Experience the remote bays, windswept coastlines and rare wildlife of Southland by bike. Lush green rolling plains, wild windswept coastlines and unique wildlife experiences characterise New Zealand's southern most region- Southland. This remarkable tour begins by cycling the scenic boarder roads of the Fiordland National Park before visiting the world's most southern city- Invercargill. The wildlife experiences in the remote Catlins Coast, home to an ancient petrified forest, fur seals, rare hectors dolphins and the yellow-eyed penguin - the world's rarest penguin - will leave you rejuvenated before exploring Dunedin, famous for it's scottish history, the Otago Peninsula and it's famous Royal Albatross.
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 Southern Coasts Cycle is graded moderate to challenging. You will need a reasonable level of fitness and we suggest 90 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).
From Queenstown we drive the narrow lakeside road alongside Lake Wakitipu to Kingston, where we start our ride for the day on the rolling rural roads of upper Southland.The native red tussock covered hills lead us into the township of Te Anau, perched on the edge of the Fiordland National Park, our goal is the remote Five Rivers cafe for lunch and then onto Mossburn, but stronger riders can be challenged by the possibility of a metric century ride today.
Ride – 125 kms/ 78 miles
Shorter Option – Kingston to Mossburn – 67 kms/41 miles
The morning’s ride takes us alongside Lakes Te Anau & Manapouri before we head south through an ever-changing landscape. The stark arid mountains give way to more gentle pastures as we enter the productive Southland farm country. Small communities dot the landscape and the coastal riding becomes spectacular. This coast is exposed to southerly blasts creating some surreal windswept scenery. Gradually we quit the farmlands and approach Invercargill where we'll stay tonight.
Ride 107km / 66 miles
The route today skirts the beautiful and undiscovered Catlins Forest Park and coastline. The roads are quiet and the scenery diverse as the coastline increasingly becomes spectacular. The ride ends at beautiful Curio Bay where we enjoy a leisurely picnic by the sea, walks along the beach, a swim for the brave & a visit to a petrified forest on the sea-shore. This is a renowned wildlife area & you are likely to see the rare Hectors Dolphins, Fur Seals & Yellow Eyed Penguins.
Ride – 85 kms / 52 miles
We have a relaxed start this morning to explore our beautiful surroundings here in the Catlins coast, with the option to walk to the nearby McLeans Falls and Cathedral Caves. Then it is back on the bikes for more scenic cycling along quiet roads. The cycling is tough with some serious climbs but the rewarding views of the coastline make the effort well worth it. Another picnic by the sea gives us the chance for a beach walk before we continue cycling on to Owaka. Late afternoon we drive out to Cannibal Bay for a yet another walk on a remote and beautiful beach to visit the resident Sea Lions.
Ride – 38 kms / 23 miles
This morning we ride out to Nugget Point to a magnificent view point, and enjoy a short walk out to the lighthouse, before continuing to the seaside village of Kaka point, where we load up and drive the busy main road section to Balclutha for lunch. We'll drive to Milton and from here a serious climb will challenge you before you drop down to the coast for the final gentle ride along the beach into Dunedin.
Ride – Owaka to Kaka Point via Nugget Point – 32 kms / 19 miles
Waihola to Dunedin – 30 kms / 19 miles
Today we explore the Otago Peninsula by bike. This ride has some challenges, taking you first up and over the Portobello hill for sweeping views of the whole Peninsula before dropping down to finish with some relaxing, flat riding beside the ocean.
After lunch back in Dunedin we'll make our way to historical Oamaru, stopping at the Koekohe Beach along the way to see the Moeraki Boulders, some unusually large and spherical boulders lying on the beach. There is also the option for some more beautiful coastal riding on quiet roads as we reach our destination. We'll stay in Oamaru for the evening.
Ride - up to 58km / 36 miles
Optional coastal ride into Oamaru 30km /18 miles
Today we are Christchurch bound - but not before more rural cycling. We have an option to visit the award winning Whitestone Cheese factory and Riverstone Kitchen, NZ's restaurant of the year, to see their amazing gardens where they grow most of their own kitchen produce. We then start cycling on quiet roads through small farmlets and communities along the Pareora river valley. An optional challenge is the climb over Pareora Gorge before we visit the spectacular St Davids Pioneer Church, made without nails out of local river stones & timbers. A final burst of cycling takes us to a late lunch at Pleasant Point and the start of the final drive back to Christchurch. With good traffic flows we should be into Christchurch by around 5.30pm.
Ride – up to 40kms / 24 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