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New Zealand Adventure

Old 08-31-09, 10:58 AM
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New Zealand Adventure

Hello, new member here from Fort Collins Colorado - one of the great biking towns! Next year Im planning on taking my Raleigh Sojourn to the o' so distant New Zealand and need some help, tips, you name it.

The big question is weather, see my trip would be around July, well that's the best time for me to do this and I know that is basically their winter. Wondering, how bad is their winter, what is the weather differences between the North and South island, and a really good one...

Have you ever been to New Zealand and what didjathink? This is my first BIG tour, I've only done overnighters to Boulder and up Rist Canyon, do you have any tips... I'm sure that question is way to common so feel free to not turn er' blind eye.

Anyways, I'm excited and if you know anything about this far off place I'd be most appreciative.

Last edited by jojama; 08-31-09 at 11:28 AM.
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Old 08-31-09, 11:47 AM
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Sounds like a bad idea to me. You can look at weather data yourself. Look at a map of NZ, select both coastal and inland towns on both islands, and see what's typical in July.

https://www.weatherbase.com/weather/c...p3?c=NZ&refer=

Besides cool or even cold weather, you'll also have short daylength to contend with. NZ is not in the tropics. If you can only get away in July, I would urge you to pick a place which has good weather in July.

I've toured twice in NZ. 1st time was Nov-Dec, 2nd time Dec-Jan. I obviously enjoyed it, or I wouldn't have returned. I don't quite consider it the Shangri-La of touring that some do, but it's certainly far better than average. It's is a great place for hiking, IMO.

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Old 08-31-09, 02:18 PM
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Close to you in Loveland is the PEDAL bike club. One of the members (Dave) is from New Zealand and could probably give you good first-hand discussion and leads on some of your NZ questions.

I've only been to New Zealand once and that was for four weeks in December/January. During that time I cycled across the North Island, flying into Auckland and out of Wellington (https://www.mvermeulen.com/oneyear/nzealand.htm). I liked what I saw. Quick impressions I had of the North Island:
- lots of variations in pretty short distances
- fair amount of hills; compared to Rist or Boulder Canyons think of short and repeated hills rather than longer canyons to ride. Grades occasionally steep; though Rist has some of that too near the top
- I overlapped during their Christmas holidays and there was a fair amount of traffic near Auckland and not very wide shoulders

I didn't go during their winter and so wouldn't have anything to add to that conversation.

I've heard the South Island is quite different and that is on my list too, though I would probably pick the summer rather than winter.
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Old 08-31-09, 09:34 PM
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I've toured both islands of New Zealand, but I'm not sure I'd schedule a winter tour there. For one thing, it's going to be freezing (the South Island was colder when I was there in summer than most places I've been get in winter). As someone already pointed out, the days will be VERY short. You'll probably be looking at sunrise around 7.30-8.00am and sunset quite possibly by around 4pm. It's also worth noting that you're likely to encounter substantial road closures in the mountains if you go at that time (especially in the South), and there may be ice on the roads as well.

If you absolutely must go at that time, I'd recommend sticking to the North Island. The coastal scenery around the East Cape is pretty good, but in my view, the dirt roads on the remote coastal areas of the Coromandel Peninsula are more exciting scenically. There's also the Northland area to the north of Auckland, which I've heard is beautiful (I haven't been there yet, so I don't know), and would probably be quite rideable in the winter. I'm not sure how long you have on this trip, but maybe you could think about just doing the North Island this time, and leaving the South for another time when you can go during a warmer time of year. You'll probably find plenty on the North to keep you occupied anyway.
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Old 12-15-09, 05:46 PM
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Have you ever been to New Zealand and what didjathink?
Been there - I live there and love it, whether its dirt or the dark side you'll have a blast but I do agree that July isn't the best time (also not the worst!) to come.

Check out www.vorb.org.nz or join FaceBook Group "No Boring Bits - Hamilton's Social Psychlists" and you'll find plenty of friendly locals that'll only be too happy to help.

Cheers from downunder
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Old 12-15-09, 07:07 PM
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Went in July to both islands and found it to be VERY cold. North island was a bit milder than the south island but still cold. I did some white water rafting on the north island and nearly froze my boobs off. I went snowboarding at several resorts on the south island and nearly lost my fingers and toes. It gets damn cold in NZ in the winter. I know this is a bike forum but I suggest you go by car if you can't wait until the weather heats up.
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Old 12-16-09, 02:34 AM
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Auckland and the top part of NZ never get snow. I don't think Auckland even gets frosts. But they do get unpleasant weather.

The Desert Road through the middle of the North Island gets closed at some point every year due to the snow. That will usually happen around July or August.

The South Island gets colder as you head south. The lowest temperature in Central Otago was -22C, which is getting pretty serious even for someone from Colorado. I was hiking in Fjordland a couple of years ago and we had snow in late November/December. My parents can remember snow in Dunedin on Xmas day, so the south can definitely be cold.

However, the rain is likely to be more of an issue than snow. In July, at least in Christchurch, there is a good likelyhood of a solid week of cold rain.

I, like most people on this thread, would advise caution. At least have a backup plan in case the weather is foul.
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Old 12-16-09, 12:23 PM
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If you must, I'd suggest the north half of the north island. The south island will be downright cold in July unless you're exceptionally lucky. We felt the cold winter winds coming our way in late April.
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Old 12-16-09, 12:57 PM
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Hey folks, this is an old thread.
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Old 12-16-09, 01:04 PM
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I never toured NZ by bike. I had a car and it was a long time ago. One thing I have not seen mentioned is that on South Island there are not that many East-West Roads and the ones I am aware of go over some pretty nasty Mountians. I recall staying at Mount Cook and coming out to nearly an inch of ice on the windshield of the car.

I think the stick to North Island advice is good. Do be ready for rain. I recall many days of light rain, nice in a way, but if not well equiped or if you dislike riding in rain it would ruin things.

Ther is one plus to going off season. Space in Hostels is apt to be there. I stayed in many when I went and in the larger ones it was like sleeping in a great auditorium, nearly empty. Also be aware they have campgrounds with cabins in many areas. Those would be booked full in season, easy to get a space off season.
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