New Zealand Cycling and Hiking Adventures

Molesworth High Country Cycle

Molesworth High Country Cycle

Trip Highlights

Cyclists getting ready to head into Molesworth
  • Cycle via quiet back roads to Oxford with it's quaint main street
  • Spend a night at an award winning vineyard in the Waipara Valley, The Old Glenmark Vicarage Lodge
  • Cycle the remote Molesworth Road and visit the historic Molesworth Cob Cottage and Acheron Accommodation House
  • Overnight in the shearers' quarters of a high country merino sheep farm
  • Optional soak in the thermal pools at Hanmer Springs

Trip Summary

From scenic wine regions to surreal mountain landscapes this trip in the Northern Canterbury and Marlborough districts is a delight. Cycle the quiet rural back roads in the emerging wine growing district of Waipara Valley, learn regional history, discover therapeutic qualities of the Hanmer Springs hot pools and cycle the Molesworth Valley along isolated roads flanked by rugged mountains. Stay on a remote back country merino sheep farm nestled under Mt. Tapuae-o-Uenuku, the highest mountain outside of the Southern Alps.

Trip Grading

To determine the grade of a particular adventure we consider a number of factors. These include the condition of the terrain, the altitude, the number of pass crossings and the length of the trip. The Molesworth High Country is graded moderate. You will need a reasonable level of fitness and we suggest 30 minutes of aerobic type exercise, (either cycling or jogging) three times a week for the three months leading up to your trip.


This morning we collect you from your central Christchurch accommodation (usually between 7:30 - 8:30am) then come to our depot for a bike fitting & test ride before driving out of town. Today’s cycling itinerary is flexible depending on the prevailing wind along the quiet back road from Loburn to Oxford. During the day we will visit the scenic Ashley River gorge and pass through the quaint village of Oxford. Late afternoon we drive to our accommodation amongst the vineyards of the Waipara Valley. Tonight we enjoy a home cooked meal and sample local wines alongside the pool in the beautifully converted barn at the Old Vicarage Lodge. Cycling Distance – up to 50kms/31 miles Important: The night before your tour is to depart your guide will call your pre tour accommodation to advise what time (approx 8:30am) they will collect you the following morning. (Please make sure you have given us information as to where you are staying). If you are not around when your guide calls they will leave a message at reception – its really important that you check with reception if you have not heard from your guide directly. If for any reason you have not heard from your guide by the morning of the tour please call us in the NZ office on 0800 00 11 66 (from within NZ).

Meals:  L,D

After a relaxed start we cycle the quiet back roads to the historic Hurunui Pub for lunch before driving to the picturesque alpine village of Hanmer Springs. Best known for its natural hot springs and stunning scenery, the rest of the afternoon is free to explore the local cycle trails for those who want more riding or soak in the thermal hot pools. Tonight you are free to choose one of the excellent local restaurants for your evening meal. Cycling Distance – up to 50 kms / 31 miles

Meals:  B

After an early start this morning we drive to the top of Jacks Pass before cycling into the Molesworth valley. Flanked by mountain ranges the road follows the Acheron River to the historic Acheron House, which was built in 1863 as an overnight stopover in the early stock droving days. We cycle and drive our way along this spectacular back country valley. Just after Ward’s Pass we pass the Molesworth Station settlement before meeting up at the Molesworth Cob Cottage built in 1866. At 180,787 hectares, the Molesworth is New Zealand's biggest farm and supports the country's largest herd of beef cattle, as well as almost 30 endemic plant species. We load up and drive to our shearers' quarters lodging nestled in the vicinity of Mt. Tapuae-o-Uenuku, NZ’s highest mountain outside of the Southern Alps. Tonight's rustic accommodation has shared facilities and a great back country atmosphere. Cycling Distance – up to 86 kms / 53 miles

Meals:  B,L,D

A relaxed start this morning allows us to enjoy this rural high country setting. After saying farewell to our hosts we travel back towards Hanmer Springs, savouring the remoteness of the spectacular landscape around us. We ride some alternate sections of this road on our return journey. We finish up in Hanmer Springs again where there may be time for another soak in the hot pools before our final meal together. Cycling Distance – Up to 50 kms / 31 miles

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning after a relaxed breakfast in Hanmer Springs, we take some time off the bikes to hike the Mt. Isobel track, which gives us panoramic views over the Waiau River valley. After lunch we leave Hanmer and drive to nearby Culverden to enjoy an exhilarating short downhill ride before reaching the South Island's main north-south highway where we load up and return to Christchurch. We may do some wine tasting on the way if time permits and will deliver you to your accommodation in Christchurch on arrival. Cycling Distance –15 kms/ 10 miles

Meals:  B,L

What's Included

  • 4 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 3 dinners
  • 3 nights hotel/motel accommodation, twinshare with ensuite
  • 1 night farm stay accommodation, shared facilities
  • Professional qualified driver/guide
  • 2 professional guides/drivers on trips with 8 or more people
  • Private vehicle transport
  • Water bottle, water and snacks while cycling

What's Not Included

  • International or domestic flights and taxes
  • Arrival and departure transfers
  • Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
  • All beverages, other than breakfast
  • Bike hire (including helmet)
  • Optional activities (eg. Hanmer Hot Springs)
  • Personal expenses (eg. phone calls, internet, laundry, shopping etc)
  • Travel insurance
  • Visa (if required)
  • Tips

Avanti Bikes available for hire for Cycleways, Avanti Discovery (top), Avanti Discovery Low Step (middle), Avanti Discovery Low e-Bike (bottom)

MOUNTAIN BIKE (Additional Charge)

Our new fleet of Avanti Discovery hybrid mountain bikes combines the best characteristics of a hybrid bike and a mountain bike to give you a great ride and comfort on gravel cycle trails. This bike has a more upright riding style meaning you can still take in the amazing scenery you'll encounter along the way.

These bikes have 29" wheels, suspension forks and seat posts to iron out the bumps and hydraulic disc brakes give responsive breaking.

They are also available in a low rise, also known as a step though bike frame, please specify on your booking form.


ELECTRIC BIKE (Additional Charge)

Our Avanti Discovery low step e-Bike is perfect for cyclists that may require a little assistance on their travels. Pedalling our e-Bikes is easier on knees and joints than riding a traditional bike. They provide up to 80kms of pedal assistance before requiring recharging. Very simple to operate and they provide people with varying levels of cycling experience, health and fitness levels the opportunity to enjoy our cycling holidays.

For bicycle specifications please contact us for more details.



Bikes can be fitted with flat pedals, toes clips or SPD pedals. A bicycle helmet and drink bottle will be included with your bike rental, along with a 15L saddle bag for personal items you might need in the day.

Upcoming Travel Dates



Duration:5 Days
Starting Point:Christchurch
Grade:Moderate  Click for more information
Trip Code:MOL
Prices From:NZD$1665
Public Holiday Supplement:NZD$50 
Bike Rental:NZD$170 
E-Bike Rental:NZD$400 
Single Supplement 2016/17:NZD$400 
Single Supplement 2017/18:NZD$400 

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About us

Since 1992, Adventure South NZ has operated an exciting range of guided cycling, hiking and multi-activity holidays right across New Zealand – and the world - to suit all levels of fitness. We are part of the World Expeditions Travel Group.

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