Uk Or Nz? I'll Soon Find Out...

Postby gammmmo on Wed 15/Oct/08 4:01am

Hello people...we are coming out to NZ in Feb for 4 weeks from the UK for a holiday, and also to recce the place for potentially moving down there permanently. All I really know about mountain biking in NZ is what I've seen in Drop In Season 4 (riptv dot com) - so Wanaka, Queenstown, Roturua etc!!

1. how does mtbing compare in NZ with say the UK or Canada?
2. how does the price of biking stuff compare?
3. how does the weather compare (this is a big issue as better weather is a major issue in moving from the UK)?
4. are there many lift assisted DH trails or freeride parks?
5. are there many purpose built XC trails?
6. what are access rights like? in UK footpaths are not for bikes by law, in France/Spain they don't seem quite so picky.

Thanks in advance....any info very much appreciated while I peruse the site. Cheers!
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Postby BenB on Wed 15/Oct/08 4:56am

1. It varies from place to place, christchurch (where I live) has a good amount of dh and xc tracks accessible via a decent road.
2. I sometimes order parts from the UK, certain brands that you find in the UK like hope will be expensive here. The dollar has gone down which means imports cost more. Bring some bike parts over.
3. Summer makes for fairly dry dusty tracks where I live, it's not as rainy as the UK in winter but can get quite muddy.
4. Some of the ski fields in wanaka and queenstown are open for bikes in summer.
5. I don't ride xc but I think there are quite a few.
6. Nobody will really care if you ride on the footpath, but in my city there are cycle lanes.

Hope that helps.
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Postby Alf on Wed 15/Oct/08 6:43am

We so will care if you ride on the footpath :crazy: Where's your head? There's enough bad stuff happening with cars getting annoyed with cyclists on the road, taking great risks around us. There is already low tolerance of cyclists in general, get off the footpath and stop annoying the pedestrians as well. We need more supporters of cycling, not less.
On the topic, I had friends from Knebworth who moved here, stayed two years and went home again totally frustrated with lack of comparable income, the wind in Chch wrecking a great day and the huge difference in price for basic things.
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Postby gammmmo on Wed 15/Oct/08 7:27am

BenB and Alf - thanks for the replies. On the subject of cost - property in NZ appears to be generally quite a bit cheaper than the UK, irrespective of area. We don't expect to make the same kind of money over there but being mortgage free from the outset is a distinct possibility.

"Ripoff Britain" is frequently banded around here - there is a common consensus that we pay alot for housing, food, travel, petrol as well as mtb stuff...its cheaper to buy in the USA AND declare the goods so they are subject to import duty and VAT at 17.5%.
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Postby palmerage2 on Wed 15/Oct/08 7:39am

I am pretty sure petrol is cheaper here, well that's from when i looked at Christmas when i was in UK. I live in Christchurch also and you don't get the dark grey gloomy winters that are wet and cold here. There are rainy days that leave tracks muddy but its not as bad as England. There are some like alpine crispy days which are sunny but still quite cold. You get some snow down to sea level aswell.
This from my experience of being born in the UK and coming to NZ when i was 3. Living here for 10 years and going back at almost every Christmas. :thumbsup:
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Postby gammmmo on Wed 15/Oct/08 8:21am

CCh might be an option - I've read its one of the driest areas, plus its South Island and my perception (only have a rudimetary knowledge of NZ at the moment) is that is the better place for biking etc.

As for petrol - well that peaked at £1.20 a litre about 3 months ago - so around NZ$3/litre...and has slowly come down by about 10%. Bargain.

I also have a suspicion (and a few people have said this to me here) that NZ will offer less choice for consumer goods e.g. cars, electrical goods. This isn't a deal breaker as the reason we think, on paper, NZ might be good for us is that its English speaking, has much more varied scenery, better climate, less than 10% of the population of the UK, appears to have an 'outdoorsy feel' etc......and these things are much more important to us.

Many people here feel that life in the UK is a rat-race...and the weather IS rubbish - our summer was bad this year, just like last year, and now basically it will be grey and rainy for the next 6 months.
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Postby radiusq on Wed 15/Oct/08 9:32am

I migrated to NZ 6 years ago.

A few pointers....

You're likely to earn far less in NZ than you did in the UK. Money does tend to go a little further when it comes to the basics like food, clothing and energy, but we definitely have less disposable income at the end of the month. This is despite being fortunate enough to be apparently at the higher end of household incomes. In real money terms, I earn half of what I did in the UK 6years ago. Impulse purchases are few and far between, but I've managed to convince myself that consumerism is bad for the soul anyway:)

Mortgage rates are much higher - typically hovering around 9%, whereas (pre credit crunch) UK rates have been around 5%. You can use this to your advantage if you keep property in the UK. Unfortunately, I didn't really investigate the finances heavily enough before moving, but neither could I afford property (in London) anyway.

Unless you specifically work in either the farming or tourism industries, then work will very likely bring you to three main cities - although in UK terms city is probably stretching the word for Christchurch at least, it feels very much like a large town to me.

I spent the first 5 years living in Auckland. Nice climate all year round - t-shirt weather through the year - although can have very wet spells - 10days+ of rain is not uncommon - this year there was rain every day bar one during July. It also stays light till about 5oçlock in the depths of Winter. Awesome beaches an hours drive way. Some pretty decent mountain biking 45 minutes drive away. Best work opportunities in NZ.

