South Island Triple Trails

South Island Triple Trails

Trip Highlights

Cycling alongside the shores of Lake Ohau on the Alps to Ocean Cycle&#160;-&#160;<i>Photo:&#160;Tim de jong</i>
  • Cycle the spectacular Alps to Ocean, Central Otago Rail Trail and the West Coast Wilderness Trail all in one trip!
  • Hike beneath Mt Cook in the World Heritage National Park
  • Discover the ancient Elephant Rock formations
  • Explore the charming Victorian Precinct in Oamaru
  • Take a journey on the famous Taieri Gorge Railway
  • Taste award wining Pinot Noir in a boutique Central Otago winery
  • Enjoy the beauty of Queenstown and the numerous activities it has to offer
  • Wonder at Lake Matheson, famous for its sunset reflections of Aoraki/Mount Cook
  • Admire NZ’s native birds and forest from a Treetop Walkway
  • Take in the rugged coastlines, pristine lakes and alpine landscapes of the West Coast

Trip Summary

Our support vehicle is never too far away&#160;-&#160;<i>Photo:&#160;Lisa Jones</i>

Majestic rugged mountains, spectacular glaciers, wild coastlines, emerald blue lakes - it’s all here and within reach. New Zealand boasts an amazing variety of landscapes and equally amazing biking. This ultimate 14 day adventure offers the perfect opportunity to ride 3 of the famous cycle trails allowing you to achieve a complete circuit within the South Island. Our cycle tour leaves the garden city of Christchurch, heads south towards the Southern Alps and Queenstown and then returns up the West Coast and over the mountains back to Christchurch.

We begin with the Alps to Ocean trail near Aoraki/Mt Cook, New Zealand’s highest peak. We cycle past the snow-capped peaks of the Southern Alps, turquoise glacier-fed lakes and lush pastures dotted with sheep to end this trail at the small port of Oamaru on the Pacific Ocean. We then take a train ride on the scenic Taieri Gorge Railway from Dunedin to join New Zealand's original 'Great Ride' and the second of our trails, the Otago Central Rail Trail. We follow the route of the historic railway, crossing viaducts, bridges and through railway tunnels dating back to the gold mining era of the 1880's.

We have a free day in Queenstown within the beautiful Lakes District, where we can marvel at the crystal clear Lake Wakatipu surrounded by high mountain peaks. Our journey continues northwards where crossing Haast Pass you'll be greeted by lush rainforests and surreal coastlines featuring high cliffs and crashing seas. Your cycling efforts will be rewarded on reaching the world famous Fox Glacier, where you can enjoy a guided walk, or discover nearby Lake Matheson and its magnificent reflection of the Southern Alps. We’ll visit the equally impressive Franz Josef Glacier before heading to Ross and the start of our third and final cycle trail, the West Coast Wilderness. Following extensive water races, logging tramways and historic railway lines, we will emerge on the rugged coast at Hokitika. We finish this epic journey by crossing the Southern Alps a second time at Arthurs Pass; and then descend to Christchurch to the end of this amazing adventure.

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. This Triple Trails Cycle is graded moderate. You will need a good level of fitness and we suggest 90 minutes of cycling three times a week for the three months leading up to your trip. You will need to be able to cycle 50-60km each day and as much of the trail is on hard packed gravel, the more practise you get cycling on gravel before your tour it will make the experience a lot more fun.

Itinerary

Early this morning you will be collected from a central Christchurch location around 08:00am and taken to our depot for a bike fitting and tour briefing. We then drive south to Geraldine for a refreshment break before starting our first ride. We cycle quiet sealed roads through picturesque countryside, before stopping for lunch in Fairlie. After lunch we drive to Lake Tekapo Village. Its picturesque lake is the first of the storage lakes which feed the hydro schemes in the basin and down the Waitaki Valley. This afternoon we set away on the first of the three famous cycle trails we are to conquer this tour - the Alps to Ocean Cycle Trail, following quiet roads that follow the turquoise blue waters of the canal system. On return to Tekapo we have the option to visit the local hot pools to ease any first day muscle aches (own expense). The famous Church of the Good Shepherd and nearby statue standing as a tribute to the sheepdogs that make farming the Mackenzie Basin possible are local icons. We meet in the early evening to have our first group dinner together. Cycle Distance: Up to 35 km

