Exploring New Zealand's 'wild' west coast by bike is cycling at its very best. Encounter grinding glaciers, primal rainforests and dramatic coastal scenery as we 'cycle the best and drive the rest' to ensure you experience all the landscapes that make this part of the South Island such an enticing place to travel through. From Queenstown, cycle to the former gold mining town of Arrowtown to explore its tranquil tree lined streetscapes before crossing over the Crown Range into Wanaka along New Zealand's highest main road. After an exhilarating swoop down Haast Pass you'll be greeted by lush rainforests before cycling past 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. Cycling on past the equally impressive Franz Josef Glacier you'll finally emerge at the top of Arthurs Pass, where you board the TranzAlpine train for the spectacular journey back to Christchurch.
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 West Coast and Glacier Cycle is graded intermediate/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 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).
Our first cycle takes us through quiet back roads to the old gold-mining town of Arrowtown for morning tea. From here strong riders can carry on biking up & over the challenging the Crown Range For the rest of us we travel by bus and bike over the Crown Range, with a lunch stop at the historic Cardrona Hotel. We continue cycling down the Cardrona Valley into the picturesque alpine village of Wanaka. Late afternoon you have the option of cycling on an easy local trail, the Fishermans Track which follows the banks of the Clutha River or enjoying some time in vibrant Wanaka.
Riding distance – 45 to 78km / 28 to 49miles
An early cycle ride takes us to Lake Hawea. We drive to the top of the Haast Pass and enter the famous West Coast forests. We cycle down through the 'Gates of Haast' on sealed roads to the flats of the Landsborough River for lunch. Our route continues down the Haast River with its rainforest clad mountain slopes and numerous waterfalls until the days spectacular journey ends on the coast at Haast. An evening walk on the beach provides a chance to watch the sun set into the Tasman sea.
Riding distance – 48 to 105km / 30 to 65miles
This morning we cycle peaceful forest roads to Bruce Bay and then onto Fox Glacier. The rest of the day is available for sightseeing in the township as well as providing the chance to take a scenic helicopter flight, which is highly recommended. Maybe you would rather a trip to nearby Lake Matheson famous for its reflection views of the Southern Alps, or enjoy any of the local walks in the area.
Riding distance – 49 to 115km / 31 to 71miles
For those who want to challenge themselves there is an optional heli-hike which combines the excitement of walking on the Fox Glacier with the thrill of helicopter flights. The afternoon sees us cycling another West Coast challenge, the road between Fox and Franz Josef Glacier.
Riding distance –25km / 15.5miles
The support vehicle is always nearby if needed, but a metric century (100 kms) is the challenge today on long flat roads with spectacular mountain views as a backdrop. We cycle through podocarp rainforests and over wild rivers to hidden Lake Ianthe for our lakeside picnic. The dark waters hold the sun's heat and swimming is an option. In the afternoon you can keep cycling or enjoy a ride in the support vehicle to the Tasman coast and the craft orientated town of Hokitika.
Riding distance: 63- up to 133kms/39- up to 83miles
From Hokitika township we travel by bus and bike on quiet inland roads through native forests to Lake Brunner. We lunch at a local cafe with stunning lakeside views and an option for the hardy to swim before more scenic quiet roads take us back to the West Coast highway. There is the option to cycle some more through sweeping rural landscapes and beneath rugged mountain peaks to Arthur’s Pass. Here we board the TranzAlpine Express train for a leisurely scenic trip back into Christchurch where our coach will meet and deliver you to your accommodation.
Riding distance –Stillwater to Jacksons - 56km / 35miles
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