New Zealand became a popular country for doing cycling holidays a while back. Films like Lord of the Rings helped show people how amazing the countryside is here, with majestic snow topped mountains, eerie forests and rolling hills.
Now contrary to what you see in the films, we don’t actually have talking trees, Hobbits (but we do have furry feet!) and Wizards but what we do have are some amazing locations for people to cycle in and around.
So here are some of my personal favourite places which are ideal for cyclists wanting to see great views and experience something unusual.
The Coromandel Peninsula
Located in the in the North Island, cyclists will enjoy some beautiful views including forests, mountains and seascapes.
One of the very popular places in the Peninsula is the Hot Water Beach. Hot water from an underground river flows below the beach, so it’s become popular for visitors to dig a mini hot spring pool in the sand and relax in the hot water.
Another popular attraction is Cathedral Cove which you have to walk to or use a boat. It is a marine reserve, so it contains a wide range of sea life, as well as lots of caves to explore.
You can ride along most of the coast of the Peninsula, either staying on the main route 25 road (probably best for beginners) or venturing off to ride on the smaller roads to see the lesser known towns such as Opito Bay.
The Fox Glacier Route
The west coast of the South Island contains some real glaciers which is one of the must see places in New Zealand. The main two glaciers are the Fox Glacier and the Franz Josef Glacier.
The number 6 road which rides through the towns near these glaciers is mostly great for cycling with a mixture of sea, forest and mountain views. It can be quite challenging at times so give yourself plenty of time to ride there.
As well as the stopping at the two glaciers for a day trip, a great place to stop for the day is Lake Matheson which has a café and a walking course around the lake. What I loved about this location was it had a perfect view of Mount Cook. The lake is quite near the Fox Glacier town.
The Hanmer Spring Route
Also in the South Island, the road which runs past the popular Hanmer Springs is great for a pleasant cycle ride with a wide variety of views including forest which sometimes arches over the road and wide-open plains.
The springs are a great place to relax for a couple of hours but there is enough there to stay the day, plus they have accommodation for guests wanting to sleep the night.
I personally prefer the route riding from Christchurch, past Culverden, past the springs (stopping there for a good couple of hours) then ride onto Maruia Springs (which is another hot spring but in a Japanese style), stay there for a couple of hours then do the ride back.
I enjoyed Maruia Springs because all their hot springs use real untreated spring water which I’ve read can be good for the skin. Make sure you put on plenty of insect repellent though as it can be a problem. The food at Maruia was great as well; I especially enjoyed their egg benedict with smoked salmon.