Tour Aotearoa, Full Length NZ Cycle Tour

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Why Book With Us?

  • Small cycle groups
  • Hand-picked Cycle Tours & Activities
  • Family Run Business
  • 41 Days
  • 12 People Per Tour
  • Fitness Level: 2 - 3
  • Fully Supported Bike Tour
  • 3000 km
  • Cape Reinga to Bluff

Tour Aotearoa - Full Length NZ Cycle Tour, see New Zealand's back roads by bike

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.

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 a “Fully Supported New Zealand Cycle Tour”?

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.

Departure & Return Location

Meeting Point: Pukenui (or optional transfer from Auckland)
Ride Start: Cape Reinga
Ride Finish: Bluff
Tour Finish: Invercargill

Price Includes

  • 40 Nights accommodation
  • Meals as per tour itinerary
  • Two Escape Adventures tour leaders
  • Support vehicle & bike trailer
  • 3x Boat transfer

Optional Extras

  • Bike Hire: If required hire fee is NZD $950 (Pedal Bike)
  • E Bike Hire: If required hire fee is NZD $2,400 (Available November 2023, bookings essential)
  • Transfer from Auckland to Pukenui $375pp (includes bike transport, one extra nights accommodation & one extra breakfast)
  • Bike Collection (to transfer your bike Auckland to Pukenui) $50 per bike

Price Excludes

  • Airfares, visas, or airport taxes
  • Optional activities and excursions
  • Some meals as per the detailed itinerary
  • Personal equipment
  • Getting to and from meeting points Kaitaia/Invercargill

Solo Travellers - Single Supplement

  • NO Single Supplement! If you’re traveling alone, we’ll pair you to twin-share with another biker. (same gender)
  • If you do not wish to share that is fine too, a single supplement of $3500NZD will apply. NOTE Single rooms will be provided where available however in some places you will be required to share a bathroom.

Itinerary - Tour Aotearoa – Full Length NZ Supported Cycle Tour

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: Cape Reinga, 90 Mile Beach

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!

Cycling Distance: 85km.

DAY 3: Biking to Hokianga Harbour

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. 

Cycling Distance: 111km

DAY 4 Cycling Kauri Coast Forest

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.

Cycling Distance: 110km

DAY 5: Remote Kaipara inland harbour by bike

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.

Cycling Distance: 69km

DAY 6: Bike Auckland City

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!

Cycling Distance: 84km

DAY 7: Cycle the firth of Thames

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.

Cycling Distance: 117km 

DAY 8: Hauraki Rail Cycle Trail

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 then divert west all the way to Cambridge.

Cycling Distance: 126km 

DAY 9: Cambridge & Hobbiton Movie Set

Rest day. It’s your choice… visit the Hobbiton movie set that’s close by or take a walk and explore Cambridge.

DAY 10: Cycle Waikato River Trail

Running alongside New Zealand’s longest river, is the amazing Waikato River Trail. Our riders tell stories about the Waikato River TrailThe trail passes a series of hydro lakes, through volcanic landscapes, forest and farmland . Our escape riders always tell stories about the Waikato River Trail…once you’ve ridden it you’ll have your own stories to tell! 

Cycling Distance: 89km

DAY 11: Bike Pureora Forest Park

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. 

Cycling Distance: 85km

DAY 12: Historical Timber Trail Cycle Trail

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.

Cycling Distance: 69km

DAY 13: Lesser-travelled farming roads

We ride the lesser-travelled farming roads linking the Timber Trail to the Mountains to Sea Route, sharing the roads with the local farmers and their sheep.

Cycling Distance: 82km

DAY 14: Ride the Bridge to Nowhere Cycle Trail

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 accommodation. 

Cycling Distance: 69km

DAY 15: Whanganui River Valley

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. 

Cycling Distance: 98km

DAY 16: Whanganui Rest Day, Local Sightseeing

Whanganui Rest Day, Local Sightseeing. Explore the galleries and art walks around Whanganui, or maybe it’s time to give your bike a bit of love?

DAY 17: Cycle Hills to Hunterville

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.

Cycling Distance: 67km

DAY 18:: Biking Hunterville to Fielding

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

Cycling Distance: 93km

DAY 19: Paihitua bike trip

Leaving Fielding our legs spin like windmills as we crank over the Paihitua track. What a wonderful thing a wind-powered bike would be! 

Cycling Distance: 60km

DAY 20: Cycling Northerly or Southerly Wind?

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! 

Cycling Distance: 114km

DAY 21: Remutaka Cycle Trail

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 onto the Hutt River cycle trail, all the way into the big smoke.

DAY 22: Wellington, Ferry Transfer Day

Our final breakfast together in the North Island before heading for the ferry across the Cook Strait to Picton. 

DAY 23: Bike Queen Charlotte Drive

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.

DAY 24: Off Road to Nelson City

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 4×4 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 4×4 section is steep and rough and unsupported. Optional transfer around by vehicle and re join after this section.

Cycling Distance: 61km

DAY 25: Exploring the Great Taste Cycle Trail to St Arnaud

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. 

Cycling Distance: 99km

DAY 26: Discover Lake Rotoroa

We stretch our legs today clocking up some kilometres on quiet country roads.  We pass through Lake Rotoroa, some gorgeous native bush and lots of fords.

