New Zealand cycling trails at Old Coach Road

I will share more about New Zealand cycling trails in this blog post.

As part of my New Zealand Road trip, I had packed multiple hikes and biking trips into my itinerary (read here).

The reason I chose Old Coach Road cycling route was because it was near to Tongariro National Park (35 to 50km drive), and the 2 hour route was within my tight schedule. I had stayed one night at National Park to explore nearby mountains, waterfalls and streams.

My 4k Video, FUN along Old Coach Road (YouTube link)

Relive video below

I was sold when I saw Old Coach Road’s old railway line (Hapuawhenua viaduct). This is actually part of a 200km long Mountains to Sea route!

Those new to cycling trails in NZ just need to explore this link.
https://nzcycletrail.com

Map showing how I drove and pickup my bike at Ohakune

Old Coach Road is only 15km and will take you between 2 to 3 hours.

Recommended itinerary (refer custom Google Map above):
a. Rent and return your bike at Ohakune town (TCB vendor)
b. Vendor will transfer you and bike to Horopito start point
c. You then cycle South towards Ohakune
d. Return bike at Ohakune

NZ TCB review
Image at TCB, it is all Upslope if you start at Ohakune!

For novices, I would recommend this direction for lesser upslopes, and route is easier to navigate(60% of slopes in the first half of route). You will see experts cycling in the opposite direction.

Old Coach Road
Old Coach Road

Shortlisting your bike vendors

-Some vendor has two while others has three time-slots. Check which one fits your itinerary and schedule
-Secondly, some slots might need minimum 2 to go
(Budget wise, most pricing are competitive)

I got my bike from the friendly folks at TCB, and book their Old Coach Road package. Make sure you book early to avoid disappointment.

TCB Ohakune
TCB Ohakune

Before we start, Old Coach Road is one of the easiest biking tracks in New Zealand. It only takes 2 to 3hr, 15km between Horopito and Ohakune.

.. but it is not straightforward for amateurs. It is not a ride in the park!

Let’s Go! My Green ride, “My PRECIOUS” LOTR haha 🙂

 

Cycling Trails NZ
Cycling Trails NZ

Follow the “horse shoe” logo to keep on the right track.

Good advice about locking your bikes. Overall, NZ is very safe, but I would hate to be stuck in the middle of nowhere without my bike.

Near to the start point. The gravel road are hard to ride over, and the wheels keep sliding. The cows will be laughing at “tourists” struggling along the path.

Railway track behind me, this is a real one.

Cross the track and cycle deeper into the forest. I love the zig zag lines inside the forest.  Shady and quiet, it feels like you are the only one in the forest, and you might only meet another cyclist after hours.

Secluded, Peaceful and Beautiful route. FREEDOM!

The first half has two memorable upslopes which I could overcome with low gear, but I chose to push. Excuse me, my calves were still hurting from hiking Tongariro Alpine the day before.

Expect crickets and birds for company. Sometimes, I would be so elated that I needed to sing or shout out loud 🙂

As you cycle along, you will see some information corners. Posters will depict Old Coach Road history and neighborhood. Not easy for early ancestors to overcome the harsh forest camps.

Cycle past old bridges and foundations.

Taonui viaduct is rusty but still magnificent.

I really cherished my solo trips,  venturing out and crafting more memories of my own. Bring myself out of comfort box.

Own time own target. Me time!

History of Hapuawhenua Viaduct.

Pregnant and Placenta, now you know 🙂

I had hiked Tongariro the day earlier and my calves were sore. But adrenaline kept me going, so much more to explore!

New Zealand cycling trails
New Zealand cycling trails
Hapuawhenua Viaduct
Hapuawhenua Viaduct

You can cycle or walk along the bridge, it is a TALL structure.

Sometimes, you feel like you are the only one cycling in the whole forest!
(unlike SG, where you are seldom 15 to 30min away from a junction and human contact).

I cycled through a dark tunnel, because I was curious what was at the other end (it is one way).

Summer is a good time to cycle, as the sun sets later. It is not too cold, light breeze and 15 degrees, I only had a light jacket with me. Do start earlier, I would not want to be caught cycling in the dark in the forest.

If you love exploration and adventures, and cycling in the middle of nowhere. New Zealand cycling trails has something for everyone, from families to multi-day cycling trips.

 

One more advantage of cycling in NZ. Weather is likely cool, no snakes, spiders or bears!

At this junction, I noticed the 2km distance needed 40 minutes. Cobblestone path lies ahead. Go slow as the road is uneven and rocks can be big!

Do enjoy the vast grassy landscape too.

More interesting nuggets. Travel times have reduced over the centuries. Maoris used to trek from North to South island in under 2 weeks!