Meals:  D

After breakfast this morning we drive to our next cycling point on the Alps to Ocean Cycle Trail alongside the Tekapo hydro canal. We enjoy some flat easy riding past salmon farms to the edge of Lake Pukaki, joining the lakeside cycle trail and with spectacular mountain vistas. From the road end, Aoraki/Mt Cook beckons so we load up and drive to The Hermitage where we have the option to enjoy a visit to the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre (own expense) or the informative Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park visitor centre (free of charge). In the afternoon you’ll also have the chance to put your walking shoes on and take in the stunning glacier and mountain views from either the Sealey Tarns, the Hooker Valley Track or Tasman Glacier view point. We stay in Aoraki/Mount Cook Village tonight, and enjoy an evening, dining and relaxing below the highest peaks in the Southern Alps. Cycle Distance: Tekapo to Pukaki - 30 km

Meals:  B,L

This morning, after a short transfer to the nearby village of Twizel, we cycle past Lakes Ruataniwha and Ohau, mostly on cycle trail, to Lake Ohau Lodge for lunch. After we've refuelled our bodies, those who would like a challenge can continue on the trail, which starts its steady climb up to the Tarnbrae Saddle. At 900m this is the highpoint of the whole Alps to Ocean Cycle Trail and your efforts are rewarded with stunning views across the Mackenzie Basin. Alternatively for those who want a relaxing afternoon there is the option to transfer by vehicle and enjoy a final, mostly downhill and flat ride on the trail into Omarama, our stop for the night. Omarama is called "Place of Light" in Maori terminology, a reference to its extraordinarily pure and clear sky. This region is also famous for gliding due to some unique air wave systems and feisty thermals. This evening enjoy an optional soak in a private hot tub of fresh mountain water (own expense). Cycle Distance: Twizel to Lake Ohau - 38 km Ohau to Omarama - 41 km Short option: Quailburn to Omarama - 23 km

Meals:  B,L,D

We set off on our bikes from our accommodation this morning, following the trail to Sailors Cutting, along the shores of Lake Benmore. From here there is a choice to climb to the Otematata saddle or to take the support vehicle to the top and enjoy a fabulous downhill cycle towards Aviemore Dam, where we will enjoy a lakeside picnic. We load up here and head east to Duntroon and then turn inland on more beautiful quiet rural roads, a walk amongst the weird rock formations known locally as Elephant Rocks is a must. The rest of the day is spent amidst more spectacular limestone outcrops and landscapes as we gradually descend towards Oamaru where the Alps to Ocean trail ends on the Pacific Coast. The beautifully restored historic Oamaru Victorian quarter is home to Steampunk and in season features street actors providing entertainment, local crafts, cafes and bars. In the evening we can visit the famous blue penguin colony to view the penguins returning to their nest after a day of food gathering (own expense) or explore the Victorian precinct. Cycle Distances: Omarama to Aviemore Dam - 40 km Optional climb to Otematata saddle - 5 km Duntroon to Oamaru - Up to 45 km

Meals:  B,L

We start with a scenic cycle out of Oamaru along the coastal road. This road provides breath-taking views of sandy beaches and the Pacific Ocean. We dismount in Waianakarua where the coastal road traffic increases and drive part of the way. Our first stop is the perfectly spherical Moeraki Boulders lying along a stretch of Koekohe Beach. Believed to be at least 60 million years old, each boulder weighs several tons and can be up to six feet high. Our cycling route continues inland from Waitati on Blueskin Bay to Dunedin. We end our ride at the bottom of Baldwin Street, the world’s steepest street. By the time the Scottish settlers arrived in Dunedin around the mid-19th century, they found an area rich in Maori history. The rough, tough and enterprising whalers added another element of diversity to this burgeoning Otago harbour. The cultural mix of Maori, whaler and Scot gave early Dunedin a character all of its own, and here you will find some of the finest examples of Victorian and Edwardian architecture in the Southern Hemisphere. Dunedin’s railway station, known as one of the world’s most beautiful train stations, is said to be the most photographed building in New Zealand. Once in Dunedin, you will be free to spend the rest of the afternoon and evening exploring the city. Cycling Distances: Oamaru Coastal Ride - 24 km Waitati to Dunedin - 20 km