Cycling Distance: 75km

DAY 27: Bike the Maruia Saddle

Good rural farming country meets native bush on lovely quiet little-used roads. We pop over Maruia Saddle at 500m, then it’s a lovely up-and-over piece of road that is rich in bush and birdlife to Reefton. 

Cycling Distance: 123km

DAY 28: Cycling Greymouth

It’s gently descending all the way to Greymouth.  Pretty much a rest day!

Cycling Distance: 82km

DAY 29: Rest Day In Greymouth

Rest day in Greymouth, explore the nearby historical mining towns.

DAY 30: West Coast Wilderness Cycle Trail

We don our plaid, 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.

Cycling Distance: 101km

DAY 31: Coastal Cycle Trail

We absorb the West Coast pace of life on the 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.

Cycling Distance: 124km

DAY 32: Riding Into Glacier Country

Get your hill legs out… we’re ride into glacier country.  We set out early to allow time for optional glacial viewing activities for those who wish. 

Cycling Distance: 50km

DAY 33: Wild West Coast Cycling Journey

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

Cycling Distance: 120km

DAY 34: Cycle Through The Gates of Haast

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!

DAY 35: Bike Lake Wānaka

We ride from Lake Wānaka to Lake Hāwea and back to Lake Wānaka.  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 Wānaka with the last part on a fun riverside cycle trail.

Cycling Distance: 75km

DAY 36: Rest Day in Wānaka

Rest Day in Wānaka. Central Otago scenery, local activities, abundant shopping and dining options or a relaxing walk by the lake.

DAY 37: Ride The Crown Range

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.

Cycling Distance: 87km

DAY 38: Bike Lake Wakatipu

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! 

Cycling Distance: 103km

DAY 39: Pedal The Southland Plains

We make a beeline for Invercargill today, quiet country roads through rolling farmland. 

Cycling Distance: 87km

DAY 40: The last hoorah.. Cycling Invercargill to Bluff!

Rolling cycle trail towards the iconic feature that announces the official end to your epic adventure! Celebrations at the signpost. Then transfer to Invercargill for the final night of the tour.

Cycling Distance: 31km

DAY 41: Our Final Breakfast

Our final breakfast together on the whole tour, time to wave goodbye until the time comes for another Unforgettable Cycle Tour.  Transfer to Invercargill airport can be arranged.  

Photos from the Tour Aotearoa - Full Length NZ Cycle Tour

Map - Tour Aotearoa - Full Length NZ Cycle Tour

Cycle Tour Aotearoa - Full Length New Zealand Cycle Tour Frequently Asked Questions

Escape Adventures fully supported bike tours have been running for decades, if you have any questions "just ask us"

The biking lowdown

  • 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.

What does “Fully Supported Cycle Tour" mean?



  • 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

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.

How fit do I need to be for this cycle tour?

This cycle tour includes rides of 31-126 km per day. Please do read about the daily riding distances taking note of the riding terrain in the itinerary and prepare accordingly. The more prepared you are the more you will enjoy your adventure! You should be comfortable riding 3-5 times a week with regular rides of 30-80km in length. Preparing for your cycle tour should involve gravel, dirt and off-road riding, with some hills.

Preparing for your cycle tour should involve:

  • Riding on gravel, unpaved terrain with some hills.
  • Ride 3-4 times a week with rides of 40-80km in length.   

Support: Our trusty support vehicle carries all your luggage, has lunch, snacks and water at hand, and is there if you need a break from the saddle.

What type of bikes do we ride?

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 have a small fleet of bikes and E-bikes available for hire available for hire in S M L & XL. (Bookings Essential).

Trek X-Caliber hardtail mountain bike $950
E-Bikes (Brand and Model tbc) – $2400 (Available from November 2023)

When you hire one of our bikes – they are maintained by us and kept in excellent running condition.  Contact us if you plan on hiring a bike.

What kind of meals do you provide?

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.

What kind of accommodation can I expect

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 and an ensuite bathroom is not always available. 

What is the maximum size of the cycle group

This trip has 6-12 guests, plus two experienced Escape Adventures guides.

4 Reviews
Sort By:RatingDate

Tony McPherson

Solo Traveller

Tour Aotearoa with Escape Adventures certianly exceeded expectations, very well organised and supported by our tour leaders Theresa and Tim.
Commencing the trip not long after cyclone Gabrelle had passed through Aotearoa, we were amazed how quickly roads and tracks had been reistated, but the scope for full restoration of damage will be a massive project.

What a great way to experience many parts of NZ you would not see other than on these trails and backroads.

The growth in camaraderie for those on the tour continues with both Kiwi and Overseas bikers.

I highly recommend Escape Adventures from a mature biker who has booked another tour with Escape Adventures in 2024

Tony McPherson

September 3, 2023

Jeanette Waters

Solo Traveller

Escape Adventures have exceeded my expectations across the board. I just need to ride, enjoy scrummy breakfast and lunch spreads and know the accommodation was sorted. Enthusiastic leaders, manageable but challenging days followed by cruisey. I’m 75, on an e-bike and now 1500kms cycled. Just come and do it!! No regrets!!

November 25, 2022

Raewyn & Bruce Davidson

Couple Traveller

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.

May 11, 2022

Annie Hudson

Solo Traveller

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.

February 22, 2021