No doubt many of you are keen to know what the 3000 km route of the Tour Aotearoa is. Well, we have spent a lot of time exploring the country and analyzing the many options. This researching is not over yet. I am going to spend the next two weeks on the road looking at more cycle paths/tracks/trails.But right now we do have a route we can show you. This is provisional and should not go public. We will spend another year refining it.
Here is Google map of the route for you to look at: http://www.kennett.co.nz/maps/
Here are some notes to consider while looking at this route.
1. From Cape Reinga to Auckland is fixed.
2. Heading out of Auckland is not finalised yet and depends on what cycle paths are built by the end of next year. A lot of construction is underway.
3. The Hauraki Rail Trail may be extended both north and south, but if it's not, and if Te Awa River Trail is completed sooner than expected, we may opt to go through Hamilton instead. Watch this space.
4. We might allow shortcutting via the Historic Tractor in Pureora Forest - more details will follow if you need them. At the moment it looks like a crazy dog leg.
5. Track builders in National Park are working towards Horopito, and if they make it in time, we may go from National Park to Ohakune to Taihape. That is more direct, but I doubt they will finish their track in time.
6. DOC in Palmerston North may build a grade 3 track parallel to the Manawatu Gorge, and if that happens, we will definitely use it rather than going into Palmerston North. Also, the local council are extending the Manawatu River Trail from Ashhurst South, so we will add that in as it is built.
7. Wairarapa trail builders are working on two trails, either of which would be an improvement if ready in time, so from Masterton to Martinborough is also provisional for the moment.
8. In the South Island, there is an historic stock route being worked on between Picton and Havelock. It's slow progress, but possibly we will add a couple of short, fun sections.
9. Heading for Murchison, we will probably use the Braeburn Track, but not the Porika (the downhill is just too hard for most people to enjoy).
10. Heading for Springs Junction we will take a a quiet road (West Bank Road).
11. South of Reefton we are still considering offering an alternate route through Big River and Waiuta. It's longer, and rougher, but amazingly scenic. I'll get more feedback from KiwiBrevet Riders.
12. From Greymouth to Ross, the West Coast Wilderness Trail is still be constructed and three or four sections will go off-road before Tour Aoteara starts.
13. South of Ross will probably be mostly on the highway, but a trust is looking at building an off road trail, and whatever they get done before 2016, we will probably use.
14. It's not marked on the map yet, but you will be expected to ride the fantastic trail into Fox Glacier.
15. We are still considering the best route from Albert Town to Wanaka. Maybe by that stage people would prefer the sealed cycle paths? But I know the Outlet Track is beautiful.
16. From Wanaka there are plans to build a cycle trail to Cardronna. I hope it happens in time, becuase that will be cool. It is supposed to finish just as the Tour Aotearoa kicks off.
17. If the Around the Mountains Cycle Trail is finished then we will boat across Lake Wakatipu and ride down the Oreti Gorge (fantastic). If it's not finished then well head for the Nevis Valley and come out onto the Around the Mountains Trail at Garston. The new trail from Garston to Lumsden is being opened this weekend - I rode it last week and it is perfect for this stage of the tour.
18. From Thompsons Bush in Invercargill we will actually jump onto a gravel cycle trail that goes out to the estuary. It is being extended south to Bluff and whatever is ready by 2016, we will use.
For those of you who haven't been riding in NZ yet, I appologise for such a long detailled description. In summary, the route is great, and it's getting better every month.
Don't forget to lock the KiwiBrevet into your riding summer. It is the best training ride you could do between now and the Tour Aotearoa. Here is the blog; http://kiwibrevet.blogspot.co.
We will send out a revised map in a few months.