You will exit to Marshalls Road and back to civilisation. This signpost and upcoming bmx pump track indicates you are near to the end point.

If time permits, you may detour to Ohakune Station just for fun.
You can explore a local train from National Park station to Ohakune for NZD $12.

 

Clear water and blue sky everywhere.

After returning my bike, enjoyed my lunch at Utopia. Friendly service, the lady owner (?) knows all the customers by first name!

Additional tips for cyclists:

– Bike rental would be easily $40 (inclusive a good bike and helmet)
– Ride easy, I had a haversack and rain jacket (waterproof your items)
– Pack First aid kid, whistle, night torch, biscuits for emergencies
– Always let someone know where you are heading to. Wilderness is huge and often has no mobile signal!
– Take the bike route/fitness recommendation with a pinch of salt. Kiwi folks are generally fitter

You might find out more about TCB packages (cycling and ski) from their website or Facebook.

 

In case you are exploring NZ too, do pop by our custom Google Map and Gsheet itinerary . Refer to our Custom Google Map driving route.

Do click on album below for more photos on our Fanpage(link).

NZ hiking photos
NZ hiking photos

 

Other New Zealand posts:

New Zealand North Island road trip
Hike up Pinnacles and staying in a hut
Crossing unreal Tongariro Alpine in Summer (my best hike ever)
– New Zealand cycling trails – Old Coach Road (Freedom!)
Cycling NZ with Cycliq Fly6

If you need more tips for your New Zealand road Trip planning or Self Drive tips, do refer to our Google map itinerary link and drop us a note.

Taitung top attractions for families

Taitung top attractions, we list some of our favourite things to do in Taitung 台東, and of course food.

This is also the last blog post from our Taiwan Cycling trip 🙂
You may read our adventures (blog and YouTube) at the end of page.

Mention Taitung and many will ask, where? Most folks are familiar with the West Coast (Kaohsiung and Taichung) , and North/East Taipei and Hualien.

Taitung is not a small county, but most of the activities are conveniently located in the “small” town area.

Located near the South East corner of Taiwan, Taitung is a little bit out of the way. East Coast comprise of only three counties Yilan, Hualien and Taitung (宜蘭,花蓮,台東)

But when you mention the hot air balloon, seawater hot spring (Green Island) or Mr Brown avenue ( 池上 Chisang), Taitung will ring a bell (Top 10 Taitung attractions).

We continue with our cycling journey covering 250km from Hualien to Taitung (Blog itinerary). And this is the last stretch for 4D3N.

23+ km more to Taitung. We are going to cycle Southwards along the coast. You should read our newbie surfing experience in Dulan Donghe too, kids love the waves!

Not many families will consider surfing as one of Taitung top attractions, but backpackers claim Taitung has one of the most happening surf scenes.

Our Relive video, checkout the coastal views.

 

Youtube (clip), cycling Highway 30,11 Yuli to Taitung

 

Sample Itinerary and GPS from our Taiwan itinerary (G drive link). Do take note Column E distance is relative to Norden Ruder (our stay).

加路蘭海岸 Jialulan, one of the best spot to see stars and milky way in Eastern Taiwan! It is also popular with visitors during the day.

Pose with the art decorations, enjoy the coastal view and breeze.

As we cycle from Highway 11, we will reach 台東森林公園活水湖 in Taitung. This is a scenic park with a lake, popular with joggers and pet dogs.

If you are cycling from Highway 9, you will return the bikes before exploring the rest of Taitung.

There are two Giant outlets in Taitung, you should return the bike to new Taitung train station.

Do take note Taitung Center is around the old Taitung train station, and this is 6 km from the new train station. Taitung center is where all the happening stuff and good food are bunched together.

So ensure you book your accommodation at the right spot 🙂
You will notice all the good food are bunched together and within walking distance.

Refer to our custom Google Map above. Once we entered Taitung, we cycled 20km clockwise to eat and shop before returning our bikes (follow the yellow bicycle icons).

Due to lack of time, we had to skip a few.

We were hunting for 琵琶湖觀景臺 (Pipahu Lookout), but it seems like the whole piece of land was blocked! We could only cycle the circumference.

Taitung is one of the most bike friendly cities in Taiwan. We witnessed many folk (not only tourists) exploring the city on two wheels.

The sea view route was both windy and packed with family activities, some buskings too.

Taitung top attractions
Taitung top attractions

Landmarks, example 台東生命之樹 and 台東濱海公園大相框 Photo frame.

黄记葱油饼 (Taitung spring onion pancake). I felt bad about missing this, but kids absolutely hate spring onion :p

Besides, I was nursing a swollen elbow due to an earlier fall.We had to skip a few other points along the way.

