Old Ghost Road: In the North West corner of the South Island lies New Zealand’s longest single track mountain bike ride, or walk if you prefer. This 85km long back country trail took some 9 years and 400 volunteers to create, including 4 huts and 16 bridges constructed on the extremely challenging terrain. Tracing the old gold mining route this once forgotten trail and has been brought back to life and is now available for anyone to experience, and is also officially part of the New Zealand cycle trail network. The ride or walk begins in the small town of Lyell and ends in Seddonville on the Mokihinui River around 6kms from the wild west coast. The track is best experienced over 2-3 days where huts are utilized as accommodation. Helicopter options are also available for bikers wishing to move supplies from hut to hut in order to reduce weight and gear or if you’re limited with time there is a one day heli option ex Nelson. To quote the Kennett brothers who have written several mountain bike guides on New Zealand rides “From the day it opens, The Old Ghost Road will be considered the greatest multi-day mountain bike ride in New Zealand. [It will be] to cycling what the Milford Track is to walking”. Tony recently experienced the OGR and you can read about his trip on this blog – Riding the Old Ghost Road. Further information can be found on the Old Ghost Road website or talk to us about incorporating this incredible adventure into your itinerary.
Wild North West helicopter tour: There are several heli-tour options through put New Zealand and we’ve highlighted some other trips in previous articles from Fiordland to White island and beyond. The Wild North West tour includes two national parks (Kahurangi & Abel Tasman) and an array of diverse terrain. Tracking west from Nelson into the heart of the Kahurangi National Park, the first stop lands at a remote alpine location where we can enjoy the peace and quiet of New Zealand’s second largest National Park. From the mountains you’ll descend further west to Westhaven Inlet and track the South Islands rugged north west coastline for a landing on the beach, where you can explore sand dunes and eroded rock formations. Here you will sit back, relax and enjoy a gourmet picnic hamper and glass of local wine. After lunch we lift off to explore Farewell Spit, Golden Bay and the Abel Tasman National Park. This trip a great way to appreciate the diversity of the north western tip of New Zealand’s South Island.
Queen Charlotte Track kayak/walk/bike combo:
Stretching between the Queen Charlotte and Keneperu Sounds lies the Queen Charlotte Track, an unspoilt slice of New Zealand native bush combined with spectacular sea views and numerous bays & coves. Due to the Queen Charlotte tracks coastal location you have the option of kayaking from point to point and combining this with a walk or bike. Walking, kayaking and biking can take place at any time of year except for biking the section between Meretoto/Ship Cove and Kenepuru Saddle, which is closed to bikes over the busy summer season from 1 December to 28 February. Several options are available to you dependent on level of difficulty, time, personal choice and whether you want to do it independently or guided. Talk to us about your preferences and we’ll be able to design an itinerary to suit your needs. Between the team at Luxury Adventure we’ve all either biked, kayaked or walked the track so have a good understanding of the options.
Bike the vines If you want to explore the vineyards in a unique way then via cycle offers an opportunity to explore several vineyards and other local artisans at your own pace. If you can ride a bike then you should be fine, most of the touring routes are fairly flat and maps are provided. You’ll get to choose how many wineries and how far you would like to explore. Panniers and baskets are included on most bikes and packed picnics can be provided or you can eat at one of the vineyard restaurants. Originally offered only in one wine region, cycling the vines has become quite popular in the last few years and is now offered in the wine regions of Hawkes bay, Queenstown/Central Otago, Marlborough/Nelson, Martinborough and Waipara (at the time of writing).
Cape Brett Track walk:
When you think of the Far North and Northland in general, usually walking isn’t the first thing that comes to mind! Beaches, swimming, boating, fishing and diving are all at the forefront, however the Cape Brett Track offers a walk considered by some to be on par with a few of the better known and well publicised walks dotted throughout NZ. You wont see large waterfalls, lakes and mountains here but you will see native Northland bush, abundant bird life due to predator fencing and enjoy absolutely spectacular views of the Bay of Islands and beyond. The track is challenging and quite steep in parts, and dependent on your level of fitness and time allocation different lengths can be selected, not unlike the Queen Charlotte Track albeit on a smaller scale. Unless you’re staying at the lighthouse and plan on walking back the next day you’ll need some form of water taxi either from Rawhiti or Russell/Paihia. Again some of the team have walked this track so talk to us about the logistics and also visit the Cape Brett Track department of Conservation Website for up to date information.
Kawiti Glowworm Caves: You will have heard of the Waitomo glowworm Caves pictured above and granted they are spectacular, but if you’re after a less touristy, more authentic experience, or your planned route doesn’t take you near Waitomo the Kawiti Cavesare an excellent option. Located only 20 mins from Paihia in the Waiomio Valley, near the Bay of Islands the Kawiti cave formations and glowworms are a spectacular sight. The 30 minute guided tour will follows a wooden boardwalk through a 200 metre limestone cave system. Once inside, you’ll see thousands of glow worms spread across the ceiling surrounded by breath taking stalactites and stalagmites. The caves are open every day expect Christmas day from 9am – 4pm.
Rangitoto Walk Easily accessed from Auckland via a 25 minute ferry ride from downtown Auckland, the Rangitoto Island walk is not to be missed when visiting New Zealand’s largest city. The Hauraki Gulf is arguably the highlight of Auckland and extensive 360 views of the many islands within the gulf are what you’ll see when you reach Rangitoto’s 259 metre summit. Auckland city, the Waitakare ranges, North Shore bays, Great Barrier island and more are all clearly visible from the summit. This inactive volcano last erupted around 600 years ago but still offers reminders of its past due to its large crater and lava caves. Both Rangitoto and Motutapu have been pest free since 2011 and offer increasing numbers of bird life and native plant species including takahe, Coromandel brown kiwi and saddleback. The walk to the summit is around 4.5 kms and takes approximately one hour each way. It can be walked independently or guided options are available which include extensive narrative myths and legends about the rich history and Maori culture associated with Rangitoto. We’ve all experienced this walk and can highly recommend it for a half day of activity when in Auckland.