Top Ten New Zealand Off-the-Beaten-Path Adventures

Cycle the Capital Coast

Take time out from the capital city Wellington—home of the Beehive parliament building, cafe culture, and students—with a cycling adventure. Start with a train ride to Upper Hutt at the foot of the Rimutaka Mountains, the hills that divide Wellington from the eastern North Island. A gravel track, the Rimutaka Incline Walk, leads to the Rimutaka summit and four (unused) railway tunnels. Over the next two days you'll ride 110 kilometers on gravel roads, four-wheel-drive tracks, and tarmac. Take time off to visit the seal colony at Turakirae Head, climb on the rocks at Baring Head, and search for a safe way across the Wainuiomata River. If the weather's with you, there'll be fantastic views of the Kaikoura Mountains on the South Island, a seal colony, and a ferry trip to finish. The ride ends at Days Bay, a short ferry ride to Wellington. You'll have seen parts of New Zealand known only to Kiwis, and feel fitter for it.

An alternative and even more remote circular ride, from the vineyards of Martinborough around Cape Palliser to White Rock and back, is also superb.


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