Cycling from Auckland to Queenstown

nick.mac
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Cycling from Auckland to Queenstown

Postby nick.mac » Wed Jan 24, 2018 3:31 pm

Hi Guys,

Hope all is well.

Myself and 4 mates have set a daunting task of Cycling from Auckland to Queenstown, New Zealand, for a worthy cause.

We're all fit 28 year olds, however, we have only just started cycling. Our training would be of 9 weeks on the bike. Incorporating interval training and long distance rides on the weekend.

Our plan is to get this done in 11 days, averaging 150kms a day, sleeping in motels, with no support vehicle.

I have added our expected itinerary below. Are we bat shi! crazy? Are there any experienced cyclists who this these distances are achievable. We're expected to carry an extra 10kgs on our bikes. (change of clothes, repair kits, pumps etc.)

DAY1 Auckland airport – Te Awamutu – 167km (0m -180m)
DAY2 Te Amamutu – Taumarunui – 132km (29m – 395m)
DAY3 Taumarunui – Whanganui – 164km (starts at 250m goes up to 821m in first 2 hours then down all the way to 0m)
DAY4 Whanganui – Parapararumu – 144km (0m – 127m)
DAY5 Parapararumu – Wellington ferry – 50km (0m -141m) – FERRY – Picton – Blenheim 27.9km (0m – 91m)
DAY6 Blenheim – Kaikoura – 131km (0m – 195m)
DAY7 Kaikoura – Rangiora – 161km (4m – 247m)
DAY8 Rangiora – Mayfield – 137km (1m – 271m)
DAY9 Mayfield – Tekapo – 118km (152m – 750m)
DAY10 Tekapo – Omarama – 85.8km (757m – 406m)
DAY11 Omarama – Queenstown – 168km (400m up to 962m in first two hours then downhill to 191m rest of way)

I would love to hear any thoughts, or from anyone who has completed something of similar.

Thank you all,
Nick

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RonK
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Re: Cycling from Auckland to Queenstown

Postby RonK » Wed Jan 24, 2018 5:45 pm

I've not been to the North Island, but have done four cycling tours of the South Island.

It may not be a very pleasant ride down SH1. I have ridden this route from Picton to Christchurch and it is a very busy highway. Keep in mind also that the road has been closed for a year to rebuild the highway after the Kaikoura earthquake and roadworks are continuing on this section. I don't know how busy it will be when you ride as the SH1 is only partially reopened now and a lot of traffic may still be taking the alternative route. But apart from Weld Pass it is pretty flat this way.

Kaikoura to Rangiora you have the Hundalees to climb. The elevation gain may not look much but there is a fair of up and down. And there some climbing to do on the way up to Tekapo too.

Omarama to Queenstown in a day would be huge - I have done the 125 km Omarama to Wanaka twice and it was a very hard day. It's not all downhill either, after Lindis Pass there is Cluden Hill to climb, and then lots of up and down once you enter the Kawarau Gorge.

The 3000 km Tour Aotearoa starts on Feb 12 and if I recall correctly the first finisher in 2016 did it in the minimum permitted 10 days. And that is riding an MTB where much of the route is on forest trails and gravel roads. So what you are attempting is not outrageous if you are fit enough. These riders are hardened endurance cyclists though, not beginners. But plenty of less athletic cyclists finish in the maximum permitted 30 days.

One thing you need to consider is the weather. The wind can be a killer if you are unlucky enough to strike headwinds. I have been caught in winds so strong it took me three hours to go 10 km.

I wouldn't put too much effort into interval training. What you needs is kms in your legs. Lots of 'em. And you need to do some training carrying whatever your taking on the bike. I'd be aiming to carry less than 10 kg though.
Last edited by RonK on Wed Jan 24, 2018 5:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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cogs19
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Re: Cycling from Auckland to Queenstown

Postby cogs19 » Wed Jan 24, 2018 5:50 pm

Looks like fun.

I've not done that many days on a tour and normally stick to sub 100km days (usually on a mtb as I like to get on back-roads as much as possible). But I think you'd be fine if you're fit and happy to sit on a bike seat for 7-8 hours a day for 11 days straight.

I would think doing 150kms a day won't give you much time to appreciate where you are or enjoy some site seeing along the way. Personally I'd either go for shorter days (around 100kms) or factor in some rest days - but that's just how I'd do it.

