For our honeymoon, Carrie and I wanted to do something special. We’d both been avid cyclists and backpackers, but we’d never tried to put the two together. When fantasizing about our honeymoon, we chose New Zealand as our destination because of the country’s vast backpacking options and its diverse landscape. We then had to figure out how to get around the country. Renting a car was possible but expensive. Using the tourist buses would be cheaper but not offer enough freedom to go where and when we pleased. That’s when we considered getting around by bike, or push bike as the Kiwis say.
View our trip around New Zealand in a larger map.
Little did we know that bicycle touring is quite the popular mode of travel for a lot of people. And by people I mean Europeans. And by Europeans I mean Germans. Americans equate bicycle touring to homelessness. If you’re not in a car you’re a bum. Well we bums had a dandy time. We rode about 3500km throughout both of New Zealand’s main islands from February 1–May 7, 2007, an average of 40km per day. That doesn’t sound like much riding, but we also mixed in some multi-night backpacking trips and other fun non-cycling activities, which did not include any trampoline bouncing, but it could have. We saw more trampolines than sheep. If football and pork rinds are American pastimes, it’s safe to say that Kiwi pastimes are driving with boats and training for gymnastics. Traveling by bicycle offers so much cultural education!
There are those reading this that might wonder how we’re able to skip town for three jobless months. Well first off, we made a savings plan and stuck to it for over a year. By December 2006, we’d saved enough to buy the plane tickets and to travel on a reasonable budget of US$60 a day. I decided to quit my job in January in order to pack away our modest amount of possessions for storage, to create this website, and to do a bunch of miscellaneous tasks it takes to leave town for a while. Carrie continued to work and got a leave of absence from her boss. It also helped that we’re both cheapskates. We minimized nights out on the town, abused library privileges, and limited buying only things that might come in handy on the trip. It’s the small steps that really save the most money at the end (hint: we don’t have lives).