Our 6 week New Zealand Cycling Route

How much time do you need to cycle New Zealand? Seriously, a lifetime isn’t enough time to see everything. But this is what we managed to squeeze in in our 6 weeks!

Our Six Week New Zealand Route

We planned out a very rough schedule and route before we started in a previous post. But this is what we ended up doing!

This is by no means the best route or the most efficient way to see all of New Zealand. But I think it does offer a good starting point for anyone trying to plan a trip!

We had some days off at the end of our time in New Zealand to visit some friends and do some personal things, so this is really more like 5 weeks of cycling, tbh.

Day 1Fly from Canada
Day 2Arrive in AucklandTo our hosts’ home in Auckland31
Day 3Rest – Explore Auckland
Day 4Aukland Pokeno65
Day 5PokenoTe Aroha94
Day 6Te ArohaMatamata + Hobbiton Movie Set63
Day 7Matamata Waiotapu113
Day 8WaiotapuTaupo65
Day 9TaupoTurangi61.5
Day 10Hike Tongariro Crossing (Mt Doom)
Day 11TurangiMangaweka113
Day 12MangawekaManakau (south of Levin)133
Day 13ManakauWellington94
Day 14Explore Wellington
Day 15Ferry across Cook Strait to PictonHavelock45
Day 16HavelockNelson75
Day 17NelsonGlenhope104
Day 18GlenhopeBerlins109
Day 19BerlinsPunakaiki80
Day 20PunakaikiMoana87
Day 21MoanaArthurs Pass Village66
Day 22Arthurs Pass (hike Avalanche Peak)Jacksons33
Day 23JacksonsPukekura105
Day 24PukekuraFranz Joseph87
Day 25Franz JosephLake Paringa102
Day 26Lake ParingaPleasant Flat Campsite98
Day 27Pleasant Flat CampsiteWanaka99
Day 28Half rest day in WanakaCrown Range Summit39
Day 29Crown Range SummitQueenstown (through Arrowtown)40
Day 30Rest in Queenstown
Day 31Rest in Queenstown
Day 32QueenstownAlexandra106
Day 33AlexandraRanfurly (via Otago Rail Trail)87
Day 34RanfurlyMiddlemarch (via Otago Rail Trail) 64
Day 35MiddlemarchDunedin83
Day 36Explore Dunedin
Day 37Bus to Christchurch
Day 38Rest in Christchurch
Day 39Rest in Christchurch
Day 40Rest in Christchurch
Day 41Fly to Auckland – Day in Auckland
Day 42Fly back to Canada!

The funny thing is that our original “destination” was Queenstown. But when we realized how much time we still had, we decided to add a few more days of cycling and cycle to Dunedin. Funny how these things happen, you can never anticipate it.

Otago Rail Trail, just outside of Alexadra

New Zealand has so many great cycling routes and trails that you can explore. The one that we did start to finish is the Otago Rail Trail. The main reason why we did go on trails so often is that they are really made for mountain bikes with some cushion and wide wheels. Our hybrid bikes (which are more like road bikes than mountain) just couldn’t take the gravel and we’d be going way too slow. But the trails offer some amazing scenery that only cyclists get to enjoy (sorry cars + camper vans).

I’d highly recommend seeing NZ by bike. It is just about the perfect size, not too big, not too small, easy enough to get around. We met a ton of other cyclists. So you’re sure to make friends and a bike repair shop will not be too far out of reach.

Do you have any experiences cycling in New Zealand? How does our schedule compare? What would you hit up that we missed?! Let us know and we’ll add it to our next trip. 🙂