Exploring the northern regions of the South Island, this action packed cycling tour is sure to inspire as you cycle past bush clad lakes and tracks, along wild coastlines as well as sample some of New Zealand's very best wines! From Christchurch, you'll cycle towards Hanmer Springs to soak in the outdoor hot pools and experience their therapeutic qualities. Returning to the saddle at Springs Junction, pedal along beech forest lined roads towards the rugged beauty of the 'Wild' West Coast. From here the scenery, not the cycling, will leave you breathless as you head north along the flatter, picturesque landscapes of Lake Poerua, Rotomanu and Moana, nestled between the Southern Alps and tranquil Lake Brunner. Continue along one of the best coastal rides in the world before encountering the natural blowholes at Punakaiki, the mighty Buller Gorge as well as the serene beauty of Queen Charlotte Sound, stopping to sample the produce at local wineries along the way. As you head back towards Christchurch along the stunning Kaikoura coastline, dotted with fur seals, there is the option to take an early morning whale watching cruise to provide a fitting finale to this memorable cycling adventure.
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 Marlborough and West Coast Cycle is graded 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 (approx 8am) 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).
After a pick up from your hotel and a bike fitting at our depot 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 with a chance to soak in the hot pools before dinner.
Riding distance – up to 60kms / 40 miles
This morning the beautiful beech forests of the Lewis Pass beckon. By cycle and coach we gradually climb over the picturesque Lewis and Rahu Saddles, after each climb is a downhill rush with long sweeping corners. On beautifully sealed roads with lush temperate rainforest lining the roadside we ride until we reach the rugged beauty of the West Coast Region. The afternoon sees us finish our ride at a country pub called "Formerly the Blackball Hilton." There is a story to be told over your drinks before we drive to Moana, nestled between the spectacular Southern Alps and tranquil Lake Brunner.
Riding distance – morning - up to 45km / 28 miles
- optional afternoon ride - 30 km / 19 miles
Heading out of Moana, we follow an undulating and winding course through the picturesque Arnold Valley to Stillwater. A flat ride beside the banks of the Grey River takes us out to the coastal township of Greymouth. One of the trips many highlights is the coastal riding as we head along the coast to the famous Pancake Rocks at Punakaiki. The riding is pure quality – with enough hills to keep you honest.
Riding distance – 76 kms / 47 miles
We cycle the sealed roads through the impressive Buller Gorge where the upper gorge landscape provides us with snapshot vistas of the Buller River whose white water attracts many a rafting and kayak enthusiast. There are plenty of photo opportunities on this scenic and gently undulating ride, before we board our coach for a final ride into St Arnaud, nestled in the heartland of the Nelson Lakes National Park. We recommend doing one of the many short walks around nearby Lake Rotoiti. This area is known as a “mainland island” and the results of the pest eradication programme means that the native birdlife is flourishing.
Riding distance – morning - up to 91 kms / 57 miles
Early risers are encouraged to take a walk into the nearby native forest at sunrise to hear the native birds & their “dawn chorus”. From behind St Arnaud we cycle the sealed forestry roads on a long mainly downhill ride towards the coast. We continue along a quiet road beside the beautiful Motueka River and through an area known for growing hops. We enter the township of Motueka and transfer by coach to nearby Nelson where we have time to explore the arts and craft capital of New Zealand.
Riding distance – up to 97km / 60miles
By coach we motor over the steep outlying hills to arrive at the start of the beautiful Queen Charlotte Drive, which skirts the Marlborough Sounds into Picton. From here it is a short hop over the hill to Blenheim, NZ’s premier wine producing region. After a great lunch at one of the countries leading wineries, we head south down the dramatic East Coast to reach Kaikoura, home of whale watching in New Zealand.
Riding distance – 60km / 37 miles
For the early risers, an optional chance to view one of the great natural sights as whales surface against the spectacular mountain backdrop of the seaward Kaikoura Mountains (www.whalewatch. co.nz). Swimming with or watching dolphins is also highly recommended (www.dolphin.co.nz). Due to the popularity, however, it is essential to make a booking well in advance. Following a late breakfast we head further south cycling some of the great back roads and enjoying the scenery as we eventually return to Christchurch and deliver you to your accommodation for the night.
Riding distance – up to 60km / 37 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)
These bikes have the same narrower tyres and lightweight frames, only with flat handlebars and bar ends (so you can change hand positions) to give the performance and speed of a road bike. The geometry allows you to sit in a more natural upright riding position that provides the best control of the bike with a well-placed centre of gravity and in a posture that reduces strain on the rider's neck and back.
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 MTB SPD pedals. A bicycle helmet will be supplied with all bike rentals.
Per Person, Twin Share
“The riding was just perfect for me, the tastings, scenery & walking on the beach at Westport were highlights. This was our trip of a lifetime. Thanks for being a major part of it"