New Zealand: 3,400km of Photos and LogisticsĀ 

New Zealand is beautiful; white sandy beaches, tall majestic mountains, and crystal clear rivers around nearly every bend, so, without further ado, here it is in photos!

   
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
  
As you can see, New Zealand is a very beautiful country with a lot of offer for those who enjoy the outdoors. There are over 900 backcountry huts which many hikers, climbers, and hunters enjoy (and a few which bikers can get to as well), and the rivers, besides being stunning, are known for world class fly fishing. It would be a fun place to live for a year (or lifetime) in order to explore the hidden corners of the diverse islands, especially since the locals were some of the most friendly human beings we have ever gotten to know. That being said, if we were to come back we wouldn’t do so by bike, nor would we come back in the peak Jan-Feb summer season, but rather we would come with packrafts and backpacks in the off season in order to explore further into the backcountry.

New Zealand is a very popular tourist destination, much more popular than I had ever realized, and in Janauary through March the country (particularly the South Island) is absolutely heaving with tourists which for cyclists means the roads, which don’t have shoulders, are much busier. Though other cyclists we met who had cycled premonitory in Western Europe said it was what they were use to, we found it really busy compared to any other country we have been to. We also found that New Zealand seems to be a great place for credit card touring or shorter (1-3 day)  bikepacking excursions on trails that the New Zealand government has set up, yet cycling through the country as a way to get to know the country as a whole wasn’t something we will do again.

It was the first place we have cycled that had restrictions surrounding wild camping (due to the sheer number of tourists throughout the country trying to camp) which was hard for us in a few ways. First off, it made the trip very expensive as sites throughout New Zealand cost 15-22NZD/person in areas without DOC sites (which cost 8-13NZD/person). Secondly, we realized that self-sufficiency – pumping our own water, carrying food for days at a time, finding a campsite wherever we happen to end up – is one of the most important aspects of cycle touring for us and by having to camp in actual sites we found that the “adventure” part of cycle touring sort of disappeared. Plus, we found it crazy to camp with dozens or hundreds of others in camp sites though often that was our only option.

 This campsite had rows and rows of campers – over 300 people were staying there every night! Though in other countries we feel that cycling has gotten us away from tourists as it takes us through the in between, here in New Zealand the in between no longer exists as everyone has campers which take them there as well. 
Along this trip we also realized that learning about other cultures is a part of cycle touring that we hadn’t given enough credit, and with New Zealand being so similar to our own home, we realized that we were missing that during this trip. Though we picked New Zealand because we wanted an “easy” country for our honeymoon, I think we have both realized that “easy” maybe isn’t our thing. In the future I’ll happily take street food that may make me sick, charades and mispronounced words every time we want to buy something, and little lines on maps which may or may not lead where we think they will.

While New Zealand is a wonderful country and we have many fond memories from this trip, on the whole we don’t feel that cycling through it was the best way for us to explore it. Just like back home in Oregon we would rather have seen it through various mountaineering, backpacking, and packrafting microadventures and saved cycle touring for less developed, less touristic places. hope you can use the information on this post to make your own judgement about whether you would like to visit, when you want to do so, and whether it will be by bike or not!

Kevin and I have now moved to La Grande and restarted work and look forward to focusing on Oregon based microadventures which we plan to share in the near future!

 

Gear, Routes, and Rings: Honeymooning in New ZealandĀ 

“Let the dream devour your life so that the life does not devour your dream.”

  
Kevin and I are currently sitting at the airport in Sydney waiting for our final flight of the day which will bring us to Auckland, New Zealand, where we will begin our three month cycle touring honeymoon. We left straight from our two-day wedding campout – which took place around a huge campfire in a ranch at Silver Falls State Park – and can’t wait to begin life as a married couple on our bikes enjoying the absolute freedom that cycle touring brings.

I got the snow I had been dreaming of, and though the recent ice storm made it impossible for some of our guests to arrive, for those who made it it was absolutely beautiful! There will be more photos in the coming weeks once our photographer has a chance to go through them all.

  
Our plan these next three months is to cycle through the mountains partially using New Zealand’s new  bikepacking “Great Divide” route – Aotearoa – and partially following whatever mountains and rivers seem most appealing as we make our way south. We are setting out with our typical overarching goals as well; to find beautiful small rivers to fish, peaceful and breathtaking places to camp, and small rough mountains roads to climb. 

  
Though I still have a comprehensive gear post from our last big trip, I figured I would give an update for this one-season summer trip as we have been able to reduce our gear to just our back panniers. For information about packing for a multi-season world tour or for more about our bikes feel free to check out our previous post about gear

Clothes (for one person)

 

1 light down jacket

1 rainpants + rainjacket 

1 warm hat

1 sunglasses

1 buff

1 cycling gloves

1 neoprene gloves (going downhill in the rain = very unhappy frozen hands)

1 neoprene socks (so that I can wear Keens when it’s raining)

3 small bags (to sort and hold clothes)

1 thin fleece jacket 

1 pair track-pants 

1 Icebreaker 200 merino wool base layer

1 thin (silk/merino wool) leggings base layer

1 pair keens (I wear these in all seasons with different layers of socks)

1 running shoes

2 cycling shirts (not cotton)

1 spandex shorts

1 knee length shorts (cycling or around town)

2 thin socks/ 1 longer thing sock/ 1 big socks

2 sports bras/ 8 underwear

1 dress (for around town and rest days)

1 running shorts (swimming/sleeping/hanging out)

1 tanktop (swimming/sleeping/hanging out) 
Electronics (for both of us)

  

1 Garmin GPS etrek 30 – open source maps of New Zealand

2 back lights (small rechargable)

2 headlamps

1 solar powered lantern (if you haven’t seen these, check them out they are under 20$ and awesome!)

1 Go pro (thanks to Kevin’s brother for letting us borrow his)

1 camera (both my old cameras broke so now I have a canon G5X)

1 Gorilla pod

1 Ipad

1 Kindle

1 power bank

Bike stuff (for both of us)

1 Pump

1 knipex (extra small) channel locks 

1 leatherman

1 hub wrench

1 bicycle multi-tool

1 cassette remover

1 break cable

1 shifting cable

1 Patch kit

10+ zip ties

Assortment of bolts/ miscellaneous small parts

4 BB7 brake pads

1 roll electrical tape

Chain oil

Cooking/Water stuff (for both of us)

1 Katadyn water filter

2 Fuel bottles

4 water bottles on the bike

2 nalgene water bottles (1L)

1 Primus stove

1 flint lighter (no more running out of lighter fluid)

1 six liter MSR bladder

1 pot/ handle

2 bowls

2 long spoon

1 Victorinox knife (we love these, they are very sharp)

1 can opener (p38)

1 small cheese grater 

Other (for both of us)

50 feet p-core

1 first aid kid (plus waterproof matches)

1 sewing kit (needle, dental floss, patch kit for Thermarest/tent/waders)

soap

toothbrushes

Contact solution/mirror

1 quick-dry towel 

 

Down sleeping bags, sleeping pads (Therm-a-Rest Neoair), and our three person Big Agnes tent.

 
 

We are trying out a waterproof backpack this time around which will sit on our back rack and be used for day trips without our bikes.

 
  
  
One additional thing I’ve brought with me this time around is a small handheld running water bottle, my running shoes, and my running watch in the hopes that I will find some time (and energy) to run semi-regularly along this trip. 

 

Photo taken just before my first 50km trail race a few weeks ago!

 
Feel free to follow us on Facebook and Instagram (@awanderingphoto) for photos and stories throughout our journey!