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Fully-laden Touring on New Zealand Cycle trails

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Fully-laden Touring on New Zealand Cycle trails

I am flying to Auckland next month to tour NZ for 3 months, starting with N Island. I'm looking for info on how a fully-laden touring bike and rider (me!) would fare on the NZ cycle trail network, much of it offroad. I'd prefer to stay off road much of the time and wild camp (or freedom camp as you say in NZ).

I am pretty fit and an experienced tourer (I cycled around Australia 2007-08). The trails are graded from 1 to 5 I'm guessing that 1 and 2 will be OK for a tourer but 4 and 5 will be too hard. Although I'm not in a hurry to get anywhere.

How about Grade 3 trails, which many of them seem to be designated? Can anyone comment on how they would be for cycle touring?

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Hey, We found that grade 3

Hey,

We found that grade 3 were hit and miss. Some were ok with just steep sections to negotiate but a good solid surface. If wet, they would not have been good.

Others had serious sand sections that were impossible to cycle on with a fully loaded touring bike. Pushing was equally hard.

On the whole, roads were fine and a good map will help you avoid the worst sections of major highways.

Also to note, wild camping in New Zealand was tough. Of the 23 countries we cycled through on our last tour, NZ was the hardest country by far in which to wild camp. Fences, local authority security patrols and a swarm of camper vans make it very very difficult, especially in the North Island. Check out DOC campsites which range from free to $6 in the south and free to $10 in the north. Better than several hundred dollar on the spot fines.

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I don't see your name, but

I don't see your name, but thanks for that, useful. I will have the 1:50000 maps on Satmap device.

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Oops, yes I see your names :)

Oops, yes I see your names :)

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When I rode the north island,

When I rode the north island, I attempted a couple of the trails but the fences and gates they use to keep motorbikes and cars out really put me off the trails. Sometimes there would be a gate every couple hundred meters and the only way to pass was to completely unload the bike and push it through. So I ended up sticking to the roads more than I would have liked.
I remember paying twice in about two months for a Doc site and just camped the rest of the way. I agree it can be tricky to find good spots and sometimes you have to climb fences, check out abandoned houses and of course... Wool sheds are some of the nicest free places to camp. Also, I use a hammock which makes it possible to just push the bike into the bush alongside the road and camp. Using a tent you are more limited and you would have to ask the farmer for permission occasionally if you are stuck.

In any case, the north island rocks as well and is really worth riding although I found out more difficult than the south island.

Rock on!

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Gates are a bummer - which

Gates are a bummer - which trails were they, Paul. Nice to be reminded that wild camping is always possible.
How about wool sheds? Are these in remote places without much risk or Farmer Giles attacking me with his pitchfork :)
My tent is small and doesn't need much space. How about in the Park areas, are there really patrols all over the place looking for errant campers?
I take pride in leaving a camping site completely clean and pristine, but I understand why the rules were laid down, for some who abuse the countryside.
Many thanks for your reply.

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Thinking about the gates....

Thinking about the gates.... I remember the rimutaka incline having loads at the end but the trail is awesome though. To be honest I didn't get the chance to ride many trails as I was mostly along the east coast.
The woolsheds are all around the rural area and aren't used very often. Also, most of nw Zealand is very rural and if you ask people they will often help you out.
I camped in some city parks but only when it was raining.
As a general rule I set up my gear when its dark and pack up very early.
I always told myself the camping laws are to regulate the campervans and backpackers because in the past they have been known to make a mess of some areas.
As a cyclist, we have many more options, we don't have to camp right in the open.
You'll be fine.

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Thinking about the gates....

Thinking about the gates.... I remember the rimutaka incline having loads at the end but the trail is awesome though. To be honest I didn't get the chance to ride many trails as I was mostly along the east coast.
The woolsheds are all around the rural area and aren't used very often. Also, most of nw Zealand is very rural and if you ask people they will often help you out.
I camped in some city parks but only when it was raining.
As a general rule I set up my gear when its dark and pack up very early.
I always told myself the camping laws are to regulate the campervans and backpackers because in the past they have been known to make a mess of some areas.
As a cyclist, we have many more options, we don't have to camp right in the open.
You'll be fine.

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