Lush green rolling plains, wild windswept coastlines and unique wildlife experiences characterise New Zealand's southern most region. This remarkable tour begins by cycling the scenic boarder roads of the Fiordland National Park before visiting Invercargill, the world's most southern city. The wildlife experiences of the remote Catlins Coast, home to an ancient petrified forest, fur seals, rare Hector's dolphins and yellow-eyed penguins will leave you rejuvenated before exploring Dunedin, a city known for it's Scottish history, and the Otago Peninsula with its tiny villages and panoramic vistas.
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 Coast 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 – 126 kms/ 78 miles
Shorter Option – Kingston to Mossburn – 67 km /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 total - 108km / 66 miles
Te Anau to Blackmount - 60km / 37 miles
(Blackmount to Tuatapere - 42km optional)
Tuatapere to Riverton - 48km / 30 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 morning ride ends at beautiful Curio Bay where we enjoy a leisurely picnic by the sea, short 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. After lunch there is an optional ride to our overnight accommodation near McLeans Falls.
Edge of Invercargill to Curio Bay – 85 km / 52 miles
Curio Bay to McLeans Falls - 30km / 19 miles
We have a relaxed start this morning to explore our beautiful surroundings here in the Catlins coast, with options to walk to the nearby McLeans Falls and/or explore 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 to the seaside village of Kaka Point then drive out to Nugget Point and enjoy a short walk to the lighthouse. We drive the busy main road section through rural landscapes to Balclutha for lunch. This afternoon we cycle from Waihola down to the coast for the final gentle ride along the beach to Brighton, on the outskirts of Dunedin. This cosmopolitan university town is known as the Edinburgh of New Zealand due to it's rich Scottish heritage and is where we stay tonight.
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 59km / 36 miles
Optional coastal ride into Oamaru 25km /16 miles
Today we are Christchurch bound - but not before more rural cycling. We have an option to visit the award winning Whitestone Cheese factory in Oamaru or nearby Riverstone Kitchen, to see their amazing gardens where they grow most of their own culinary 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 and 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.
Pareora to Cave - 33km / 20.5 miles
(Cave to Pleasant Point - 15km / 9 miles optional)
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.
A very well organised tour and almost every part of the riding was in beautiful and varied landscapes. The food and accommodation was also great and added to the experience in a positive way. The guides added local perspective ad really focused on maximising our enjoyment. Would recommend carrying rubber overshoes.
, 23 Dec 2017
Great cycling routes with spectacular scenery. The guides were fabulous, always fun and relaxed but obviously working hard behind the scenes to make everything flow. Great standard of accommodation and food. We experienced all of the weathers and perhaps I could have had a bit more wet weather gear! Maybe a bit more local info would have been good.
M. Fry, Melbourne, Australia, 23 Dec 2017
Great equipment, guides were extremely professional. The rides were very good. Don't have anything bad to say. My advise would be to train, as the riding is not trivial.
Simon D, Melbourne, Australia, 23 Dec 2017
Good trip. Each ride a different setting and scenery. Accommodations and meals were excellent.
Great scenery (remote), nice accommodation, great food, superb views, fantastic organisation (logistics). I'm normally a trekker/hiker, but due to an achilles injury I had to take to cycling, hence this decision.
Nicola P, Sydney, Australia, 23 Dec 2017
Excellent. Could not fault it. Great guides, great group. I would recommend doing a little training on the bike before the tour.
Martin M, Nottingham, England
Fantastic trip, thank you so much, guides were fabulous. They took care of everything. Riding down the coast was such a highlight. Loved everything.
Bec Luttrell, Australia
Per Person, Twin Share