I spent all of January and February of 2011 traveling in New Zealand. For the first two weeks I was with my brother, Sean, and we made our way via rental car from Auckland down to Christchurch. Then we got rid of the rental car, Sean flew back to the US, and I took a bus to Bluff, at the way south end of the South island. Over the next six-odd weeks, I did a lot of backpacking, and made my way by bicycle up the west coasts of both islands to Cape Reinga, at the way north end of the North island. Photos from the entire trip are here:
After leaving Bluff, the route I took to Cape Reinga was a shade over 2500 kilometers (1550 miles) of biking, and was continuous except for a few ferries and taking a train through Auckland. This took a total of 18 days of biking (plus breaks for other activities), averaging 140 kilometers (85 miles) per day, with 5 centuries (100 miles in one day).
I went backpacking twice with Sean (at Cape Brett and Abel Tasman), and in several other places while doing the bicycle trip. These totaled about 380 kilometers (240 miles) over about three weeks on trail, summarized below.
Cape Brett track, north of Auckland, 2 days, 32 km
Abel Tasman coastal track, Nelson area, 2.5 days, 50 km
Northwest circuit on Stewart island, 6.5 days, 125 km
Kepler track, Fiordland, 2.5 days, 50 km
Milford track, Fiordland, 3 days, 54 km
Queen Charlotte track, Nelson area, 2.5 days, 71 km
I also went kayaking in several places, snorkeling/freediving in several places, spent a day diving at the Poor Knights islands, surfed a couple days at Raglan, and did a few other side activities.
This was an awesome trip, and New Zealand is an incredible place. Somehow I thought before starting that New Zealand is a small country, and I could see it in two months. Now I feel I barely scratched the surface, and I’ve started working out how to go back for longer and with more toys (kayak, surfboard, dive gear, etc.).
I’ll be making followup posts on all my favorite parts of the trip (which cover quite a lot of it!).