Author Topic: NZ - A Gr8 place to tour!  (Read 5538 times)

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Offline heathermilliken

NZ - A Gr8 place to tour!
« on: January 19, 2005, 05:20:16 am »
We have just finished 28days touring the Sth Island of NZ (again!).  We are from NZ, so perhaps a little bias - still we wanted to give you some insights for all you pedal anxious people out there about where to go and ask you all some questions that will help us with our plans.

In NZ you can travel SUPER light.  You need to be fairly fit as often you might not see a town for 80kms or so (if you are taking the quiet back roads) - but its easily achievable because you can carry less load.  We have backpackers that are around $18 - $20 per night per person (and yep if you want a double room the price doesn't really go up!), and cater for all your needs.  It would be very uncommon for them not to have a washing machine and dryer (usually about $3 for both), linen, pillows, and a kitchen which will often have plates, cutlery and cooking hotplates etc.  (we would reccommend taking a cup and spoon of your own though).

What is the set up like on the TransAmerica trail?  We are doing it in May and all the American's we have met have intimated that it isn't quite as well set up as NZ?  Do we need a tent?  If not - what about sleeping bags?  Do you have a similar Backpacker set up?  It sounds like its more likely to be cheap motels?

Anyone out there done it?

And anyone out there that want hints or info on NZ - bring it on!!

Cheers, Heather

This message was edited by heathermilliken on 1-19-05 @ 1:47 AM

Offline valygrl

NZ - A Gr8 place to tour!
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2005, 06:06:24 am »
Hi Heather, good on ya for your tour!  I rode in NZ last February-March, and did a cross country trip here in the USA this past summer.   I wish I had known about the great facilities at the Holiday Parks and Backpackers there, I wouldn't have bothered with a stove... although i used the heck out of my tent.

In the US, there is never a kitchen in a campground or RV park - if you want to cook, you must bring your own stove and everything else.  Motels are generally at least $30, and more often $40+.  Backpackers (we call them hostels) are very rare, and usually are just in larger urban areas.  Camping here is generally charged per site, not per person, so it's possible to share to save money.  RV Parks (most like Holiday Parks) are $15-25 and have coin-op laundry (about $3-4 for wash and dry).  They usally are pretty ugly and noisy.  National park/forest service campgrounds are $5-10, and usually just have water, pit toilet and picnic table.  These were my favorite - they are usually in a beatiful natural setting, often with a river or lake to jump in.   Some local parks (city, county) allow you to camp for free, I checked at town hall or the police station to see if that was ok.  Stealth camping is possible, but I didn't do much, so I have nothing to recommend.  

If you are going to camp, you will need your own sleeping gear and rain protection.  Campgrounds don't provide anything.

Not all small towns have motels.  I didn't do the TA route, so I can't speak for what it would be like to do that using only motels, but the route I took wouldn't have worked without camping.

I found camping and cycling gear to be a whole lot cheaper here than there, so you could try going light and then buy stuff here if you need it.  Try and for good stuff, good deals, and overnight shipping.

Have a great trip!


Offline JayH

NZ - A Gr8 place to tour!
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2005, 11:42:55 am »
Nice folks, NZ sounds like a cool place to tour.  As far as campsites, I think between campsites, you'll have to differentiate between public campsites (Run by the state government) and private ones. Every private campsite that I stayed in on my way to Maine had a kitchen and a general store. Some even will cook for you. Believe me, my friend and I took advantage each time we were in a private campsite to simply buy something there and have them cook it. Each public campsite that we stayed in had no kitchen facilities other than a picnic table.  But I think most private campgrounds cater to a lot of the RV folks and therefore, they'll have cooking facilities. Of course, it's generally more expensive than a state-run facility.  

All of the campgrounds we stayed in on our trip to Maine were pretty much 100% RV campers and little ole us in my Shires tarptent :-)  My, you should of seen some of these RVs, they're 10 times nicer than my house.


Offline TheDaltonBoys

NZ - A Gr8 place to tour!
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2005, 03:14:41 pm »
I must echo the sentiments made by the Kiwis. At any Holiday Park (found on both North and South Islands), the fee for camping is $10.00NZ per night. All of the campgrounds were not just clean...they were sterile and an absolute joy!! I suggest Lake Wanaka on the S. Island. Unlike the Aussies, there are no nasty deadly critters, just a biting fly that with some DEET won't bother, but when they bite you really know it! Also a parrot whose name escapes now but delights in tearing/biting anything rubber. Last two things....try the whitebait sandwich, and remeber as a "Yank" and during their "Super Bowl" for rugby, the answer is "...I'm for anyone who plays against Auckland". I happen to prefer Canterbury. All the Best.

Offline SP

NZ - A Gr8 place to tour!
« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2005, 09:35:18 am »
The best guides for cycling in NZ are the 2 books by Nigel Rushton " Pedallers' Paradise". There is one for North Island and South Island. For off road adventures there is "Classic New Zealand Mountain Bike Rides" by By Jonathan, Simon and Paul Kennett, and Patrick Morgan. ISBN 0-9583490-6-1 . A very informative book by locals who are big into MTBing.

I can attest to the excellence of Motorcamps and the hostels in NZ, I have done 2 major trips to the South Is and have hardly ever used my stove, now I just take it for emergiencies.