New Zealand bike tour December 07 January 08 - Au revoir Oz Hello Aotearoa

Follows is a series of post trip blog posts from our cycling trip to New Zealand from 26 Dec 07 to 5 January 08. I would have done them on the road but - well - to busy riding, exploring and drinking bloody good beer than sitting behind a computer. Heh.

It's more a series of observations and experiences in the places we visited more than a comprehensive travel journal. Also a number of tips and traps on how to get around with relative ease.

Sydney airport

Already talked about packing bikes etc so not going there (see discussion forum). Did learn that bike boxes come in different sizes so get one right for your bike. Also put bulky stuff like helmets and unpacked panniers in the box to save bag weight.

Getting a maxi taxi to the airport was a piece of cake. Bikes fitted just fine though you pay 50% more for the privilege of using the cab. Worth it if you live close like us.

Check in was ok but beware the dreaded excess baggage fee. With bikes, camping gear, personal stuff etc we came in at 75kg between us. At $10 per excess kg we should have been smashed. The Jetstar people let us off (Merry Christmas) which was bloody good of them.

  • Factor in how much you could - could - get hit for excess baggage when booking cheap air tickets and figuring what equipment you need to take given your style of travel.

Christchurch airport

Collecting bikes there was a snap. Then you are going to get done over my MAF - that is the Ministry for Agriculture and Fisheries. All - and I mean all - bikes are going to get checked out by these guys, no exceptions. If you have a mountain bike you are going to get a real going over as they are assumed to be used in the bush with associated seeds, mud, dead animal flesh containing foot and mouth disease etc. Saying its a road bike makes no difference.

  • Clean your bike totally before you pack it - no mud, plant matter etc - not a scrap. This includes camping gear too!
  • Prepare to have to unpack the thing then repack it again at the airport. Don't squeeze too much in the box.

Two hours later ....

There is a bike assembly area outside the airport (how cool is that) so you can put your steed together right there and then and ride away. The airport is not far from town so there are plenty of shuttle busses with trailers which can take you to town door to door. Cost $NZ35 for two people. A wheel chair taxi (that is what they call a maxi taxi there is about $30 so take your pick.

We stayed at a friends place but there is a huge network of backpackers, BandBs etc across the place. A couple of good resources include:

http://www.bbh.co.nz/

http://www.aa.co.nz

There are heaps of others. Check out http://www.newzealand.com/Australia/

Christchruch

Neat place. Flat and easy to get around. Watch the tram tracks. Drivers vaguely polite unlike Sydney. Heaps of cycle tourists. Tons of restaurants Japanese, Spanish, Russian, Indian, Lebanese - you name it.

Two great coffee shops:

  • Vivace Expresso bar, 86 Hereford St
  • C1 Expresso, 152 High St.

Otherwise go berserk http://coffee.gen.nz/

Good bike and outdoor gear shops are clustered on Colombo st / Hereford st intersection near Cathedral Square in the CBD.

Views: 51

Comment by Paul on January 9, 2008 at 6:31pm
I didn't understand that first paragraph. Did you take Australian beer with you?

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