Tour Aotearoa - the Full Tour

Cape Reinga to Bluff

The Tour Aotearoa is a 3000km cycle route created by the Kennett Brothers exploring the length of New Zealand from Cape Reinga to Bluff and riding on as many of New Zealand's off road cycle trails and quiet back roads as possible.

Cape Reinga to Bluff
41 days
3000 km
A fully supported version of New Zealand’s classic Tour Aotearoa

We have created a fully supported version of the Tour Aotearoa so that you you can ride the full length of New Zealand knowing that we have got your back! Our tour closely follows this classic route and also includes plenty of quirky extras, stop-overs and special places in the true Escape Adventures' style.

What is “Fully Supported”?

Whether you choose to ride the full length of New Zealand or just one Island at a time - we’ll sort the nitty gritty. Before your tour begins, we will organise all the logistics and book all accommodation.

We will give you daily digital route maps, that you can follow on your phone or GPS, and route cue notes so that you can ride at your own pace, stop when you like to smell the roses and grab a coffee when the opportunity presents, while always knowing that we are there if you need us.

On tour, your awesome Escape Adventures support crew will have your breakfast ready for an early start and provide snacks for you to carry with you. They will provide daily ride information and ride sweep with first aid and mechanical support. Our support vehicle will carry your luggage, and on most days set up a ‘floating picnic lunch’ on route so that you can dine’n’dash and top up on water and snacks. The support vehicle is also there if you need first aid or mechanical support, or if you need a break from the saddle.

Read on the tabs below for the full tour; or click to view individual sections...

The Full North Island

The Full South Island

Fabulous Tour Aotearoa

    Raewyn and Bruce Davidson, 11/05/2022 1:55pm

First and foremost the trip was awesome thank you. The crew were fantastic and we enjoyed every single one of them!! They all worked extremely hard to provide a fantastic experience and did manage to do this so credit to them all! You have an absolutely awesome team and they obviously are very happy to be working with you. This is one of the best things Bruce and I have ever done as a couple in NZ…..and at our ripe old age we have done quite a bit!! So thank you for the opportunity to do this and especially with e-bikes as we could never have even considered doing something like this in NZ with ordinary bikes.

Aotearoa - Land of the Long Bike Ride!

    Annie Hudson, 22/02/2021 5:47pm

Riding the entire Tour Aotearoa was fast looming on my bucket list and when I saw that Escape Adventures were putting this trip together, I was on for it!  Having had 3 most amazing overseas adventures with Escape Adventures I knew that they would provide the most fantastic experience. All I had to do was get to the start, get on my bike and pedal while Escape took care transporting our stuff, organizing food and accommodation. Escape’s support crew were brilliant, so willing to help and support everyone, prepared and provided outstanding meals and snacks in abundance. All in all a absolutely fantastic way of riding some of our fabulous trails, seeing remote and beautiful New Zealand with like minded Kiwis and to achieve a personal goal at the same time. I just loved it!  Riding the length of our country - Aotearoa.

Escape Adventures surpasses them in their organizational skills, adventure and cultural experiences.

    John Webb, Canada, 20/12/2020 12:00am

This is a review of Escape Adventures, based in Nelson, New Zealand.  I have done 3 tours with this family run cycling company. First one in Madagascar in 2018 and then two in 2019: Fiji Islands and Tibet, China. I have prebooked another tour in 2021 in Kenya/Tanzania, Africa. This says it all!  I have done many international tours in the past 20 years such as Ireland, Scotland, Germany, Denmark, Croatia, Spain, Portugal, Cuba 5 times, Costa Rica, Hawaii 3 times.  Escape Adventures surpasses them in their organizational skills, adventure and cultural experiences.

Escape Adventures punches above its weight

    Tom Faulkner, New Zealand, 20/11/2020 12:00am

To the amazing Escape Adventure team. Hope your New Zealand tours are going along well. If they are anything like the two tours I have been on with you guys, (Kenya/Tanzania and China/Tibet) they will be amazing well run trips. These guys know how to run great safe and enjoyable tours. For a small New Zealand Nelson based company they really punch above their weight. Well done Mandy and John. I cannot recommend these guys highly enough. Great company, Great Leaders, Great Fun. Don't just think about it do it. Cheers Guys.

