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Over land, across the sea and in the air

You might be depending on public transport to the start and from the finish of the Tour Aotearoa. Although the tour itself is about cycling, there are some parts you will be depending on ferries.



Ferries always take bikes. The Interislander ferry charges $15 per bike, and the Bluebridge Cook Strait ferry charges $10 per bike. Most other ferries don’t charge extra for bikes.

There are five boat trips on the tour as follows:

  • Hokianga Harbour to Rawene – runs regularly for most of the day, costs $2, and takes 10 minutes. Take cash.
  • Kaipara Harbour – special charter boat (Shamrock) from Pouto Point to near Helensville. Needs to be booked in advance, costs $50 if you are with ten or more other riders, and takes 2-3 hours. Take cash.
  • Whanganui River from Maungapurua Landing to Pipiriki – need to book one of the jet boats that runs regularly. It will cost around $90. Trip takes about 1 hour. Only one operator (Whanganui River Adventures) can take plastic. 
  • Cook Strait Ferry, Wellington to Picton – a few regular sailings every day. Cost about $55 and including boarding time takes 4 hours.
  • Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown to Walter Peak – regular sailings and you can charter a boat, costs $40 - $60 dollars and takes about 1 hour.

You can find more details about these boats in the Tour Aotearoa Official Guides.



Long-distance buses usually take up to two bikes, but you can’t book them a space, and drivers reserve the right to refuse them if they don’t have enough room. Very occasionally  does this happen. Bus drivers charge $10–15 per bike and usually expect you to take the wheels and pedals off, and wrap the chain in newspaper. It’s best to check with the bus company when you book.


Air New Zealand does not charge for bikes but does charge for any additional luggage ($15 for a bag up to 23 kg). Budget airlines will charge an arm and a leg! Air New Zealand sell bike boxes for $25 or you can often pick one up from a bike shop for nothing. Small planes (e.g. Great Barrier Airlines) often don’t have space for bikes.

Pack most of your gear into the bike box with your bike, until you estimate it weighs just under the 23 kg limit. Everything else should fit into one bag (under 7 kg) and can be taken on board as cabin luggage.


In all major cities, both shuttles and taxi vans usually take bikes.

Transport from Auckland to Cape Reinga

Transport from Auckland to Kaitaia is straightforward with bus services offered by InterCity and Naked Bus (Naked Bus has reduced services in their off-peak season) and flights with Barrier Air.

From Kaitaia, most companies are focused on tours to the Cape and back rather than one-way transport, so your best option is to book a shuttle (see below). Or you can cycle to the Cape, which is 111 km from the Kaitaia i-SITE, where the bus service to Kaitaia stops.

Timing your trip to Cape Reinga

Before you start planning how to get there, check the tide times so that you know WHEN to go! 
Go to www.niwa.co.nz/services/online-services/tide-forecaster, and type in ‘Ahipara Bay’ for the location, and then the dates you are considering. 

You can start riding on the beach three hours before low tide, and finish four hours after low tide, sometimes a little longer. If you strike a headwind then you may need all of that time!

Transport contacts

Shuttle service: Oli Lancaster shuttles people from Kaitaia to Cape Reinga, Ph 09 409 7500.

What to do with your bike box or bag?

If you are flying into Auckland Airport, your bike will be in a box or a bag. Boxes can be left at the Airport at the west end of the International Terminal beside the bike stands. Or you can leave your bike in the box if you are busing up to Kaitaia, then discard the box somewhere.

After you have finished your tour, bike boxes can be bought from Invercargill Airport for $25 (phone ahead to check they have them in stock). You could also try a bike shop in Invercargill, but it's highly likely they will have run out. If you do get a bike box from a bike shop, they are unlikely to charge you for it, but etiquette suggests you should buy something from the shop (you always need some bars, or a spare tube, or lights, etc).

Another option is you can post your bike bag to Poste Restante, Invercargill Post Office. NZ Post will hold a parcel for as long as you need - it'll cost about $20. Just post it to [your name], Post Restante, 51 Don Street, Invercargill 9810.

For more info check: https://www.nzpost.co.nz/personal/receiving-mail/poste-restante