CYCLING TOURS AND HOLIDAYS | New Zealand - Tour of the North 2022

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Auckland to Wellington

This tour has been delayed from 2021 because of the cancelled Bush Classic. (due to COVID) We are anticipating this event to be up and running again in 2022.

04-15 March 2022 (12 Days / 11 Nights)

Bike tours are all about finding the right balance. The perfect mix of cycling, sightseeing, cafes, restaurants and rest. RIDE holidays promise a fantastic 12 days in some of New Zealand's most scenic regions. Non-riding partners are very welcome and will be well looked after. You will have a local Team Mac (non-riding) guide in each region we visit.

Overview of the Tour

We start in our largest city, Auckland - the City of Sails before steadily heading south to the capital city of Wellington. Along the way we spend time in the Central Plateau where we ride on a live volcano. We also spend 2 nights on Lake Taupo which is the largest lake in the Southern Hemisphere. Next stop is the wine region of the Hawkes Bay. Towards the end of the trip we join 400 others in a charity sportive which features the very best Wairarapa country roads.

Like all Ride Holidays trips there will espresso, latte and cappuccino ride distances to choose from. There will be some relaxed days and some very challenging riding.

One thing for sure - we will eat well. This trip is designed around high-quality accommodation, amazing restaurants and yes - great wine. This is my playground - if I had a spare 12 days then I would simply do the following.

Look forward to showing you around.

Karl Woolcott

Tour of the North - Auckland to Wellington | Tour Details

Tour Inclusions & Highlights

  • Cycle one of New Zealand's top rides - The Central Plateau in Tongariro National Park.
  • Private BBQ on Lake Taupo (includes trout fishing)
  • Hand-picked cafes and restaurants only a local would know.
  • Ride up a live volcano - Mount Ruapehu
  • Ride New Zealand's 5th longest hill (Wellington)
  • Multiple ride options for varying abilities.
  • RIDE Holidays cycle jersey and souvenir tour booklet.
  • GPS routes available for upload to personal devices.
  • Explore Wellington's Weta Workshop.
  • Various wine and beer tastings.
  • Local tour guides throughout for Team Macchiato.
  • Souvenir tour booklet.
  • 4-star accommodation. Except for Pahiatua.
  • Specific training program from a professional coach.
  • All breakfasts & dinners, 3 lunches and some cycling snacks.
  • Entry for the Bush Cycle Tour.
  • You are also donating ¼ of a bike for a kid in need.

    The Tour Price Excludes

    • Airfares
    • Meals not indicated in the itinerary
    • Alcoholic beverages
    • Travel insurance

    The Tour Cost

    • 12 days / 11 nights NZD5995.00 per person
    • NZD900.00 extra for your own room.

    Optional Extras:

    • Bike Hire NZD650.00

    Due to the current Covid-19 uncertainty - There is no deposit to be paid on this tour. Please ignore the invoice that is automatically generated. We will monitor the coronavirus situation and keep you posted if this changes. Please do not book flights until we have advised to do so. At this stage - balance is due 60 days prior to departure.

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      Auckland to Wellington Tour Itinerary

      Day 1, Friday 04 March

      Welcome to New Zealand

      Ideally you would arrive by mid-afternoon. Our hotel is conveniently located at the airport and the hotel offers a free shuttle service.

      New Zealand's (Villa Maria) most celebrated winery is only a 5min drive away. We've organised for a tasting late this afternoon. Let's start off how we wish to continue.

      It's then time for our welcome dinner. Let's eat sheep. We are in NZ after all and there there's almost 60 million to choose from. (yes, vegetarians will be well catered for)

      We'll run through the next couple of weeks over dinner and introduce the team. It's fantastic to have you here and we can't wait to show you our playground.

      / Accommodation: Auckland Airport
      / Meals Included: Dinner & wine tasting

      Day 2, Saturday 05 March

      Central Plateau

      We depart Auckland early to avoid the traffic. (yes, it's as bad as Sydney)

      The National Velodrome in Cambridge is located halfway to Turangi which is our destination for the next couple of nights.

      Let's stop for coffee at the track. Actually, let's do more than that. We'll be greeted at the Avantidome by Cycling New Zealand who will show us around. And yes, they'll provide us bikes for an hour so we can all have a go at track cycling. Just how steep are those banks?

      We plan to arrive in Turangi mid-afternoon which is the gateway to the magnificent Tongariro. New Zealand's oldest national park and a dual World Heritage area. This status recognises the park's important Maori cultural and spiritual associations as well as its outstanding volcanic features.

      We'll put all the bikes together in our designated bike room and then pop out for a short spin just to make sure things are working properly. (body and bike)

      Tonight - some of you may feel like an evening stroll along famous Tongariro river. (one of the best Trout fishing rivers in the world)

      / Accommodation: Tongariro Lodge
      / Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

      Day 3, Sunday 06 March

      100km of Pure 100% New Zealand

      Live volcanos, ski fields, country roads, remote lakes - you won't forget today.

      This morning we've booked a great little fishing café for breakfast. In fact - it's opening just for us. It really is a must and a great way of starting the day.