Meals:  B

Today we embark on the second of our cycle trails - the Otago Central Rail Trail, a beautiful 150 kilometre historic journey into the Central Otago heartland. After breakfast, we transfer to Dunedin’s magnificent train station. This is our departure point for a spectacular train trip that will take us from the hustle of Dunedin’s city centre through the rugged Taieri Gorge. Our journey on board the historic Taieri Gorge Railway offers dramatic scenery and vantage points that cannot be seen by car. Once we arrive in Pukerangi, we find ourselves in the Central Otago region. As one of the historic gold mining locations of New Zealand, the Central Otago region is full of Kiwi colonial history. Off the train we transfer to Middlemarch by midday, and after lunch we set off on this historic trail, passing by tunnels and bridges that once were the secret preserve of railway workers. We witness the natural beauty and look in awe at some early feats of the first settlers of this region. Our destination today is Wedderburn, a sleepy town in the heart of the Maniototo Plain, where we can make a visit to the Wedderburn Tavern dating back to 1885 for some well deserved refreshments. Cycling Distance: Middlemarch to Wedderburn - up to 75 km

Meals:  B,D

Today we complete the the Otago Central Rail Trail. This ever-changing landscape includes rugged mountains, crystal clear rivers, and steep winding gorges. We cycle over the impressive Poolburn viaduct and Manuherikia Bridge and through the 229m Poolburn tunnel. With views of the Dunstan Mountains and the Raggedy Range, we continue on to Clyde, a quaint historic town in this up and coming wine region. Clyde was once a wild and rollicking “canvas” town bustling with gold miners, shop keepers and ever-present dancing girls. Dunstan House, significant as a social gathering point for the thousands of miners, was the first hotel built in Clyde. This unique hotel restored with an ambiance of yesteryear is our accommodation for the night. The “gold” that can be found in this region today is wine and before dinner, we have an option to try award-winning Pinot Noir with a private wine tasting at a local winery. Cycling Distance: Wedderburn to Clyde - Up to 80 km

Meals:  B,D

After breakfast we transfer by van to the town of Cromwell, where we can connect with the scenic Queenstown trails network. We will cycle into the beautiful Gibbston Valley, known for its world renowned vineyards and continue out to the Kawarau Gorge and the iconic Bungy Bridge – home of Bungy. After watching and perhaps thinking about taking the leap of faith, we continue to Arrowtown, a delightful gold rush village nestled below the beautiful peaks that surround the sparkling Arrow River. Treat yourself to a cold one in this small but sophisticated town. After lunch and some time for exploration, we ride our final few miles on quiet trails towards Queenstown. Queenstown is the world’s adrenalin capital and makes a fitting point to take a rest day from our riding adventure. Surrounded by majestic mountains and hugging the shores of Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown is the perfect place to relax. Cycling Distance: Gibbston Valley & Queenstown Trails - Up to 45 km

Meals:  B,D

Today is a day at leisure in Queenstown. There are optional excursions to either Doubtful Sound or Milford Sound (own expense). These tours have an early start with a bus journey to either Manapouri (to visit Doubtful Sound) or Milford Sound to join an amazing cruise into Fiordland. There is also an option to bus one way to Milford Sound and fly back to Queenstown by helicopter or small plane. We are happy to assist with bookings. Others in the group might like to enjoy a relaxing day in Queenstown, taking in the scenery, visiting galleries, cafes and restaurants, if not partaking in a bungy jump, a sky dive, jet boating or some other adrenalin activity!

Meals:  Nil

Today we make our way to Wanaka, via the Crown Range Road, New Zealand’s highest road. We drive to the Crown Range’s summit at 1076m above sea level, where we can enjoy sweeping views over the Arrow Valley, the Remarkables Range and Lake Wakatipu. It is here we unload and enjoy a great downhill ride to Wanaka, visiting the famous historic Cardrona Hotel enroute. We continue cycling down the valley into the picturesque alpine village of Wanaka. Late afternoon we have the chance to enjoy some free time in vibrant Wanaka before meeting again for an evening meal together. Cycling Distance: Crown Range Summit to Wanaka - up to 40 km

Meals:  B,D

This morning we will start our drive skirting the edges of Lake Hawea and Wanaka with Mt Aspiring National Park as the backdrop, before climbing over the Haast Pass to the west coast of the South Island, renowned for it's glaciers and wild coastlines. The road is bordered by rainforest and mountains on one side and the wild ocean on the other. This is mainly a driving day (journey time approx 6 hours), but we will enjoy stopping at a number of waterfalls and scenic points for short walks along the way. We end our day in the tiny township of Fox Glacier, home to one of only 3 temperate glaciers in the world. There will be time to enjoy a short walk and relax before making our own dinner arrangements.

