November 25, 2017

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Cycling around Northland

 There are options for cycling around Northland. The first consideration is where to start the ride. If you are cycling up from Auckland I strongly advise against cycling up the main road to Whangerei as the carriageway is to narrow to provide a shoulder for bikes and the high volume of cars and heavy trucks. It is better to take an alternative route or to catch a bus from Auckland and to start your ride in Whangerei.
Route from Auckland North:

http://newzealandcycletouring.blogspot.co.nz/2015/03/cycle-touring-out-of-auckland-north.html

The first option to see Northland on a bike is to ride the Pou Herenga Tai Twin coast cycle trail which goes from the Bay of Islands to the Hokianga Harbour. Details of this ride can be found on the following link. It will give you a good taste of what Northland has to offer.

https://www.nzcycletrail.com/trails/twin-coast-trail/

If you wish to see the whole of Northland then the following route will allow you to do this.


I have just completed a 750 kilometre ride around Northland that started in Whangerei and went up the east coast and then to Cape Reinga and then went down the west coast to Dargaville. From there we cycled back to Whangerei. There are some big hills to ride up but there are some great beaches and places to stay on the route.







On the first day from Whangerei to Whangaruru we went on a back country route which avoided the main road.  It was shingle which can be difficult to ride on.


If you stay at camping grounds these usually have choices of camp sites and huts which are ideal for cycle touring. On the second day we headed to Kerikeri a distance of 76 kilometres and on the following day we rode to Matauri Bay. This is a great beach with a camping ground on the foreshore. There was big hill out of Matauri Bay as we headed to Cable Bay via Russell and Waitangi.




Matauri Bay
There is a spectacular coastline to ride along and there are some big hills. We then rode out to the Karikari Peninsula which is a very worthwhile optional side trip. From there we went to Awanui on our way up to Cape Reinga.



Cape Reinga is the place to start if you are doing an New Zealand end to end cycle ride.


After you have reached the top it is time to head down the west coast to Dargaville and there some very interesting places and towns to visit. You need to catch the ferry from Kohukohu to Rawene. Opononi is a very attractive seaside town. On the way down this coast again there are some big hill climbs.



Opononi
 We rode the 82 kilometres from Dargaville on back roads wherever possible to avoid the traffic.

This round trip while fairly demanding because of the hills was a excellent cycle touring route provided you have sufficient time to enjoy the towns and beaches that you visit. It is best done at a leisurely pace.

My Northland Ride Video:


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