Starting on Coromandel and then down to South Island
Landed in Auckland on Feb. 1. Mark picked me up the next day and we took the scenic route through Thames and Coromandel. I spent a couple of weeks with Mark on Coromandel surfing and doing day rides. This included parts of the Hauraki Rail Trail, and a 3 day ride around the northern tip of Coromandel.
I then took the train from Hamilton to Wellington, and met Jelle (pronounced Yella, he's Dutch). Then the ferry to Picton.
From Picton I rode on solo to Nelson and then to visit Harmony in the Motueke Valley. I then rejoined Jelle in St. Arnaud and we rode the Rainbow Trail to Hamner Springs. After a rest day in Hamner Springs we took a shuttle to Christchurch to avoid a busy highway, and then rode for 5 days on the Canterbury Plains to reach the start of the Alps2Ocean Trail at Lake Tekapo.
We spent another 5 days riding the Alps2Ocean Trail which was probably the highlight of the trip, especially the first few days in the mountains. From the end of the trail at Oamaru we took another shuttle to Dunedin to position us to ride the Otago Central Rail Trail.
From Dunedin we took the scenic Taieri Gorge Railway to the start of the trail in Middlemarch. Then 4 rainy days on the Otago Central Rail Trail to Clyde. I parted with Jelle in Clyde and rode back on the Otago Central Rail Trail, this time in 3 sunny days. This time I got a shuttle ride back to Dunedin. I took one more day ride out the Ortago Peninsula, sold my bike to Tony, and flew home.
One thing a little differnt on this tour is that I avoided highways and took a few shuttles to get to the places I really wanted to ride. Highways in NZ are narrow with little or no shoulder and a 100 kph speed limit. Not at all bike friendly. But the back roads and trails are great, and there are lots of shuttles (usually large vans with bike trailers) to get you from place to place. So avoiding the busy highways was not difficult.
Looking at the map I guess what stands out is all of the places I didn't get. There is much more to see on the North Island, and the West Coast of the South Island is very lush and scenic. Perhaps I'll get to go back and see the places I missed.