Autumn: The Perfect Time to Cycle in New Zealand

New Zealand’s myriad cycle paths are attractive at any time of year, but as summer turns to autumn, there are a plethora of organised cycling events to tempt you to don your cycle helmet and padded shorts and hit the road.  Here’s our New Zealand Cycling events coming up over the next month.

New Zealand Cycling Events in Autumn

New Zealand Cycling Events: A cycle tourist at Island Saddle between the Wairau Valley and Hanmer Springs in New Zealand
A cycle tourist at Island Saddle between the Wairau Valley and Hanmer Springs in New Zealand

Forrest GrapeRide, Marlborough

When?  28 March

Why?  Beginning at the Forrest Estate Winery, this scenic circuit traverses vineyards and affords riders spectacular views of Marlborough Sound and its beautiful beaches.  There are three courses: a 42km taster, the 101km main event and a 202km route to give serious riders a workout.  But given this is wine-making country, the event also sees a hundred female riders channel their inner Lucille Ball and participate in the 100 Virgin Grape Crush.  Riders are selected at random, and are put to work squishing three tonnes of pinot noir grapes destined for the bottle.

New Zealand Cycling Events: Wairau River and valley looking down river
Wairau River and valley looking down river

Crankworx, Rotorua

When?  25-29 March

Why?  Crankworx is the biggest mountain biking festival in the world and it descends on Rotorua at the end of the month.  Riders compete in a comprehensive programme of events spanning five days, covering all the Crankworx categories including Speed and Style, Slopestyle, Enduro and Downhill.  The championships will launch from the Skyline Rotorua Gravity Park and other rides will showcase some of the area’s best scenery, such as the Whakarewarewa Forest and Mount Ngongotaha overlooking Lake Rotorua.

New Zealand Cycling Events: Boulderdash, Whakarewarewa Forest, Rotorua. Rider: Keegan Wright - Giant NZ. Photo: John Colthorpe, Eivomedia
Boulderdash, Whakarewarewa Forest, Rotorua. Rider: Keegan Wright – Giant NZ. Photo: John Colthorpe, Eivomedia

Contact Epic, the Ultimate Mountain Bike Challenge, Wanaka

When?  18 April

Why?  Contact Epic is a 125km ride that circumnavigates Lake Hawea, on New Zealand’s scenic South Island.  This challenging race passes through beautiful Hunter Valley and the Dingle Burn farming stations rising and falling over a rocky and undulating track.  This is no gentle Sunday afternoon cycle ride in the park, it’s a testing endurance race to thrill the adventurous and get the adrenaline pumping.

New Zealand Cycling Events: Lake Hawea, New Zealand
Lake Hawea, New Zealand

Tour of New Zealand 2015

When?  11-19 April

Why?  The 2015 race will be the third Tour to take place.  An eight-day amateur event, participants can choose to ride north across South Island to Wellington, or approach the capital from the opposite direction, traversing North Island.  All riders should expect to cover around 100km a day, converging on the grounds of Parliament on the eighth day to celebrate making it to the finish line.  Generally speaking, most riders finish up each day about lunchtime, leaving the afternoons free to explore their surroundings at each night’s pit stop and thus making this the perfect way to spend a week’s holiday.

New Zealand Cycling Events: New Zealand government "Beehive" and the Parliament Buildings
New Zealand government “Beehive” and the Parliament Buildings by Partyzane, CC BY 3.0

If the above-mentioned tours are too adventurous for you, there are plenty of other bike tours in New Zealand that you can try.

About JuliaHammond

Website: http://www.juliahammond.co.uk

Julia Hammond is a Geography teacher turned travel writer with a passion for places. Winning Mail Travel's Deep South competition was the catalyst to write for a diverse range of publications including Bradt's Bus Pass Britain Rides Again. She’s written Kindle guides to Cape Town, Peru and London for Unanchor and advice on Savannah for Wanderlust. When not travelling, she can be found at home in Essex planning her next trip, her two golden retrievers curled up at her feet.

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