If you are fit and fast, this can be an enjoyable single day challenge around one of New Zealand's most iconic mountains. Setting off from the west coast city of New Plymouth, the ride heads down the Surf Highway throgh the rural hinterlands of Taranaki before joining State Highway 3 back into the comforts of the city. The beautiful dormant volcano will be a constant attraction on your left.
Surf Coast to Opunake
The first leg heads south from New Plymouth along State Highway 45. An initial hillier section of 30 km will get the legs warmed up, but then the road becomes flatter and easier on the next section, where the road is not too far inland from the rugged western coast. Opunake is reached after 62 km and is a great little town to spend a night in if you want to split the ride up.
From just beyond Opunake head left on Eltham Road towards Kaponga. This is again on undulating road through farming counryside. Take a left onto Manaia Road, then a right onto Opunake Road. Either continue straight all the way into Stratford if you want a town for food or accommodation, or otherwise bypass this section by heading via Pembroke. Once you reach State Highway 3, follow this all the way back into New Plymouth. This makes the section from Opunake an 86 km ride.
If you want company, consider riding the popular Around the Mountain Cycle Challenge which is held in January each year.