I've spent the last year in Christchurch.The South Island is amazingly beautiful and Christchurch puts you bang in the middle. You've seen Drop in NZ! Some of the trails featured are literally on my back door. The riding is spectacular right next to the city, and it just gets better the further you go out. Awesome backcountry hiking just over an hour away. Snowfields during the Winter. Really, if you're into your outdoor activies, there can be few better places to live. I see lots of people out there climbing, kayaking, windsurfing, kitesurfing - there is so much to do (I'm looking at getting into kitesurfing this Summer). Climate is probably only thing I don't like so much. It can get a bit too cold (similar to UK winters - morning frosts are common), and a bit too hot (for me) in the Summer (mid thirties aren't uncommon). It's much drier than Auckland though.

Good luck with your holiday and plans. Don't forget to bring your bike:)
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Postby mitch7 on Wed 15/Oct/08 9:45am

Here in Marlborough...there is stacks of jobs related to the grape/wine industry directly and indirectly...

at all levels...from basic labour through to skilled trades /managerial/scientific etc...

saying that though, our trails are a bit further away and spread out...not as compact as say CHCH or Wgtn

yep you won't earn anywhere near as much as in Limey..but then you ain't paying 330,000 pounds + for a single room apartment (as my brother and his wife has paid)...

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Postby Jono on Wed 15/Oct/08 10:04am

on the footpath thing - I think that you're referring to "singletrack" footpaths, as opposed to bridleways right?

In that case, the rules vary from location to location, but generally most places are open. NZ Doesn't have the same network of footpaths and bridleways that the UK does, but it does have a lot (well, huge) amount of back-country walking trails that are also bike accessible.

They tend to be quite a bit more technical than many of the UK trails that I rode - often the rides that I do in NZ are shorter than the 100k "north or south downs" type rides I did while there - a long ride would be 50K here, but there are a lot more hills. My regular ride around wellington on a wednesday night has 1000m of climbing.

In terms of DH/freeride, it's different all over the country, but most regions have DH-focussed clubs who build DH trails with vehicle access to the top. Places like rotorua also have shuttle companies running on the weekend, and over summer some places around central otago (Queenstown, wanaka etc) have MTB parks with lift or shuttle access.
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Postby gammmmo on Wed 15/Oct/08 9:42pm

Thanks for the replies - that was really informative. Good to hear your backcountry walking trails are bike accessible. Part of the problem here is that there are too many people with conflicting usage of the sorts of terrain that would be attractive to mountain bikers.

CCh sounds interesting - I heard it was dry. We don't mind if it gets cold in the winter. Global warming is affecting our weather in the UK - the climate is becoming more similar all year round -> rainy, milder in the winter, overcast. I'll take guaranteed summers and crisp winter days anytime. Realistically, though it would appear that living near Auckland is the sensible choice, as we are both in IT and would look to continue that for the short/medium term. Thats not a deal breaker though as, like I say, we will be mortgage free.

One of the few problems (this may be a plus point for some people!) with NZ is its remoteness of course. Here, I can hop on a plane and be in the Alps, southern Spain or even Scandinavia in 2 hours. But....people just don't seem to take advantage of that as much as perhaps they should.
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Postby Alf on Wed 15/Oct/08 9:54pm

That was one of the downers for my UK mates. They used to have some awesome weekends away, but here in Christchurch they had to drive for hours (and end up somewhere pretty small) or fly somewhere which was expensive compared to picking up cheap flights to say, France for a long weekend. :( In saying that tho', I've just been over to stay with them and they had an awesome home and section size here in NZ compared to what they've got in the UK.
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Postby Mr_Bob on Wed 15/Oct/08 9:58pm

Hey if you're passing thru Rotorua, Pm me, I'd be glad to show you around for a weekend :thumbsup:
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Postby gammmmo on Wed 15/Oct/08 10:28pm

Mr_Bob, thats very civil of you. I may just take you up on that offer. We fly out on 6 Feb but expect to be in Rotorua 2-3 weeks after that. I hear there is a bike park there which I am keen to try.
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Postby Mr_Bob on Wed 15/Oct/08 10:33pm

gammmmo wrote: Mr_Bob, thats very civil of you. I may just take you up on that offer. We fly out on 6 Feb but expect to be in Rotorua 2-3 weeks after that. I hear there is a bike park there which I am keen to try.

Uhh Yup ;)
you could say that there are a few trails there worth a look at :D
I'm in Tauranga, (an hour away to the east) but I ride Vegas most weekends.
If You're bike-less, I may be able to hook you up with a bike to ride too.
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Postby radiusq on Wed 15/Oct/08 11:04pm

gammmmo wrote:
One of the few problems (this may be a plus point for some people!) with NZ is its remoteness of course. Here, I can hop on a plane and be in the Alps, southern Spain or even Scandinavia in 2 hours. But....people just don't seem to take advantage of that as much as perhaps they should.

Definitely, access to mainland Europe something you're going to miss. We're not completely isolated down here. There's Australia and the Pacific Islands for weekends away and holidays.

The flight to/from UK is very painful and a months holiday home is very expensive - the flight and jet lag is not really worth it for anything less. I've been doing it every second year, and most of my close family and friends have been out at least once. Access to family and friends is another issue you will need to consider. Most English blokes tend to be OK with being away from family, jubilant even;) I do however know of at least 3 couples where the woman's pangs to be near Mum, Dad, Brothers and Sisters have brought them back to the UK within a couple years. . In all cases neither of the lads wanted to leave.
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