
Posts: 1144
Joined: Mon Jul 26, 2004 1:06 pm

by grover

Go Christchurch or Queenstown. I'm from Australia. Especially if you've done north island now it's time to go south! Look up a company called Ventouro if you go to Queenstown.

Tugboat
Posts: 289
Joined: Fri Jun 16, 2006 2:40 am
Location: Wellington, New Zealand

by Tugboat

dereksmalls wrote:
Sat Oct 20, 2018 8:22 am
I would agree that the riding in Christchurch is pretty decent, on and off road. Port hills are awesome. Easy to get to other destinations like Wanaka and Queenstown too, either by car or plane. Noth hav great riding on and off road (Crown Range is an awesome climb over to Wanaka and back - plus the wine in awesome to down that way.

I'm in Wellington so I'm pretty bias towards Welly. Weather can be hit and miss, but summer is pretty decent. We are the craft beer capital of New Zealand and probably to coffee capital too. Martinbourough is a 1 hour drive and it is pinot noir country . We have great riding with I think 3-4 mountainbike parks now, plus of course great roads. Climbs aren't too taxing with the highest only just on 500 meters in height.

I wouldn't bother with Auckland.
:thumbup: Another vote for Welly.

Heaps of walking options - waterfront, south coast, all around the town belt, Skyline track, Sanctuary to Sea, City to Sea, Makara. Bit further out of town - Belmont Regional Park, East Harbour Regional Park, Rimutaka Forest Park, Kaitoke Regional Park.

Top notch mountain biking - Makara, Waiu or Colonial Knob MTB parks. Pencarrow lighthouse or Remutaka rail trails for something scenic but relaxing. You can rent bikes very close to Makara park and easily spend a half, or even full day riding in there.

Great road riding - plenty of hills, but also flat options (around the bays on a calm morning or evening is bliss). Only drawbacks are the traffic and the wind (battling into a strong Wellington northerly is fun said nobody ever). And as Derek has mentioned the Wairarapa is only an hour drive away. The road cycling over there is perfect and if you base yourself in Martinborough you can ride up the driveway of any number of vineyards to finish your ride with a glass of vino, or there's good coffee at just about any of the cafes.

Off the bike - Wellington is full of markets, cafes, restaurants, galleries and museums. Mostly all within walking distance of each other.
Last edited by Tugboat on Tue Oct 23, 2018 9:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Nice bike... you ever take it off any sweet jumps?
2018 8bar Mitte | 2016 Canyon Ultimate CF SLX | 2016 Cannondale Synapse Carbon | 2016 Cannondale F-Si Carbon | 2017 Scott Scale (singlespeed)

Tugboat
Posts: 289
Joined: Fri Jun 16, 2006 2:40 am
Location: Wellington, New Zealand

by Tugboat

.
Nice bike... you ever take it off any sweet jumps?
2018 8bar Mitte | 2016 Canyon Ultimate CF SLX | 2016 Cannondale Synapse Carbon | 2016 Cannondale F-Si Carbon | 2017 Scott Scale (singlespeed)

Bigger Gear
Posts: 369
Joined: Fri Mar 27, 2009 6:58 pm
Location: Wet coast, Canada

by Bigger Gear

Thanks for the replies everyone! This weekend we are going to come up with a plan, but as of now it really comes down to Christchurch or Wellington for us. When the date is closer I'll resurrect this thread and maybe I can meet up with some forumites and have them show me the local routes :)

by Weenie


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