Tourism New Zealand has just appointed Megan Gale as a special ambassador. The Perth-born model’s role is to promote the country’s scenic cycling trails to Australian travellers. Gale might seem like an odd choice for the job, but she has strong links to the land of the long white cloud.
“New Zealand is in my blood – my mum is part Māori,” says Gale. “So the connection to the country has always been strong, and the opportunity to promote it as a destination and its great rides is incredibly exciting.”
New Zealand is home to some of the world’s most famous filming locations, as seen in Hollywood flicks like The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia. And one of the best ways to explore these scenic spots is to hop on a bike – as Gale has done. In October last year, she cycled through Central Otago and the Central North Island.
“Cycling is part of my exercise routine, so combining it with travel is perfect for me. The best part is it lets me explore the country from an entirely different angle – it’s like riding through a postcard,” says Gale.
Australia is New Zealand's largest inbound tourism market, providing more than 470,000 holiday visitors per year – almost half of all travellers. Currently, only about 9 per cent of Australians include cycling as an activity when visiting New Zealand, but that statistic might soon change.
The country offers a vast range of cycling experiences – from a leisurely lakeside track in the scenic town of Wanaka on the South Island to a two-day adventure that takes you deep into Pureora Forest Park on the North Island.
What’s best, there’s a cycling trail for travellers of every ability – from easy rides for families to mountainous excursions for advanced riders.