Meals:  B,L

This morning we take a 90 minute walk around the jewel-like Lake Matheson, a photographer’s paradise with potential to capture brilliant mountainous reflections, after which we will explore Fox Glacier by taking a short walk to the glacier terminal face. Weather permitting and subject to availability, there is an option to join a scenic flight over Aoraki/Mt Cook and the glaciers (own expense). After lunch there is the option for those who want to challenge themselves further to cycle a classic West Coast challenge, "the Triple Bypass" the road between Fox and Franz Josef Glacier, which is a serious of 3 short but steep climbs over 25km of riding. If you prefer there is the option to take the support vehicle and relax in the township of Franz Josef and maybe enjoy a soak in the local hot springs. Optional Cycle Distance: Fox Glacier to Franz Josef Glacier - 25 km

Meals:  B,L

This morning we continue north to the town of Ross, where we connect up with the last of our cycle trails - the West Coast Wilderness Trail. We follow the cycleway north to Hokitika, with a stop at the Treetop Walkway, to experience a unique adventure walking on custom built platforms among temperate rainforest giants. The trail continues through small townships and farms to join the old Kaniere water race, before leading us to the shores of the beautiful Lake Kaniere, nestled against the Southern Alps. Here we take a moment to appreciate our surroundings before we load up and drive the short distance back to Hokitika, a quiet coastal town known for the crafting of Pounamu (greenstone) from the West Coast. You have the late afternoon free to explore the town and later for a walk on the beach to admire a stunning West Coast sunset (if conditions are right). Tonight we enjoy our last evening meal together, celebrating new friendships and our cycling achievements of the past 2 weeks. Cycling Distance: Ross to Lake Kaniere - 54 km

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we drive back to Lake Kaniere and continue our ride through the amazing bush trails of this cycleway. Firstly on rural roads and then the dedicated trail that takes us to the coffee stop at Mill-town, home of saw-milling in earlier times. The trail crosses a swing bridge and then a kilometre of switchback climbing takes us to the high point and more superb riding. From here it’s mainly downhill, as we follow water races, bush tracks and reservoir roads taking in the spectacular views as we gradually descend to Kumara and the beautiful historic hotel where we can enjoy a celebratory drink before our spectacular drive across the Southern Alps back to Christchurch. On arrival we will drop you off at your central Christchurch accommodation, where trip arrangements conclude. Cycling Distance: Lake Kaniere to Kumara - Up to 50 km

Meals:  B,L

What's Included

  • 12 breakfasts, 7 lunches and 7 dinners
  • 13 nights hotel/motel ensuite accommodation on twin share basis
  • 2 Professional qualified driver/guides
  • Private vehicle transport/support vehicle
  • Bike hire of a hybrid mountain bike (with helmet)
  • Journey on the Taieri Gorge Railway
  • Wine tasting at a Central Otago vineyard
  • Entrance fee to West Coast Treetop Walkway
  • Water and snacks while cycling
  • Concession fees paid to the Department of Conservation

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
  • Water bottle (help us save the environment and bring your own bike drink bottle)
  • Optional activities (e.g. Tekapo hot pools, Steampunk Museum, Penguin watching, Scenic flights from Fox or Franz Josef glaciers)
  • Personal expenses (eg. phone calls, internet, laundry, shopping etc)
  • Travel insurance
  • Visa (if required)
  • Tips

Bikes used for Adventure South Cycleways tours, Avanti Discovery MTB (top), low step version (middle) and e-Bike (bottom)

MOUNTAIN BIKE

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 suspension seat posts to iron out the bumps and hydraulic disc brakes give responsive braking.

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

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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.

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ACCESSORIES

A bicycle helmet 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

 

AT A GLANCE

Duration:14 Days
Starting Point:Christchurch
Finishing Point:Christchurch
Activities:Cycling
Grade:Moderate  Click for more information
Trip Code:USI
Prices From:NZD$5395
Single Supplement - Limited to 2 per departure:NZD$1190