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cancan64
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Re: Cycling from Auckland to Queenstown

Postby cancan64 » Thu Jan 25, 2018 11:39 am

When are you planing to do this and what bikes??
You do want to avoid main roads where possible. I have cycled Auckland to hamilton which was a nice ride and avoided a lot of hills... I do have other routes but this is the best direct route.

havent ridden any of the other places....yet ... but Taumarunui to New Plymouth is part of the Forgotton Highway... well worth trying to get as much of that ride in as possible.

As for the distance, depends on the time of year that you are planning. I am riding the Tour Aotearoa in late Feb/ early March and will have approx 13hrs of daylight and will be riding 200+ a day, self supported but the TA does require a minimum of a CX bike to have some level of comfort . Also remember NZ is lumpy and we are currently in a heat wave and I am hearing of some riders on the Tour Aotearoa course pulling out as they are finding it hot... Auckland is currently just under 30c and humid.

Here is another resource for you as well, some good information and back routes but there is some gravel in his routes and also Th TA course which Ronk linked to but remember they will also take you on gravel or off road tracks where possible
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nick.mac
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Re: Cycling from Auckland to Queenstown

Postby nick.mac » Thu Jan 25, 2018 12:13 pm

RonK wrote:I've not been to the North Island, but have done four cycling tours of the South Island.

It may not be a very pleasant ride down SH1. I have ridden this route from Picton to Christchurch and it is a very busy highway. Keep in mind also that the road has been closed for a year to rebuild the highway after the Kaikoura earthquake and roadworks are continuing on this section. I don't know how busy it will be when you ride as the SH1 is only partially reopened now and a lot of traffic may still be taking the alternative route. But apart from Weld Pass it is pretty flat this way.

Kaikoura to Rangiora you have the Hundalees to climb. The elevation gain may not look much but there is a fair of up and down. And there some climbing to do on the way up to Tekapo too.

Omarama to Queenstown in a day would be huge - I have done the 125 km Omarama to Wanaka twice and it was a very hard day. It's not all downhill either, after Lindis Pass there is Cluden Hill to climb, and then lots of up and down once you enter the Kawarau Gorge.

The 3000 km Tour Aotearoa starts on Feb 12 and if I recall correctly the first finisher in 2016 did it in the minimum permitted 10 days. And that is riding an MTB where much of the route is on forest trails and gravel roads. So what you are attempting is not outrageous if you are fit enough. These riders are hardened endurance cyclists though, not beginners. But plenty of less athletic cyclists finish in the maximum permitted 30 days.

One thing you need to consider is the weather. The wind can be a killer if you are unlucky enough to strike headwinds. I have been caught in winds so strong it took me three hours to go 10 km.

I wouldn't put too much effort into interval training. What you needs is kms in your legs. Lots of 'em. And you need to do some training carrying whatever your taking on the bike. I'd be aiming to carry less than 10 kg though.


Thanks for the info here mate, that's just what I needed. We are looking to log some more Ks under our belts. Basically getting used to long days in the saddle.

That head win sounds like a nightmare.

nick.mac
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Re: Cycling from Auckland to Queenstown

Postby nick.mac » Thu Jan 25, 2018 12:16 pm

cancan64 wrote:When are you planing to do this and what bikes??
You do want to avoid main roads where possible. I have cycled Auckland to hamilton which was a nice ride and avoided a lot of hills... I do have other routes but this is the best direct route.

havent ridden any of the other places....yet ... but Taumarunui to New Plymouth is part of the Forgotton Highway... well worth trying to get as much of that ride in as possible.

As for the distance, depends on the time of year that you are planning. I am riding the Tour Aotearoa in late Feb/ early March and will have approx 13hrs of daylight and will be riding 200+ a day, self supported but the TA does require a minimum of a CX bike to have some level of comfort . Also remember NZ is lumpy and we are currently in a heat wave and I am hearing of some riders on the Tour Aotearoa course pulling out as they are finding it hot... Auckland is currently just under 30c and humid.

Here is another resource for you as well, some good information and back routes but there is some gravel in his routes and also Th TA course which Ronk linked to but remember they will also take you on gravel or off road tracks where possible


Hi mate,

Checked out your ride to Hamilton. Looks like a good route, thanks for that.

