Cycling the Tour of New Zealand

, May 14, 2012

Addicts of GoPro footage, Red Bull Media House and The Lord of the Rings movies will be well aware of New Zealand’s scenery and status on the world adventure map. This year’s inaugural Tour of New Zealand showcased much of the relics from motion pictures and Vimeo clips, launching the country into the bucket lists of cyclists worldwide.

The tour began simultaneously in Cape Reinga (North of the North Island) and Bluff (South of the South Island) at 8am on Saturday April 14th, from where cyclists routed 700 kilomtetres over eight days to the Beehive in Wellington on the south of the North Island. Cyclists were able to choose which route they took, either by linking South with North, or by completing the ride entirely on the North Island. The optional routes gave rides the chance to experience very different terrain from Queenstown to Wanaka, then Twizel, Tekapo and Fairlie on the South Island, or Waitomo, Wanganuie and Wellington on the North Island.

The 2012 event itself

This year, 170 team and solo riders took off from the South Island and 70 left from the North Island, complimented by nearly 100 riders doing single day stages. Professional mountain biker and junior world champion Anton Cooper and his Christchurch Boys High School claimed overall victory in the Tour’s final criterium stage in Wellington while Japan-based Dan Underwood took the overall victory as the leading solo rider on the North Island, trumping the South Island’s solo winner, Geoff Williamson. The North Island’s first-placed solo female was Diane Bell who beat the South Island’s Jan Litt.

While the tour had terrain to challenge the toughest cyclists, event organisers were keen to encourage wide participation across a range of abilities and solo/duo/team configurations. Notable teams this year were Powered by Stroopies – a team that pioneered ‘stroopies’, a simple mix of caramel, sandwiched btween two wafers – with Shake Rattle & Ride 70 representing the 70+ demographic.

Keep an eye out for details on next year’s event at

North Island Race Course (638 km)

Day 1: Cape Reinga to Kaitaia (111 km)
Day 2: Opononi to Dargaville (79 km)
Day 3: Dargaville to Brynderwyn (70 km)
Day 4: Tuakau to Raglan (84 km)
Day 5: Waitomo Caves to Taumaranui (102 km)
Day 6: National Park to Wanganui (broken into two stages) (118 km)
Day 7: Pahiatua to Masterton (74 km)
Day 8: The Beehive Criterium, Wellington

South Island Race Course (687 km)

Day 1: Bluff to Mossburn (139 km)
Day 2: Queenstown to Wanaka (76 km)
Day 3: Wanaka to Omarama (113 km)
Day 4: Tekapo to Geraldine (88 km)
Day 5: Methven to Oxford (80 km)
Day 6: Hanmer Springs to Kaikoura (126 km)
Day 7: Blenheim to Picton (via Havelock) (65km)
Day 8: The Beehive Criterium, Wellington

More information

  • Tour of New Zealand race results.
  • Full information for routes and daily stages
  • Follow the Tour of New Zealand on Facebook
  • The tour was raising money for Kiwi cycleways via donations to the Hikurangi Foundation, and rescue organisations Red Cross and St. Johns.