The Tour of New Zealand is a bi-annual road cycling event that covers the length of either the North Island or South Island, you choose your course and meet in the middle. The North and South courses start from opposite ends of New Zealand and run simultaneously, covering around 100km per stage for seven days as they converge on the centre of the country. On the eighth day everyone meets in Wellington for a morning of criterium racing in the grounds of Parliament.
Join the Adventure South support team and enjoy 8 days of spectacular riding from Five Rivers near the bottom of the South Island to Picton at the top, before transferring to Wellington. All logistics are taken care of so you can concentrate on cycling whether you choose to ride competitively or socially. Your guide will make sure you are well looked after if the weather gets a bit too much or your legs need a rest.
To determine the grade of a particular cycling adventure we consider a number of factors. These include the condition of the cycling surface, gradient, cycling difficulty and the length of the trip. Riders should be prepared to spend between 4 and 9 hours a day in the saddle. The rides range between 50 to 130kms per day depending on the terrain and may involve some steeper ascents which can be avoided by using the support vehicle.
There will be some group cycling at times and you should be comfortable riding in a group or bunch on paved roads with some traffic. As the trip is fully supported, you have the option to ride in the support vehicle at any time if required. However, the nature of the event is such that we encourage riders to try and complete as much as possible of the route. You should be of moderate to good fitness and able to ride an average of 80 kms a day for eight days. We suggest a preparation of one hour of aerobic type exercise a minimum of four times per week, in variable weather conditions.
Today is an arrival day. Whether you are arriving into Queenstown today or have been in the area for a few days already, please make your way to the joining hotel (details will be advised upon booking) for a 6:00pm briefing to meet your driver and find out the schedule for the next few days. This is separate to the official Tour NZ pre-event registration and briefing. If you need a pick-up from Christchurch for any reason, please contact us to discuss options.
PLEASE NOTE: All bike cases will be couriered to the Wellington hotel at no extra cost.
Very early this morning we drive south to Five Rivers, at the junction of the main highway between Queenstown and Invercargill and the turn off to Te Anau and Milford Sound. The renowned Five Rivers Cafe is the main landmark here and also the starting point for the first cycle leg of Tour NZ (South Island). Officially commencing at 8:00am, the ride from here to Jacks Point Golf Club, 10km south of Queenstown, is truly stunning. After the stage finish we drive the short distance back into Queenstown where we overnight at the same hotel. There will also be a stage debrief and peloton party (optional) on this first evening for anyone who is interested.
(Cycle distance 78 kms)
This morning we start at the Steamer Wharf in Queenstown and have a neutral (social or untimed) ride to the quaint and historic goldmining village of Arrowtown.The autumn colours will be breathtaking - we suggest that you take a moment to enjoy them as there is a serious mountain pass ahead of you. The stage will be timed from Arrowtown to Wanaka. If you love climbing, this day will be a highlight. If you don't, then take some time to enjoy the views on the way up the Crown Range, and perhaps stop for a photo at the historic Cardrona pub on the way down. From the top of the pass, an incredible and fast descent into Wanaka, finishing by the edge of the lake, provides a great thrill. As this is a short stage and because we are starting in Wanaka tomorrow, we will be able to explore this picturesque town and enjoy a well deserved rest.
(Cycle distance 75 km - Queenstown to Wanaka; 55 km - Arrowtown to Wanaka)
This morning we start from Wanaka and there is some easy cycling to warm up the muscles before we tackle the Lindis Pass. The Lindis will seem a mere bump in the road compared with yesterday's Crown Range - but don't under-estimate this ride that winds over classic New Zealand mountain pass territory through back-country merino sheep stations. We recommend slowing down to take a breather and enjoy the surrounds at the top of the pass. Awaiting us is a superb downhill all the way into Omarama, where we will finish in the The Wrinkly Ram Cafe car park. After the stage finish we drive (about 1 hr) to Tekapo where we can soak in the soothing hot pools (own expense) or take a gentle stroll beside the lake.
(Cycle distance 114 km)
Leaving Tekapo this morning our ride today is a gradual downhill all the way to Fairlie. Fabulous high country scenery turns into rolling farmland as we approach the small town of Fairlie. The ride from here to Geraldine is quite a roller coaster; we will experience a real mixture of terrain from easy glides to grinding slopes. A warm welcome awaits us in Geraldine though and there are some great cafe options for a late lunch, before we load up and drive to the ski village of Methven (approx 1 hr), where we overnight.
(Cycling distance 88 km)
Methven is set amidst a farming community on the wide Canterbury Plains. The cycling today is flat apart from some short sharp pinches descending into and climbing out of river gorges. Waddington is a quiet farming village a little over halfway and not far from the Waimakariri River or the Sheffield Pie Shop, where we may wish to take a breather. The gentle ride from there into Oxford will allow us to chat with other cyclists along the way. It will be wise to save ourselves a bit for tomorrow - the toughest section of the South Island Tour. After the stage finish in Oxford, with it's one main street, we drive (1hr) to Hanmer Springs. Before finding dinner we recommend soaking in one of the hot pools in this thermal/mountain village. It is a great treat after a day's cycling. Optional Peloton Party. Overnight Hanmer Springs.
(Cycle distance 80 km)
The longest stage in the South Island section travels on a quiet backcountry road between Hanmer Springs and Kaikoura. It can be described as rolling countryside, with some challenging climbs and long downhills, and has a series of one way bridges that cross over braided rivers as they flow out to the coast. High country farms are nestled in a valley dividing two mountain ranges. We then emerge on the coast and the first view of the sea is quite spectacular. The stage finishes in Kaikoura, which boasts the best crayfish in the country. From here, the drive to the Marlborough region (approx 1.5 hrs) winds spectacularly along the coast, passing colonies of New Zealand Fur Seals, before leading to one of the finest wine regions in the world. We overnight in Blenheim for our last night on the South Island. There is an optional Peloton Party at Allan Scott Winery, one of the event sponsors, as a farewell evening for this part of the event.
(Cycle distance 126km)
Starting from the Allan Scott Winery near Blenheim, this morning our ride will take us to the seaside town of Havelock before turning onto the home straight and heading for Picton, just another 35 kms down the road. This coastal ride takes us from one Sound to another and is one of the most captivating rides in New Zealand. It is magnificent cycling, including a few small climbs, as we pass seaside villages, hear local birdcalls and enjoy views of the inner Marlborough Sounds en route to Picton. After the stage finish here, indulge in local food and beverages; enjoy the foreshore and harbour views before we board the ferry to Wellington (scheduled for mid-afternoon). The ferry journey to New Zealand's capital city is about 3hrs. On arrival we check into our hotel and enjoy the city at leisure. Your guide can assist with collection of bike cases on arrival this evening.
(Cycling distance 65 km)
Tour NZ Criterium details, along with information on prize giving formalities, will be provided in your race pack upon entering the event. Please refer to that for specific arrangements. The general procedure is that we meet competitors from the North Island Tour on the steps of the Houses of Parliament. Race leaders from the North will compete against race leaders from the South in an exciting finale (multiple laps of a specified circuit) to decide the overall Tour champions. The Criterium is scheduled to finish by 10.30am and will be followed by prize giving (1:30pm) and other official events. Results and a selection of official photos will be available at the prize giving. The remainder of the afternoon is free to explore Wellington at leisure and your guide can help with suggestions. Overnight Wellington.
Arrangements for the supported tour package end this morning, in Wellington. Please make your own way to the airport or let us know if you would like assistance with post-tour accommodation.
Per Person, Twin Share