Three thousand kilometres of awesome adventure and inspiring scenery await riders on Tour Aotearoa
Here’s one for the keen cyclists. An epic, bike-packing tour of the full length of New Zealand from Cape Reinga in the North to Bluff at the bottom of the South Island. The route of the ride combines cycle trails, tracks, paths and lanes connected by quiet country roads. You can grab the route maps and set off on your adventure any time, but every year in February there is an organised Brevet event that riders can register for and have their progress officially recorded.
The Tour Aotearoa event was designed by Jonathan Kennett, a New Zealand cycling guidebook writer. In February 2016 he organised a Brevet event designed to highlight the best New Zealand Cycle Trail Great Rides, Heartland Rides, and quiet back country roads. He has published a number of books about the Tour. The Tour Aotearoa 2023 riders should all have pedalled their way to the finish line by the end of March. Gluttons for punishment and newbies alike can look forward to dates for the 2024 event appearing on the TA site by the end of April this year.
Two riders cross a 141m-long suspension bridge on The Timber Trail, Pureora Forest Park
Riders at Pouto Point board the boat to cross Northland’s Kaipara Harbour
The organisers of Tour Aotearoa have prepared this handy FAQ to answer questions about the event
Q: What is the Tour Aotearoa Brevet?
A: Tour Aotearoa is open to anyone to ride at anytime, but there is also a Tour Aotearoa Brevet. This is an amazing, self-supported, 3,000 km brevet from Cape Reinga to Bluff. A brevet is not a race. It is a ride following a set course, via 30 photo checkpoints, which you must complete between 10 and 30 days – no more and no less.
Q: When is the Tour Aotearoa Brevet?
A: The next Tour Aotearoa Brevet starts in February 2024. You can register for email updates here.
Q: What are the costs for participation in the Tour Aotearoa Brevet?
A: Register for the Brevet is free, but if you are participating you must make a 100 NZ dollar donation to a charity of your choice. And of course you can add personal value to your journey and fundraise more money for the charity you are supporting.
Besides this donation, all entrants are asked to offset their carbon emissions from travelling to the start and from the end of the Brevet. Dr. Sean Weaver from Ekos has calculated the average emission for entrants from different parts of the world and set up a page especially for the Tour Aotearoa, so that you can offset very quickly:
Or you can do your own calculations at http://calculators.enviro-mark.com/EmissionsCalc/tourismeditor.aspx.
And last but not least you need budget for food, accommodation and transport during the Brevet.
Q: Where can I register?
A: You can register here if you want to stay informed about the 2024 Brevet.
Q: Why is there a limited number of people?
A: For the Tour Aotearoa Brevet there is a limit of 600 people, because we want to make sure that every participant can find good accommodation and transport during the Tour.
Q: What are the criteria for the charity I chose?
A: You can choose your own charity, but it must be registered – all the bonafide charitable organisations are.
Q: How much cycle experience do I need to ride the Tour Aotearoa Brevet?
A: We recommend you to have some cycle experience with the bike and gear you are intending to use during the Tour Aotaroa Brevet.
Most people do around 3,000 km of training in the year leading up to their ride. But you could get away with much less (virtually none) if you have a strong cycling background, simply by starting slowly and building your fitness up during the ride.
You can find a simple training plan, written by Jeff Lyall, here.
‘Foot cycling’ between Big River and Waiuta ghost town, South Island West Coast
After 3000km in the saddle, the fishing port of Bluff heralds the end of the adventure
Q: How could my friends and family follow my adventures?
A: When you cycle the Tour Aotearoa Brevet, you can hire a SPOT tracker and sign up to the Tour Aotearoa tracking website: touraotearoa.maprogress.com. That way, friends and family can follow you on your Brevet. In case of an emergency, the tracker also functions as a personal locater beacon (PLB). To connect to this service, email email@example.com. MAProgress also hires and sells SPOT trackers.
Q: How can I prepare for the Tour Aotearoa Brevet?
A: You can find all the information about preparation for the Tour Aotearoa Brevet for example a simple training plan and an overview of the gear you need here.
Q: What are the rules for successful finishing the Tour Aotearoa Brevet?
A: The rules for successful finishing the Tour Aotearoa Brevet are published here.
Q: How do I get to Cape Reinga?
A: Transport from Auckland to Kaitaia is straightforward with bus services offered by InterCity and Naked Bus (Naked Bus has reduced services in their off-peak season) and flights with Barrier Air.
From Kaitaia, most companies are focused on tours to the Cape and back rather than one-way transport, so your best option is to book a shuttle (see below). Or you can cycle to the Cape, which is 111 km from the Kaitaia i-SITE, where the bus service to Kaitaia stops.
You can find all the information about transport during the Tour Aotearoa here.
Q: Do I get a trophy or certificate at the finish?
A: After finishing the Tour Aotearoa Brevet you are an unforgettable cycle experience richer and you’ll be fulfilled with proud and satisfaction about this achievement. No trophy or certificate can beat that feeling.
Q: Why is the Tour Aotearoa Brevet not organised every year?
A: The Tour Aotearoa route is open to public all year round, so you don’t have to wait until the Brevet to cycle the 3,000 km from Cape Reinga to Bluff. Tour Aotearoa Brevet is organised by a small amount of enthusiastic volunteers. A time-intensive job and therefore the Brevet does not take place every year.