Meeting Point: Pukenui (Kaitaia)
Ride Start: Cape Reinga
Ride Finish: Bluff
Transfers to: Invercargil

How does a 'Supported Cycle Tour' Work?

YOU - RIDE . NAVIGATE . ENJOY . EAT . SLEEP .

WE PROVIDE:

  • Daily ride information.
  • Digital navigation and cue notes.
  • Mechanical and first aid support.
  • Carry your luggage.
  • Ride sweep.
  • Sag Wagon.
  • Breakfasts, lunches, water and riding snacks (and some dinners).
  • All the logistics.
  • And all Accommodation

The Biking

  • A total distance of 3000km spread over 34 days of biking.
  • This is a 'Pedal bike-centric’ cycle tour. Riding distances and overnight stops have been designed around the needs of pedal biking. E-Bikers are welcome to join.
  • Daily riding distances have been planned to be achievable, (but not without challenge) and to allow plenty of time to explore the local towns along the way.
  • We encourage an early start so that you have time to recharge at the end of the day.
  • 31-126km riding per day on wonderfully remote and scenic riding route. Approximately 58% sealed roads / 18% quiet gravel roads / 22% cycle trails and a 90km beach section.
  • There are some big climbs, big downs, undulating coastal terrain and of course there is also some flat terrain.
  • Cycle trails have variable terrain and generally slow riding speed.
  • Dirt/gravel road biking experience will add to the enjoyment of your tour.
  • Our ‘Sag Wagon’ support is available (most of the time) should you need a break from the saddle.

Bikes

The ideal bike for the tour is a hardtail mountain bike or a touring bike with off road tyres. A gravel bike is also an option - but only if you are familiar with riding one on unpaved surfaces! You will need to be able to carry up to 1.5-2L water, a jacket and snacks in a backpack, front roll or frame bag.

Escape Adventures has a small fleet of Trek X-Caliber mountain bikes available for hire in S M L & XL: $950 (subject to availability).  Be sure to let us know if you plan on hiring a bike.

Meals

Included in your tour: All breakfasts and riding snacks, most lunches and three evening meals. (Six lunches are not included).
Six lunches and most of the evening meals (as per the tour itinerary) are in places where there are dining and wining options available - therefore at your own cost and choosing. (This gives you more control over the cost of your tour AND spreads the love supporting local businesses!).  We are most definitely able to cater for vegetarians and special diets. If this includes you, it is essential to advise us of this before your tour begins, so that the support vehicle can be stocked with the necessary supplies.

Typical Meals Include:

  • Breakfasts - Fresh fruit, muesli, toast and spreads, hot drinks.
  • Lunches - Picnic style lunches, fresh salads, cold meats, cheese & bread.
  • Snacks - Fresh fruit, salty snacks, home baking.
  • Evening Meals - At your own cost / Prepared by your local accommodation on occasions.

Accommodation

Accommodation is included for all 40 nights of the cycle tour. Our job is to explore and find the most fitting accommodation to work in with the riding route. Sometimes there is lots of choice, sometimes very little. We will be staying in a combination of motels, hotels, lodges, holiday houses and holiday park cabins. When possible these will have ensuite bathrooms, however in some cases - in holiday houses and holiday park cabins it will be necessary to share bathrooms.

Accommodation is on a share twin basis. If you’re traveling alone, we’ll pair you to twin-share with another biker. If you do not wish to share a single supplement is available. *Single room options may be limited in some locations.

Preparation

This cycle tour includes rides of 31-126km per day.  Please do read about the daily riding distances taking note of the riding terrain in the itinerary below and prepare accordingly.  The more prepared you are the more you will enjoy your adventure!  Preparing for your cycle tour should involve:
- riding on gravel, unpaved terrain and hills. 
- riding 3-4 times a week with rides of 40-80km in length.   

Tour Aotearoa Full Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Pukenui. Meet with your tour leaders & fellow bikers at 5pm for your pre-departure meeting and first meal together.

