Cycling in New Zealand

Soon after arriving in New Zealand, we bought a pair of used bikes for $50. It turned out to be an excellent deal, and we rode those bikes all over the country. Over six months, we did a lot of cycling in New Zealand. We cycled for exercise and to get around, from marinas and campsites. The bikes made life in New Zealand easier and better.

redwood forest, biking in New Zealand, Taupo
Our bikes on a bike path through a redwood forest in Taupo

Why walk when you can pedal, am I right? Nothing against walking, and the hiking in New Zealand is stellar, but you can cover so much more ground by bike. We love seeing the world from our bicycle seats: you get closer than a car, while much faster than walking. Still, we had to make some adjustments to cycling in New Zealand.

Getting Used to Cycling in New Zealand

We bought our bikes very soon after arriving in New Zealand, which helped get me used to using the other side of the road. After a few weeks of cycling in New Zealand, I was ready to drive on the left in the campervan. Overall, I found drivers in New Zealand pretty good with cyclists; I think they’re more aggressive towards pedestrians. We followed the rules and wore our helmets, stayed in bike lanes when possible, and everything went well for us.

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Top Things to Do in Rotorua

A lot of visitors to New Zealand’s North Island go to Rotorua, known as the country’s geothermal headquarters. Centrally located with so many attractions, it’s a few hours south of Auckland and a big part of North Island itineraries. Known as “Sulphur City” for the smell produced by the geothermals, we spent a couple of days there ourselves, which is about the right amount of time. Here are our top things to do in Rotorua, New Zealand.

About Rotorua

Rotorua, pronounced Row – tuh – roo – uh, is a couple of hours south of Auckland, in the heart of the North Island’s volcanic valley. The Maori meaning is ‘Two” or “second” lake, and is named for the adjacent lake.

It reminded me of Iceland, with the bubbling hot springs, geysers, and colorful volcanic walkways. Rotorua felt like a cross between an adventure town and a family fun zone. So many of the tourists we saw there were with children. And a lot of the activities in Rotorua, like zip lines and mini golf, seemed catered to families. But there’s still a lot of cool things to do in Rotorua for adults without kids. Here are our favorites.

Mountain Bike Park

One of our top things to do in Rotorua is spend time at the mountain bike park. This place is amazing, and these two North Americans were shocked that it was completely free. We spent hours with our two dinky bikes on the easy trails, often being passed by tiny children on big wheeled mountain bikes, and we had a ball. Our bodies were sore the next day, but we’re always happy to get on our bikes and explore new places.

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