We are all on the Norco Search 2018 Model. Thicker tyres with hydraulic dics brakes. We are riding from March 23. Will that still have 13 hrs of day light?

We're doing most of our training in Sydney. At the moment is absolute fire here.

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Re: Cycling from Auckland to Queenstown

Postby cancan64 » Thu Jan 25, 2018 12:49 pm

Going by the Norco web site your bikes are running Panaracer Gravelking 32c just try and go tubeless if they can. I have used the gravelking 35 and have used 32c tyres here so you would think they will be ok.
If you want some off road riding add in the Timber Trail . I have seen this ridden on a touring bike but well worth the detour (not actually a detour but is my favourite track) and easy enough to ride to from Te Awamutu and to Taumarunui. The first part is well maintained but the 2nd half is rough. Your speed will depend on how confident you are off road but I rode it during the night last time and I cant see at night and survived it.
Need to see your next leg to Whanganui, The Tour Aotearoa course uses the Bridge to nowhere trail but this is a very difficult ride and incl a jet boat ride down the river, you will need to check this stage so you dont have any surprises... especially if it has rained and there would be 600+ riders through here the previous weeks

Wellington at that time of year will have 14hrs of daylight, although subject to weather but you will have good riding day, you miss a lot when riding at night. Also be prepared for any kind of weather. temp can change and it has been known to be close to zero at that time of year and last week we had a lot of rain.. NZ weather is changeable and forecasts will change within days
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RonK
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Re: Cycling from Auckland to Queenstown

Postby RonK » Thu Jan 25, 2018 12:56 pm

The Norco Search is an adventure bike, so would have no problems on much of the TA route.

It is fairly highly geared though, so you definitely want to keep the weight down.

What do you propose to carry, and how do you propose to carry it on the bike?
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nick.mac
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Re: Cycling from Auckland to Queenstown

Postby nick.mac » Tue Jan 30, 2018 11:39 am

RonK wrote:The Norco Search is an adventure bike, so would have no problems on much of the TA route.

It is fairly highly geared though, so you definitely want to keep the weight down.

What do you propose to carry, and how do you propose to carry it on the bike?


Basically just a change of clothes for the hotel/second kit/extra socks etc. The bare minimum.

Do you know much about the safety on roads there? A main concern is cars...

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Re: Cycling from Auckland to Queenstown

Postby geoffs » Tue Jan 30, 2018 12:16 pm

It looks like you are just doing kms and will miss out on some really great scenery like the coremandel.
We were last in NZ touring a couple of years ago. Heading south from Tauranga to Rotorua we rode into 45-65 kmh winds. Next day we rode from Rotorua to Taupo, same wind but is was also pouring rain. We had planned to ride accross to Wiatomo caves but thought we'll be smart and ride with a tailwind so we headed to Mata Mata. Wind changed so we had the same strength headwind again. We gave up and rode to Hamilton in the rain and wind and then went and had glorious weather on Waiheke island for a few days. That was in November. We have been there in March and had great weather doing a loop from Christchurch, Queenstown, Dunedin, Picton and back to Christchurch. Just be aware that you wont be able to ride long days back to back if the wind is gusting 65kmh and have some backup plans for if you need to bail somewhere due to the weather

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RonK
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Re: Cycling from Auckland to Queenstown

Postby RonK » Tue Jan 30, 2018 1:18 pm

nick.mac wrote:
RonK wrote:The Norco Search is an adventure bike, so would have no problems on much of the TA route.

It is fairly highly geared though, so you definitely want to keep the weight down.

What do you propose to carry, and how do you propose to carry it on the bike?


Basically just a change of clothes for the hotel/second kit/extra socks etc. The bare minimum.

Do you know much about the safety on roads there? A main concern is cars...

OK, so you should easily be able to manage your gear with a bike packing seat bag and maybe a small handlebar bar.

Haven't been to the North Island, but have done much touring on the South Island. It is more sparsely populated and traffic should not bother you much, but of course it depends on your level of tolerance.

The North Island is much more heavily populated and the roads are busier. I strongly suggest you consider the Tour Aotearoa route as cancan64 has also suggested. It has been planned with the participants safety in mind. Many of the trails sections have on road alternatives, although the trails are some of the best parts of the ride so it would be worthwhile to incorporate them. And your bikes will cope with them.

So maybe reset your target by a few days if necessary and buy a copy of the official guide.

