This fabulous cycling journey may be short in length, but certainly not in highlights! Over five days you'll discover the northern regions of New Zealand's dramatic west coast following a well thought out itinerary over spectacular passes and along one of the most scenic coastal rides in the world. After a bike fitting in Christchurch, enjoy a warm up ride to view sensational views of the Southern Alps before cycling towards Hanmer Springs where you can soak your muscles in the hot pools. Over the next three days you'll pedal past the mighty Buller Gorge, along roads hugging eroded limestone cliffs that drop into the wild Tasman Sea and explore the famous Pancake Rocks en route to Greymouth, where you'll board the TranzAlpine Express for the unforgettable train journey via the lush forests of Arthur’s Pass National Park back to Christchurch. If you wish to extend your West Coast cycling experience, this tour connects perfectly with our Great West Coast cycle tour.
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 Hot Pools, Passes and Rainforests Cycle is graded intermediate/moderate. You will need a reasonable level of fitness and we suggest 60 minutes of aerobic type exercise, (either cycling or jogging) three times a week for the three months leading up to your trip. The tour is fully supported and if at any stage you feel like having a rest from cycling you will be able to ride in the support vehicle.
Important: The night before your tour is to depart your guide will call your pre tour accommodation to advise what time 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).
At lunchtime we meet at our depot for a ‘working lunch’. Our Guides will facilitate the trip briefing and introductions. They will give you a full understanding of the itinerary, terrain and any operational issues we need to deal with. This is the time to fit your bikes before we turn some pedals on a warm-up ride on the outskirts of Christchurch, providing wonderful views of the Southern Alps.
Ride – 42km/27 miles
From our morning meeting in Christchurch we drive out of the city and start to cycle. The Canterbury Plains are vast and with Hanmer being our objective it's a matter of turning the pedals and watching the road slip by. By late afternoon we arrive at the thermal resort and a chance to soak in the hot pools before dinner.
Ride – 103kms/64 miles
The road over Lewis Pass takes us up through the beech forests of the Southern Alps steadily gaining height in the Maruia Valley. From the head of the valley there is a short grind to the summit of the Pass and the chance to look into Cannibal Gorge before a freewheel down to the second thermal resort of the tour at Maruia Springs with its Japanese bathhouse and outdoor pools. Continuing onwards we climb over Rahu Saddle for a final descent into the west coast mining town of Reefton.
Ride - 141kms/87 miles
Suggested Shorter Option – Boyle River to Reefton – 86kms/54 miles
The ride from Reefton takes us out to the mighty Buller River and down to the junction with the State Highway 6 where we turn south to Punakaiki and the start of one of the best coastal rides in the world. The road hugs the eroded limestone cliffs which drop into the wild Tasman sea. Our accommodation has the added delight of exploring the famous Pancake Rocks and the limestone wonderland of the area.
Ride - 125kms/78 miles
Suggested Shorter Option – Inangahua to Punakaiki – 90 kms/56 miles.
Southwards again the coastal ride today is again spectacular as the road hugs the coast with its many river mouths and bush slopes. Gradually the land opens up and the rural scenery intensifies as we reach Greymouth and the Grey River. From here we board the unforgettable TranzAlpine Express train and travel back to Christchurch through the spectacular Waimakariri Gorge and lush forests of Arthur's Pass National Park.
Ride - 46kms/28 miles
ROAD BIKE (Additional Charge)
On road cycling tours our road bikes provide the ultimate cycling experience with their narrower tyres and lightweight frames for increased efficiency and speed. The drop hand bars offer multi hand positions to provide muscle relief and comfort. Our bikes are fitted with compact crank sets and wide range rear cassettes to suit people with varying levels of cycling experience and for longer cycling routes.
HYBRID BIKE (Additional Charge)
A hybrid bike blends the best characteristics of both road and mountain bikes into a comfortable bike ideal for riding on both sealed roads and gravel cycle trails.
The hybrids design allows you to sit upright in a position that provides the best control of the bike with well-placed center of gravity and in a posture that reduces strain on the rider's neck and back.
We have low rise, also known as step though bike frames. as well as standard frame styles available.
TANDEM BIKE (Additional Charge)
Our tandem bikes for road cycling tours are ideal for experienced cycle partners to enjoy the journey together. The riding position on our tandems is similar to being on a mountain bike but we fit road tyres to make them perfect for the sealed roads.
For bicycle specifications please contact us.
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, and a 15L saddle bag for personal items you might need in the day can be fitted to the hybrid bikes.
Per Person, Twin Share
"Ivor was an exceptional guide, loved the scenery, riding the downhill 40k into Reefton and the flexibility in the schedule."