Image credit Google

楊記家傳地瓜 Yang Potatoes is a popular souvenir from Taitung. Take note of the opening hours, the chips are sold exclusively at shop (not airport).

客來吃樂 大腸蚵仔麵 (Taitung Chang oyster noodle), delicious bowl of goodness. Some say better than 西門町 Xi Men Ding’s Ah Zhong Mee Sua.:)

Enjoy the last 10km ride. This route is built over old railway tracks, and is part of the 21km “Taitung Mountain/Ocean Bicycle Trail”.

More biking trails here -> Taitung Link

Feels just like our park connector, but slightly more scenic and well maintained. No PMD menace here.

And the end point, 捷安特 台東站 Giant Taitung 🙂

Take note return time must be before 1600, otherwise billing for one more day. There are two Giant outlets in Taitung, do not return to the wrong outlet!

Map below will indicate the trains from Hualien to Taitung, running along Highway 9 (Left) or Highway 11 (Right)

While the kids were de-kitting our bikes,  I walked 300m to Taitung train station for our luggage and Taitung-Kaohsiung train tickets.

You may read about our train tickets booking and collection tips on this blog post. In Taiwan, you can drop your luggage in one train station, have it delivered to your destination. This is cool! (Tips and cost shared at
Hualien post)

After dropping our bike and picking up our luggage, we headed to 路得行旅  Norden Ruder for the night.

Taitung hostel recommendation
Taitung hostel recommendation

Boutique hostel which looks modern and yet contemporary. Love the center area with lush greenery and view of the “open” roof.

The breakfast is filling but not happening 🙂

Totally casual. After all the cycling , we just want to be in our most comfortable attire. Image wise, Taiwanese are well-dressed, even when they visit night market 🙂

哈拉麵. This was actually our second visit. Shop was closed when we visited in the afternoon. You will be surprised at the variety of Japanese food in Taitung. (I had highlighted only 4 in my Itinerary.)

Taitung best ramen
Taitung best ramen

Friendly boss, superb Ramen. We asked whether flip-flops customers are welcomed haha, the friendly boss quickly found a table for us 🙂

Our No1 recommendation is Blue Dragonfly. Everyone in Taitung know 藍蜻蜓! Crispy and juicy, I will choose Blue Dragonfly over KFC any other day!

Yummy Blue Dragonfly chicken!
Yummy Blue Dragonfly chicken!

It is popular with locals and tourists, but serving is fast.

Nightlife in Taitung. Streets are still abuzz with cars and scooters late into the night.

海山寺 temple (bak bai). We needed to say a prayer, and thank you to our guardian for keeping us safe all the way from Hualien to Taitung.

台東夜市
台東夜市

There are at least 3 night markets in Taitung. And they are open on different days!  Example 台東觀光夜市 and 四維夜市.

After one night in Taitung, we are ready to take the train to Kaohsiung for our flight home.

Our cab from hostel to Taitung Train station pass by a popular baseball stadium too. Baseball is popular with Taiwanese.

Although you can get a train from Zhiben (知本站) or Kangle station (康樂站), we would recommend first timers to stick to Taitung Station. Unless you intend to stay one night at Zhiben. (Besides, most train might not stop at Kangle station)

Train journey from Taitung to Kaohsiung would be 3 to 4 hours easily.
Take a nap or just relax 🙂

Did last round of shopping, souvenirs and sports gear, before we took the transit to airport. We have listed more shop and eat options in itinerary but we did not have time to explore.

Kaohsiung Train station
Kaohsiung Train station

Our trip was short and memorable, and we will definitely re-visit the South with family again. Kaohsiung, Tainan, Kenting and Taitung wait for us 🙂

Meanwhile, you can get more Taitung updates via their website
->https://tour.taitung.gov.tw

Stay tune for more adventures and photos.
Do follow our IG Story too #sengkangbabiesTaiwan #SengkangBabies花東

You may reference our Taiwan cycling posts at this tag SengkangBabies花東 : *Google Sheet itinerary (GPS inclusive)

*4D3N Cycling itinerary and summary
-Day 1a-Hualien-Taiwan Railway Online booking
-Day 1b-Hualien-Taiwan Giant bicycle rental and Hualien attractions
-Day 2-Cycling Hualien to Ruisui
-Day 3-Cycling Ruisui to Yuli, route 193 is SO beautiful!
-Day 4-Antong to Donghe (Attractions along Highway 11)
-Day 4/5 – Surfing at Dulan
-Day 5 – Taitung top attractions, Kaohsiung, Home

ps.. Do follow our Cycling adventures on Instagram hashtag #Cycling

Video: Cycling Hualian to Ruisui

Video: Cycling Ruisui to Yuli (so pretty!)