Archive for the ‘holiday’ Category

April 6, 2014 00

Nga Haerenga is Maori for the journeys and those kiwis seem to have journeys via a bicycle all stitched up. Now I know Australia also has lots of great places to ride (and yes we have an equally great rugby team)  but I really don’t think we can compete with what’s going on across the ditch with […]

Nga Haerenga is Maori for the journeys and those kiwis seem to have journeys via a bicycle all stitched up. Now I know Australia also has lots of great places to ride (and yes we have an equally great rugby team)  but I really don’t think we can compete with what’s going on across the ditch with cycling trails? (feel free to argue with me).

Five years ago, our kiwi neighbours had this idea about a cycling trail network across New Zealand. The NZ Government chipped in $50 million and made this idea possible and next thing you know the project was underway.

Now you may think that sounds expensive. But considering the recent news story  about converting a lane of the Pacific Highway through North Sydney into a bike lane would cost $15 million, I think that $50 million for a whole country seems quite reasonable?

I guess NZ was lucky too as once they worked out where the cycle paths were going to go, the local communities saw the value and came up with another $30 million of co-funding.

And they also had quite a lot of pre-existing off road networks to work with – so they weren’t starting from scratch and trying to convert a lane of a very busy main road.

In total our Kiwi friends created 23 rides – both new and existing trails – through some of New Zealand’s most beautiful and spectacular regions. And one of these regions is Hawke’s Bay – east coast of the North Island. This is New Zealand’s oldest wine growing region.

The cycling trails there are predominantly flat (easy to intermediate). Perfect for beginner riders and also the opportunity to visit all the lovely wineries. The images below are from some of Hawke’s Bay trails, looks like nice cycling.

HAwkes Bay 3

Hawkes Bay

There are cafes, wineries and toilets along this particular winery trail with mobile phone coverage in case you want to stop and call a friend to gloat about the amazing holiday you are having.

Aside from all the wines to try while you are there (this region is known for cabernet merlot, syrah, pinot noir, chardonnay and sauvignon blanc) the other thing Hawkes Bay is well known for is the town of Napier.

It’s known as the art deco capital of the world. After a devastating earthquake hit the town in 1931 and pretty much flattened it, they began rebuilding at the height of art deco popularity.

Today, everywhere you look, there is beautiful art deco architecture from the shops, the town hall, banks, office buildings.  Even their McDonalds is an art deco building! You can view some of the other lovely art deco buildings in Napier here.

Even McDonalds in Napier is art deco.

Even McDonalds in Napier is art deco.

So don’t wait – start planning your cycling holiday to NZ today! And I have the perfect option for you…

My friends from Tour de Vines are hosting a cycling holiday visiting some of Hawkes Bay’s best wineries – and giving friends of BikeGal.com a very special offer for their upcoming easter trip.

By mentioning BikeGal.com when you book on the easter trip, Tour de Vines and BikeGal.com will together make a $100 donation to the Amy Gillett Foundation for each booking!

It’s a five day/four night trip fully guided, all inclusive tour with 4/5 star accommodation, gourmet meals and winery visits. Click here to request a detailed itinerary. The daily cycling on this trip ranges from 20 to 50 km each day but is mostly flat with lots of stops.

There are only a few spots left and it will sell out. And as it’s over Easter, you can go without even having to take time off work! So why sit around at home this Easter, when you can escape to NZ winery country for a holiday on two wheels?

*This blog was sponsored by Tour de Vines. They provide food & wine based cycling tours all across Australia, New Zealand and Europe. BikeGal is actually a kiwi (yes born there!) and loves Hawkes Bay. Sponsored blogs are aligned with our disclosure policy.

Photos thanks to Hawke’s Bay Trails.

Cycling + wine

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March 25, 2014 00

Two of my most favourite things in the world are probably cycling and drinking wine. However, it’s not often that you get to combine the two (I don’t tend to have a quick glass of red before jumping on my road bike on a Saturday morning). Nor do you often get to combine these with a long weekend holiday.

If you are like me and you love wine, the Hawkes Bay region of New Zealand is the place to go.

I have actually spent lots of time in this area as I have family who live there – so hand on heart, I can tell you it’s beautiful. Hawkes Bay is on the east coast of the north island and has spectacular scenery and perfect weather.

But the other great reason for sipping wine in New Zealand’s wine country is that you can easily do it with a bicycle as this is a country with an entire network of cycling trails that are mostly off road.

Cycling in NZ's Hawkes Bay trails

Cycling on NZ’s Hawkes Bay trails

Those kiwis are a smart bunch  – they have really got it together. Back in 2009, the NZ Government decided to build a national, world class network of cycle trails and invested $50 million to do this. And the trails cover all parts of New Zealand.

Now if you’ve been to NZ or watched Lord of the Rings you may want to tell me that it’s a country of big big mountains. This is true, but the Hawkes Bay region is not that and cycling in this region is flat, easy, off road and safe.

Cycling trails in Hawkes Bay – flat, easy and off road

If you haven’t heard of Hawkes Bay it is famous for quite a few different wine varieties including cabernet merlot, syrah, pinot noir, chardonnay and sauvignon blanc (yes they seem to cover all bases).

This easter, my friends from Tour de Vines are hosting a cycling holiday there visiting some of Hawkes Bay’s best wineries – and giving friends of BikeGal.com a very special offer.

By mentioning BikeGal.com when you book, Tour de Vines and BikeGal.com will together make a $100 donation to the Amy Gillett Foundation for each booking!

It’s a five day/four night trip fully guided, all inclusive tour with 4/5 star accommodation, gourmet meals and winery visits. Click here to request a detailed itinerary to find out more. There are only a few spots left on this trip.

The best part is that all you have to do is rock up. You don’t even need to bring a bike with you – they will provide a 24 gear lightweight Scott hybrid bike.

Daily cycling ranges from 20 to 50 km each day but is mostly flat with lots of stops.

They are visiting some of the region’s most famous wineries such as Church Road Wines and Craggy Range Winery to name only a few – which are great for wine but also serve stunning food – which you can enjoy because you’ve burnt off all those calories just cycling there.

hawkes-bay-wine-and-food_fs2

Cycle off those calories and then enjoy the food and wine!

It’s not all non stop cycling. They have factored in some non cycling transport too, so when you go for a nice dinner, you don’t need to worry about cycling back to your hotel.

As this tour is running over the easter break (Thursday 17 to Monday 21 April), you can actually do it without even missing a day of work.

Alternatively if you have some spare holidays up your sleeve, you could finish this tour and head down to Wellington visiting the equally lovely Martinborough wine region on the way.

Flights from Sydney to Napier in Hawkes Bay (where Tour de Vines will pick you up) go via Auckland or Wellington.

Why sit around at home eating easter eggs, when you could be cycling around kiwi wine country sipping syrah?

And don’t forget to mention BikeGal.com when you book, to guarantee a $100 donation from Tour de Vines and BikeGal.com to the Amy Gillett Foundation.

Don’t delay, there are only a few spots left and it will sell out soon.

*This blog was sponsored by Tour de Vines. They provide food & wine based cycling tours all across Australia, New Zealand and Europe. BikeGal is actually a kiwi (yes born there!) and has spent A LOT of time in Hawkes Bay which she loves.

Sponsored blogs are aligned with our disclosure policy.