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Park and Ride - Cycling in NZ

​​See more, do more, and have more fun by bike on your Britz campervan holiday

Lee on the Ohakune Old Coach Road
Lee on the Ohakune Old Coach Road

First, a confession. We love hiking – known in New Zealand as ‘tramping’ – so much that we’ve written two books on the subject. The truth is, however, that most of our outdoor adventures are now experienced on two wheels. Our campervan never goes anywhere without our beloved bicycles the back.

We’re not the only ones who’ve made the switch from hiking boots to bikes, either. And that’s because there’s never been a better time to cycle off-road in New Zealand. A combination of better bikes and heaps of hard work from cycling advocates has driven the building of great new trails, from urban cycleways to cross-country epics, while scores of existing walking tracks have been converted to dual use. The icing on the cycling cake is the New Zealand Cycle Trail – launched in 2011 – a series of 22 routes through spectacular landscapes.

The trails are remarkably diverse. Mostly off the beaten track and situated throughout New Zealand, they pass through high-country farms and coastal duneland, along river valleys, lake edges and estuaries, through alpine gardens, golden meadows and deep green forest. Some follow historic byways such as bush tramlines and stock droving routes. Many feature information panels where you can learn a bit of local history or savour an extra special view.

This is all good news for bike-loving Britz travellers, because the majority of these new trails are easy and can be bitten off in bite-sized pieces. Smooth riding surfaces and gentle hill climbs have taken the ‘mountain’ out of mountain biking, making them family-friendly and fun. Most are easily accessible, with maps, advice, bike hire and shuttle transport situated where you need them. Many have cafes, country pubs and other life-saving stops along the way.

What’s more, alongside the cycle trails are some beaut places to park your Britz campervan – from Department of Conservation (DOC) and District Council nature campsites, to holiday parks with hot showers and maybe even a spa pool. Some Holiday Parks Association members are so bike-mad they’re designated as Cycle Hubs, promising on-site trail information and secure storage as well as connections to bike hire, transport and mechanical support.

Unsurprisingly, travellers have been quick to cotton-on to the benefits of cycling because no other outdoor adventure offers so much in so little time. Fancy exploring Nelson’s wineries but don’t want to drive? Leave your campervan at Tahuna Beach Holiday Park and cycle the Great Taste Trail. Want to venture deep into the rainforest but feel like fish and chips for lunch? No problem. Ride the West Coast Wilderness Trail from Cowboy Paradise to Kumara and dine in the splendid Theatre Royal pub. Interested in immersing yourself in pioneer history amidst the foothills of a live volcano? Park up in Ohakune and pedal along the Old Coach Road. All are unforgettable, achievable day-trips, with folks standing by with bike hire and shuttles to make it happen.

Britz is well and truly on the cycling bandwagon with their ‘Britz Bikes’ packages. Customers who hire out of Auckland and Christchurch can tag on bikes for as little as $13 per day: either hybrid models suitable for town riding and gentle country trails, or mountain bikes for more rugged terrain. Britz’s bike racks can be fitted to both their campervan and cars, and all the necessary equipment (helmet, pump, repair kit, lock, etc) is provided. Optional extras such as panniers and night-lights are also available.

New Zealand’s cycling revolution is unstoppable, with more and more riders – of every age and ability – hitting the trails and loving it. They’re discovering this beautiful country in a fulfilling, exciting and healthy way – with the sun on their face and sweat on their brow, with great big grins and helmet hair. These are days that make memories.

Book a Britz Campervan
Hire bikes with your campervan with Britz Bikes
Explore the New Zealand Cycle Trails
Discover more cycle trails at NZbyBike
Plan your 100% Pure New Zealand adventure
Stay in Holiday Parks, DOC Campsites and other locations

Posted by:
Sarah Bennett & Lee Slater - @BennettnSlater on Twitter
Posted on:
Britz, Travel, campervan, camper, cycle, cycling, cycle trail, bikes, britz bikes, great taste trail, west coast wilderness trail, ohakune, old coach road, auckland, christchurch
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