Day 2: We rise early for a 1 hour vehicle transfer to Cape Reinga to begin our cycle tour. 90 Mile Beach leaves strong memories in the minds of all Tour Aotearoa riders - a crazy way to start… but there you have it. I hope we get a north-easterly! 85km

Day 3: Day two on the bike and its time to start preparing our hill legs for the journey ahead… The day promises stunning NZ bush and views of the Hokianga Harbour on a 10 min ferry to Rawene. 111km

Day 4: The Kauri Coast cycle way fully immerses us into the far north - riding through the Waipoua sub tropical forest dominated by giant kauri. This is the epitome of the far north with quiet roads, quiet towns, wild beaches and some great swimming opportunities. 110km

Day 5: What a clever way to get to the centre of Auckland while avoiding the traffic! We head south down the remote and quiet Pouto Peninsula through farmland and the mouth of the Kaipara inland harbour. We cross the harbour by boat (3 hrs tide dependent) and pedal into Parakai. 69km

Day 6: We’re not in the far north any more! But suddenly in the centre of NZ’s largest, busiest and traffic craziest city. Thanks to Auckland Transport for the convenient cycle routes for getting us there alive! 84km

Day 7: Negotiating the city traffic + tricky navigation out of Auckland city is not everyone’s cup of tea… and the support vehicle is available for those who opt out. Once clear of the city we ride around the firth of Thames finishing on a short stretch of the Hauraki Rail Trail. 117km

Day 8: We get our “groove on” riding the smooth surface and gentle gradient of the Hauraki Rail Trail. We ride the historic railway across the Hauraki Plains and through the Karangahake Gorge all the way to Cambridge. 126km

Day 9: Rest day. Maybe go and visit to Hobbiton movie set or take a walk and explore Cambridge.

Day 10: TA riders tell stories about the Waikato River Trail. Running alongside New Zealand longest river the trail passes a series of hydro lakes, through volcanic landscapes, forest and farmland . Once you’ve ridden it you’ll have your own story to tell! 89km

Day 11: We make a B-Line for the lovely Pureora Forest Park and the topographical centre of the North Island. And then the fun begins! The Timber Trail is famous for stunning stands of virgin forest bush saved from logging in the 1970s. Remote cycle trail and cool bridges bring us to the Timber Trail Lodge. 85km

Day 12: We ride the the second half of the Timber Trail on cycle trail and historical milling tracks down to Ongarue and then onto Taumaranui for the night. 69km

Day 13: We ride the lesser travelled farming roads linking the Timber Trail to Mountains to Sea Route sharing the roads with the local farmers and their sheep. 82km

Day 14: 
Option: Ride the Bridge to Nowhere trail +jet boat. Ride to the Bridge to Nowhere then hop on a 1hr jet boat ride which brings us down the stunning Whanganui River Valley, then ride back to the accom. 69km

Day 15: The Whanganui River Valley has a climate of its own. Take your time rolling up and down (it’s got to be more down than up right?) through this lush river valley down to Whanganui. 98km

Day 16: Rest Day. Explore the galleries and art walks around Whanganui, or maybe its time to give your bike a bit of love?!

Day 17: With a bit of a quirky start to the day we warm up heading east out of town on nice flat quiet farming road. It wouldn’t be NZ without a couple of hearty hills to get your heart happy before hunkering down at the Hunterville Hotel. 67km

Day 18: Some smooth seal starts the day, but soon we're back onto a mix of gravel and farm roads. Taking us from Hunterville to Fielding  93km

Day 19: Leaving Fielding our legs spin like windmills as we crank over Paihitua track. What a wonderful thing a wind powered bike would be! 60km

Day 20: If we get a northerly you’ll have a Porters Pinot in your hand soon after lunch. If we ride into a southerly breeze you’ll just have to wait until dinner time! 114km

Day 21: After a warm up on flat farm roads we meander up the Remutaka Cycle Trail through disused rail tunnels and take in other cool history. Then its down, down, down into the Hutt and cycle trail it all the way into the big smoke. 87km

Day 22:  Today is a rest and relaxation day travelling by ferry from Wellington across the Cook Straight to Picton. In Picton we meet with our South Island crew for your pre-departure meeting and first meal together.