      There will be a variety of rides on offer. The shortest being 50km. Ideally - all cyclists will end up at the top of Whakapapa ski field. The views are unforgettable. The longest ride is to and from the hotel which checks out at just over 110km and almost 2500VM. Ouch. We will have vehicles with us so those who want to ride less can do so. No pressure.

      This afternoon we can look at either… a, running you to the local hot pools. Or b, taking you to the trout hatchery which is well worth a visit.

      Tonight, we share a meal and celebrate our first decent ride together.

      Team Mac : Tongariro National Park is a must… You simply must see it. The only difference being that you'll take the gondola up to the next level. We've also factored in some quality walking time.

      / Accommodation: Tongariro Lodge
      / Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

      Day 4, Monday 07 March

      From the Mountains to the Lake

      We say goodbye to Tongariro National Park and ride (hotel to hotel) to the other side of the lake and the town of Taupo.

      Every November the BDO Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge attracts thousands of cyclists. Making it New Zealand's largest cycling event. Today, we ride the exact route in reverse. The maximum ride is a shade over 110km, and we'll have pull out options at the 50 and 80km mark. In saying that - we have all day so you may as well ride.

      At the 90km mark there's the gorgeous little town of Kinloch. That's our lunch spot. Yes - the coffee is goooood. The final 20km to our hotel is a bit lumpy but you'll be a climbing legend after yesterday's Whakapapa climb.

      Team Mac (non-riders) we've arranged a walk for you on the Tongariro River Trail. So, while we are riding - you are walking. We'll then meet up in Kinloch.

      Tonight, we've booked our favourite restaurant. As mentioned, this tour isn't a weight loss program.

      / Accommodation: Taupo
      / Meals Included: Breakfast and Dinner

      Day 5, Tuesday 08 March

      BBQ, fishing and a cruise on Lake Taupo

      What a day we have planned. Our breakfast café is about a 30min bike ride away. We then hit the road… Our first goal is the 10am Aratiatia Dam release. A must here in Taupo. We'll cover a gentle 60 - 80 km today. The last 2 days were quite heavy. (for the espressos we are talking over 300km in 3 days)

      You'll also visit the magnificent Huka Falls. A foot bridge right at the top of the falls puts you in a prime position to get up close and witness the frightening display of more than 220,000 litres of water blasting by every second.

      We stop for a coffee and cake late morning at the Prawn farm. The Prawns are delicious however it's the view from the café deck which is the real draw card. Coffee and cake are on us.

      This evening we've booked a private 4-hour cruise on Lake Taupo. We'll fish on the way, Taupo is well known for having the world's biggest and angriest trout. One or two will feature at our on-the-lake BBQ dinner in a secluded bay.

      Team Mac : After breakfast, Sandy (our local Team Mac guide) will take you to all of Taupo's highlights. Along the way you'll bump into some fine-looking athletes… Ahh, that would be us. Seriously though - we have access to e-bikes while in Taupo so if you would rather join us on the road then you are very welcome.

      / Accommodation: Taupo
      / Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner while on the boat

      Day 6, Wednesday 09 March

      Wine country

      Yesterday was pretty full on. I know it's going to sound strange, but I think we should start today with a spa. Not just any ordinary spa. The natural thermal springs at Wairakei can't be missed and we didn't have time yesterday. So, after breakfast let's dig out the togs. I promise you won't regret it.

      The 2hr drive from Taupo to Napier is better than the ride. It's a narrow road with very little verge. Quite simply - it's not worth the risk so let's drive and then ride.

      In my humble opinion the Hawkes Bay is NZ's premier wine country. Without doubt the wineries themselves have the best restaurants and cafes so we'll take advantage of that.

      I bet you thought today may actually be a rest day. You would be wrong. Our vehicles drop us off at Napier and we'll ride to our hotel. It's one of the countries longest bike paths at just over 30km. We take a few detours though to bring it up to a shy 50.

      Our accommodation tonight is a small boutique hotel in the town of Havelock North. Which acts as the epicentre of this wine region. I don't want to make out that this is a drinking tour - but hey, there's also a craft brewery we should check out.

      Tonight, we dine in one of the best wineries NZ has to offer. You won't be disappointed.

      / Accommodation: Havelock North
      / Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner

      Day 7, Thursday 10 March

      Big day in the saddle

      Our plan is simple for both cyclists and Team Mac. To show you as much of the Hawkes Bay as possible. (Team Mac - you will have a local guide showing you the sites for today)

      High on the cycling agenda will be the Tukituki valley. It's a favourite valley for me as there's a magnificent river flowing through it… funnily enough, it's called the Tukituki river.

      Anyway - our biggest ride on tour is only 48 hours away however we can rest tomorrow so let's budget on 100km today with shorter pull out options. (just a reminder - we'll always have support vehicles close by)

      The goal is to be back at the hotel by early afternoon. By day 7 there's washing to be done and emails to be answered.

      Our hotel restaurant is very good. Let's keep things simple and eat at home.

      / Accommodation: Havelock North
      / Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner

      Day 8, Friday 11 March

      Café ride...