Tour Aotearoa Official Guides
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Re: Cycling from Auckland to Queenstown

Postby cancan64 » Wed Jan 31, 2018 10:22 am

If you want to follow the TA route but save some time I would use the route I Posted from airport to Hamilton, I can get you a route to the TA course from Hamilton and then would use the TA course to Queenstown... would save a couple of 100km by not cycling Hauraki Rail trail although TA course does go very close to the airport.
I also got your daylight hours wrong as well, bank on 12hrs daylight
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nick.mac
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Re: Cycling from Auckland to Queenstown

Postby nick.mac » Wed Feb 07, 2018 12:02 pm

cancan64 wrote:If you want to follow the TA route but save some time I would use the route I Posted from airport to Hamilton, I can get you a route to the TA course from Hamilton and then would use the TA course to Queenstown... would save a couple of 100km by not cycling Hauraki Rail trail although TA course does go very close to the airport.
I also got your daylight hours wrong as well, bank on 12hrs daylight


Hi mate,

Thanks for all your help on this! The TA course is looking like a great option. We have flights already booked home 12 nights after arrival, so we'll be looking to get down there as quick as possible and with little hills! (And avoiding heavy traffic) We've had a look and some of the gradients are (AT) 16....yikes.

Sounds like we're going to take your route from Auckland to Hamilton, so if you can share a route back towards the TA course that would be amazing. Do you know of any easier routes down towards Wellington? Keeping into consideration we're on the clock?

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Re: Cycling from Auckland to Queenstown

Postby mikesbytes » Wed Feb 07, 2018 1:28 pm

I haven't ridden your suggested route but I am familiar with the North Island roads, from inside a cage and/or on a motorbike.

Have a look at the National Route, there's quite a bit of off road paths being/been built and its possible that knowledge on them will influence your route.

Some options on your route are;
Day 1: Ride to Ngaruawahia, which use to be on State Highway 1 and take the road to Te Kowhai where you join State Highway 39, rejoining your route at Otorohanga. There's even a couple of back roads on that but I can't guarantee that those roads are sealed where State Highway 39 + the described connector is. BTY there's a velodrome at Otorohanga, the one that the NZ world champion Sarah U use to train on.

Day 2. If you want to cut back on state highway 3 there are back roads that roughly follow the railway tracks. Once again I don't know if the are sealed but worth checking out. Those back roads will take you to Te Kuiti then, off memory there is less traffic on State highway 30 so you could check the sealed status of the connecting roads at Kopaki and Bennedale

Day 3. I'm suggesting a completely different route, take State Highway 43 to Stratford, its sealed all the way, traffic is really light and its scenic. There's a place to stay, a very small town part way thru, I forget the name. The road from Stratford to Whanganui is good, not too much traffic and not too hilly, by North Island standards :)
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Re: Cycling from Auckland to Queenstown

Postby cancan64 » Thu Feb 08, 2018 11:26 am

nick.mac wrote:Sounds like we're going to take your route from Auckland to Hamilton, so if you can share a route back towards the TA course that would be amazing.


If you go to the Mega Grind GPX folder and download MG17 4 Waingaro to rotorua GPX file. This is the last part of a ride I done last year but has a good route to link up to the TA course. The bikepath to hamilton only opened late last year but is a nice way in.

From the route I had from Auckland to hamilton, once you get to Ngaruawahia you then want to use the Mega Grind route to Arapuni and then use the TA route

TA Route here

I havent ridden further south past the Timber Trail (yet) but the TA course from Whakahoro to Pipiriki can be slow going and involves a Jet Boat ride from the Bridge to Nowhere, but is supposed to be an amazing ride, part of the course that I am looking forward to but to save time you may want to find a different route bypassing the bridge to nowhere.

From the TA route you could go Whakahoro to Ohakune and Ohakune to Apiti and then you are back on the TA route but Whakahoro to Ohakune does have some grade 3 single tracks to ride
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Re: Cycling from Auckland to Queenstown

Postby cancan64 » Thu Feb 08, 2018 11:30 am

If you are going to use the TA route you may want to buy the guide books. there is a lot of useful information in there plus turn by turn instructions. just get the current version which came out November

Mega grind cue sheets in the earlier folder are also good and have Waikato river trail to the end of Timber Trail... they are better than TA cue sheet
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