Day 23:  We get our wheels turning on the stunning Queen Charlotte drive.  A shorter riding day offers us time to explore the coastal settlements along the way.  45km

Day 24:  Rich in history the Maungatapu begins gently climbing up through  regenerating bush.  But gentle doesn’t last very long and soon becomes a steep, rocky 4x4 track that will have you negotiating baby head size boulders on the climb and descent. A wee bit of pushing will get you through the worst. Luckily the decent finishes with a smooth valley ride into Nelson City with a swim on the way!  61km.  Note: The 4x4 section is steep and rough and unsupported. Option is to transfer around by vehicle and rejoin after this section.

Day 25:  If yesterday was too exciting for you… today should settle your nerves. We meander out of Nelson on a friendly cycle trail and quiet country roads all the way to St Arnaud.  99km

Day 26:  We stretch our legs today clocking up some kilometers on quiet country roads.  We pass through Lake Rotoroa, some gorgeous native bush and lots of fords. 75km

Day 27:  Good rural farming country meets native bush on lovely quiet little used roads. We pop over Maruia Saddle at 500m, then its a lovely up and over piece of road - rich in bush and birdlife to Reefton.  123km

Day 28:  It’s gently descending all the way to Greymouth.  Pretty much a rest day!  82km

Day 29: Rest day in Greymouth, explore the nearby historical mining towns!

Day 30:  We don our plaid and join the West Coast Wilderness Trail and gently climb to what can only be described as a West Coast icon.  What goes up must come down and this afternoon we do… We enjoy a stunning ride from Cowboy Paradise down to Hokitika via the Lake Kaniere trails.  101km

Day 31:  We absorb the West Coast pace of life on he most recent part of the West Coast Wilderness trail. Coastal cycle trail, secondary roads and finally highway, we enjoy a smorgasbord of farmland, stunning bush and lakes. 124km

Day 32:  Get your hill legs out… its back on our bikes we ride into glacier country.  We set out early to allow time for optional glacial viewing activities for those who wish.  50km

Day 33:  We continue riding south on sealed roads to enjoy this rugged wild west coast coastal section of the beautiful West Coast.  120km

Day 34:  Click into your low gears or crank up your battery we’re going over… Up we go - up and over the Southern Alps. Take it slowly - because there is some great scenery to see!  78km

Day 35:  We ride from Lake Wanaka to Lake Hawea and back to Lake Wanaka.  It sounds like a circle… but it’s not.  It’s quite hilly and can be windy but if we’re in luck the resident nor’wester will blow us to Wanaka with the last part on a fun riverside cycle trail.  75km

Day 36: Rest Day in Wanaka. Central Otago scenery, abundant shopping and dining options or a relaxing walk by the lake!

Day 37:  The Crown Range road is the highest main road in NZ at 1076m and today we ride over it!  We finish the day on the cycle trail into Queenstown.  87km

Day 38:  We begin the day with a 45min boat trip across Lake Wakatipu.  Today is BIG, big scenery, big day, big climb, big down and hopefully a big southland feed!  103km

Day 39: We make a beeline for Invercargill today, quiet roads through rolling farmland. 102km

Day 40:  Did someone day something about cake?  Maybe champagne would be more appropriate as we celebrate a massive achievement - riding the length of New Zealand?
Transfer to Invercargill for the 39th and final night of the tour.  80km

Day 41:  Our final breakfast together on the whole tour.  Stay on and explore the region or travel on to Stewart Island.  For those heading home transfer to Invercargill airport can be arranged.  Drop offs to Queenstown or Wanaka are possible.

*Actual night stops and daily distances may vary depending on accommodation availability.

Trip Prices

Full Tour Aotearoa.  41 days |  NZD $17,200
+Bike Hire if required $950

Full North Island.  21 days |  NZD $9,400
+Bike Hire if required $600

Full South Island.  20 days |  NZD $8,200
+Bike Hire if required $600

Singles: You DON'T have to pay a single supplement!
- If you’re traveling alone, we’ll pair you to twin-share with another biker.
- If you do not wish to share that is fine too, but a single supplement is available. 

Included in your Tour:

  •  40 nights accommodation.
  •  Meals as per tour itinerary.
  •  Two Escape Adventures support crew
  •  Support vehicle & bike trailer.
  •  3x boat transfers.

Tour Price does NOT include: getting to and from Kaitaia/Invercargill, optional activities, personal equipment & some meals as per the detailed itinerary.