      After breakfast we pop out for a short coffee ride. Team Mac follow us in the car as we enjoy a country coffee.

      We think it's important that you learn about our people. New Zealand is a proud nation and we are very proud of our Maori heritage. We've been in touch with iwi (people) from a small Marae (meeting house) about an hour's drive south from our hotel. They will welcome us and then share the culture and history that makes New Zealand the place it is today.

      Our home for the next two nights is Pahiatua in the northern Wairarapa. Home to the Ride Holidays cycle festival which features tomorrow's Bush Tour. (charity ride)

      We've booked out a lodge (retired hospital) for the whole weekend. There are about 100 beds. Everywhere you look will be pink and navy as all our loyal clients descend upon this small town of 4000 residents.

      Tonight, we are having dinner at the Black Stump Café and our other clients will join us.

      / Accommodation: Pahiatua, Masters Hall (please note - very simple clean accommodation with shared facilities)
      / Meals Included:Breakfast & Dinner

      Day 9, Saturday 12 March

      The Bush Cycle Tour

      It's not the biggest sportive in the world however it's growing. And we plan to make it the best. This is the 3rd year that RIDE Holidays have really got in behind it. We're expecting up to 100 of our loyal clients to ride today. For us it's all about quality and the Bush offers that in spades… Quality course, Quality Organisation and Safety, Quality post event entertainment, food and drink. And the start / finish is only 4km away from our accommodation.

      Speaking of the start…. It's in the grounds of the iconic Tui Brewery. That's got to be a good thing. You can choose between two distances. All feature stunning rural roads. Make sure you stop for the Ride Holidays coffee and cake cart. It's a carrot cake and it's bloody marvellous. Just wait and see.

      The 128km ride runs through picturesque country roads. This ride is not to be taken lightly with almost 1800VM. Or, the more relaxed - 80km option. Same quiet country quiet roads but not quite as hilly. Maybe a slight false flat.

      The fun really starts after you've finished. You'll see some top notch local food, craft beer and local wine. And that's just for lunch. After prize giving we'll head back to our digs for a shower and refresh.

      Tonight, we head back to the Black Stump. It's a great meal and there will be a few stories told.

      / Accommodation: Pahiatua, Masters Hall
      / Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

      Day 10, Sunday 13 March

      Something different…

      A short ride prior to a late breakfast. Let's get the legs moving. Only 30km however it's guided by the race director from yesterday - Kevin Laskey. We call in to the Black Stump on the way back to our accommodation for breakfast which obviously includes coffee.

      We say goodbye to all our fellow RH mates and head in different directions.

      Our destination is Martinborough - one of the country towns that make up the Wairarapa. It's about a 2-hour drive. After lunch will no doubt be one of the tour highlights. A beautiful 3 hour walk through the Patuna Chasm. I played in the Chasm as a kid and try and bring all my clients here as it's breath-taking. See the beauty of this native bush and limestone gorge. Experience the fossils, ferns, stalactites, waterfall & eels that live in the Ruakokoputuna river.

      It's then about a 90min drive to our final destination. Kia ora, welcome to the coolest little capital in the world (that's a fact).

      / Accommodation Wellington
      / Meals Included: Breakfast and Dinner

      Day 11, Monday 14 March

      Wellington Wind

      Other than being a gorgeous city with a stunning harbour - Wellington is known for having fantastic restaurants and cafes. In fact, it has more restaurants per capita than New York and without a doubt the finest coffee on the planet. (today you will see plenty of that)

      I've spent my whole life riding bikes around Wellington. I can honestly say that the biking here is some of the best in the country. It's exceptional. But hilly… and on the odd occasion - windy.

      We start the day off by riding our bikes to a café that's opening just for us. It has fantastic views of the city. We'll be able to point out today's ride route.

      After breakfast we simply ride… ride for fun. We won't be racing. The idea for today is to cover as much ground as possible and drink as much coffee as you can handle. We'll start off with a 30km coastal ride which is flat as a pancake. And finish off with NZ's 5th largest hill which offers stunning views of the South Coast as well as the South Island. Most of us will cover around 80km (some shorter, some longer) today however that will include 1500m of climbing.

      While we are riding - Team Mac have a their own 4x4 safari of Wellington's South coast. We then all catch up at the Weta Workshop - home of where hobbits are made.

      Tonight, we dine together for the last time. We say cheers to all that we've achieved over the last few days - some fantastic cycling, new friends and old, stunning meals and of course some of New Zealand's best scenery.

      / Accommodation: Wellington
      / Meals Included: Breakfast and Dinner

      Day 12, Tuesday 15 March - Depart

      Home James

      Wellington is worth more than a couple of days so we would encourage you to stay longer. The #1 tourist attraction in the country is Te Papa (museum) and we didn't have time yesterday.

      Those heading to the airport today will be looked after. We'll drop you off.

      Otherwise - thank you travelling with Ride Holidays. You are now part of the RH family. We appreciate your loyalty. We hope you'll join us on one of our other worldwide adventures.

      Until next time. Safe travels. Safe riding.

      Thank you for your company,

      / Meals Included: Breakfast


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