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Old 08-04-11, 10:40 AM   #1
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South Island or Tasmania?

My wife and I will be taking a one month visit to NZ in February, 2012. She doesn't ride a bike so it will be by car, likely seeing as many of the "highlights" of NZ as possible in a month.

After she leaves, I can spend another month riding my bike around.

Would it be better to go to Tasmania, a place I haven't ever been to, or to spend more time in NZ's South Island probably riding a bike through places I recently drove through?

I realize this is a hard question to answer for someone else. I was just wondering of the relative merits of South Island NZ versus Tasmania for bike touring in March.


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Old 08-04-11, 01:44 PM   #2
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The weather will probably be fairly similar. Tasmania is smaller and you will have to fly through Melbourne or Sydney to get there.

Both places have their merits so it is probably a matter of you doing some research on the internet and deciding on what you want to see.

The Aussie dollar is very strong at the moment (as is the Kiwi $ in relative terms) so NZ is likely to be cheaper when coverting from USD.
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Old 08-05-11, 08:16 AM   #3
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I hate to say this as an Australian but I'm just not sure how welcoming Tasmania would be to a cycle tourist. Tasmanians are in the middle of long running conflicts over environment vs resources and a cyclist would be seen to be firmly on the environmentalist side. You may not be treated well by the logging truckers.

I'm not sure really. You may be better off staying in NZ but see if you can find some Tasmanian cycling groups.

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Old 08-05-11, 08:18 AM   #4
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South island NZ hands down... Spectacular place... The East coast is a bit flatter with glacial sediment, but cycling through the midlands (ie to places like Mt Cook village) would be spectacular (been there a few times, never cycled it...)
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Old 08-09-11, 04:36 PM   #5
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My two cents

G'day Ray,

I cycled Tasmania a couple of years ago and it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. It is 37% old growth forest (maybe less now) and there are a lot of amazing hikes there. However, I have heard that the south island of NZ is brilliant as well, so I think you're in a win-win situation.

What AnthonyG said about the political climate in Tasmania has some truth in it. The logging trucks did not make much of an effort to drive around us in Tasmania, but I would assume that would be the same everywhere. There are only a few regions in the west where they are currently logging, and it would comprise less than 5% of your total distance around Tasmania. On that note though, it wouldn't be a bad idea to look into touring bicycle insurance.

Cheers, Paul
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Old 09-07-11, 09:54 PM   #6
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I've toured on both, and also on New Zealand's North Island which is worth a visit in it's own right. I didn't have any problems at all with the logging trucks in Tasmania, but that may only be because I come from Queensland and am already used to anything a bad driver can throw at me. In fact, the worst drivers I saw in Tasmania all had Queensland registration, go figure.

From my experience, it comes down to a question of how much you like cold weather. I found the South Island a lot colder than Tasmania, or indeed, anywhere else I've ever been (including Scotland). The weather in March may be more amenable to cycling in Tasmania, but if you're already visiting the South Island beforehand, you can make that judgement when you're there.

Whichever you choose, just make sure you set aside time to ride the other one at some point in the future. You won't regret it.
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