Camping matters for cycling

Cycle touring around New Zealand may not be your first choice of summer activity, but it brings a lot of tourists here who rely on camp-grounds being in slightly obscure locations to make their trips viable.

It may not be a surprise to learn that the humble camp ground has had a tough time over the last decade as camping fell out of favour. The holiday hotspots have fared better, but in small towns they continue to struggle on, or have shut up shop.

Motel or camp?

People who choose to cycle around the country in general can’t afford to stay in more expensive accommodation each night while travelling all over the country unless they are seriously well off. The difference of $20 a night vs $100 quickly adds up over a week let alone multi-month stays.

We don’t know what we have until it is gone

The distances between places to stay have to be shorter than what you can do in a car if they are to be considered viable for cyclists. This will often mean staying in places off-the-beaten-track as cyclists do their best to stay off Highway 1.

We can help by giving places that don’t immediately come to mind a go to help keep some of these places alive as once they disappear they are never likely to start up again.

Surprises await

Camping is a great way to make use of the various obscure trails that exist in New Zealand, for example the bridge to nowhere or cycling from Raetihi to Wanganui.

You may not have considered camping in places like Taumarunui but these slightly off-the-beaten-track places to stay may well surprise you if you chose to look. They may not on the surface have the offerings of Rotorua or Taupo for example but peel back the layers a little and you may well discover parts of New Zealand rich with history and interesting trails.

Doing your bit

In taking the time to stay in out of the way places you are helping to sustain camping and ensure that cycle touring remains a part of New Zealand. You may well find a surprise that you were not expecting, like a camp-ground offering all the fresh herbs you can eat.

So on your next trip away, consider staying at a camp-ground and enjoy a more communal cooking experience and the interesting conversations to be had. You never know where the local trails will lead you.


Author: Christopher Baylis

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