Flexible cancellationsBook stress freeLearn more
4
moderate to challenging

Traveller Rating

 

Activities
  • 8 day road cycle
Accommodation
  • 8 nights hotel/ motel
Meals
  • 4 Dinners
  • 5 Lunches
  • 8 Breakfasts

9 Days$3695NZD

Hit the trails with confidence

Flexible Cancellations
Stress free booking, learn more about our flexible terms.

COVID safety measures
are in place with extra cleaning and hygiene protocols

Remote adventures
means social distancing comes naturally

Small groups only
Guided group sizes are strictly limited to a maximum of 14 people


Trip Code: GWC

Trip highlights


  • Embark on this 9 day road cycling adventure taking you from Christchurch to Queenstown
  • Wonder at Lake Matheson, famous for its sunset reflections of Aoraki/Mount Cook
  • Enjoy a breathtaking TranzAlpine train ride across the Southern Alps
  • Challenge yourself on the hill climb up Haast Pass
  • Ride up to 100km a day with full vehicle support
  • Discover Wanaka and the gold mining history of quaint Arrowtown
  • Experience a scenic flight, heli-hike or walk on the ice at Franz Josef Glacier (optional)

Known as New Zealand's most famous and scenic multi-day cycle ride this spectacular trip from Christchurch to Queenstown is also regarded as one of the world's top five cycle touring routes. Averaging daily rides of up to 100kms, and many high alpine pass crossings including the spectacular Haast Pass, the cycling will take you past an ever changing landscape; from glacier country through to quiet sealed roads fringed with mighty podocarp rainforest and past dramatic coastlines before finally crossing over the Crown Range into the beautiful Southern Lakes district around Wanaka and Queenstown. Out of the saddle the highlights are equally spectacular. Your adventure begins with a memorable journey on the TranzAlpine Express train to Greymouth via the spectacular Waimakariri Gorge and lush forests of Arthur's Pass National Park and there is a free day built in for you to enjoy the many optional activities at the Franz Josef Glacier such as relaxing in the hot pools, enjoying guided walks or taking an optional scenic flight. This comprehensive itinerary truly is a cyclists ideal adventure.


We will meet in central Christchurch at Cathedral Junction at 7:00am. Your guide will drive you to the Christchurch train station in time for the TranzAlpine Express departure at 8.15am. We enjoy a scenic train journey across the Southern Alps and arrive at Moana on Lake Brunner around Midday. We will eat our lunch on the train and then we can get on the bikes immediately to follow an undulating and winding course through the picturesque Arnold Valley to Stillwater. A flat ride beside the banks of the Grey River takes us out to the coastal township of Greymouth. One of the trip's many highlights is the coastal riding as we head north along the coast to the famous Pancake Rocks at Punakaiki. The coastline is wild, the rock formations are incredible and the rainforest is lush. The riding is pure quality, with enough hills to keep you honest. After visiting the Pancake Rocks we load up the bikes, hop on the bus and transfer to Hokitika and our accommodation for the night. Hokitika is a quiet coastal town known for the crafting of Pounamu (greenstone) from the West Coast and is a wonderful place to walk along the beach at sunset. Cycling Distance: 76km / 48miles

Meals:  D

Further south, the glacier country beckons and the road soon changes from rural countryside to one fringed with the mighty podocarp rainforests. Along the way we break for coffee at Ross, one of the early gold-mining townships and then onwards through Hari Hari and Whataroa until finally we reach Franz Josef Glacier township for the next two nights. Cycling Distance: 135km / 84miles Suggested Shorter Option: Ross to Whataroa – 81km / 50miles

Meals:  B

Time for a day off the saddle and Franz Josef Glacier is a great place to enjoy this. With hot pools, ice climbing and lots of short walks – there are plenty of options. You could also relax and catch up with your diary or read a book. Flight-seeing is very popular here either in fixed wing planes around the mountains (up to 40 mins) or a helicopter flight to land on the snowfields high above the village (1.5 – 2 hours). There is also an option to enjoy some sea-kayaking into the rainforest at the nearby Okarito Lagoon & bird sanctuary. Additional costs for optional activities apply.

Meals:  B

This morning's start is flexible depending on the weather and what people would like to do. There are a number of options – if the previous day's weather hasn't been friendly and you were wanting to take to the skies to see the glacier or enjoy some sea-kayaking you can do your activity this morning. In the afternoon we ride through to Fox Glacier (optional). The distance to Fox Glacier is only a matter of 25 kms but that ride crosses three strenuous passes, each followed by an exciting and exhilarating downhill. The ride is worth the effort with the last downhill into Fox leading straight into one of the village cafes or bars. In the evening we take a short walk around nearby Lake Matheson with its famous sunset reflections of New Zealand’s highest mountains. Cycling Distance: 25km / 16miles

Meals:  B,L

After a couple of ‘relaxing’ days we head off again on some lovely flat roads. We reach the coast at Bruce Bay before turning inland again, skirting the beautiful Lake Moeraki and then out to the Knights Point coastline. Eventually we roll into Haast township and a final night on the west coast. Cycling Distance: 120km / 75miles Shorter Option: Fox to Lake Moeraki – 89km / 55miles

Meals:  B,L,D

Haast Pass presents another cycling highlight. For some 50 kms the road slowly rises as the mighty Landsborough River joins the nearby Clark Valley. Countless waterfalls cascade from the mountains towering above the road and the lush rainforest changes to beechforest higher up the valley. A final serious climb takes us to the summit of the pass at 678m. From here there is a 20km ride down into the beautiful township of Makarora and a well-deserved conclusion to the day's ride. If the descent does not provide enough excitement there is a thrilling jet-boat ride nearby taking you deep into the Mount Aspiring National Park. Cycling Distance: 82 km / 51miles

Meals:  B,L,D

There are dramatic changes in the landscape today as we enter the dry arid country on the eastern side of the ranges. Today we cycle alongside spectacular lakes as the road rolls down into the headwaters of the Otago valleys and then climbs along the shore of Lake Wanaka before taking us into the bustling resort township of the same name. The afternoon is free to enjoy some shopping or just to relax alongside the lake. Cycling Distance: 68km / 42miles

Meals:  B,L

This morning we cycle out of town for 25km to the historic township of Cardrona, with a chance to stop for a coffee in the old pub with its beautiful gardens. From here the last serious climb of our tour takes us to our highest point, 1070m, at the top of the Crown Range for some spectacular views. A wicked drop down into Arrowtown follows before we break for lunch. We have time to enjoy this historic gold mining town before our final ride into Queenstown, known as the adventure capital of New Zealand. The town is situated alongside a beautiful lake surrounded by mountains. Relaxation and shopping here are fantastic. Cycling Distance: 78km / 48miles

Meals:  B,L,D

Our tour ends today after breakfast. We are happy to help with extra accommodation bookings (additional cost applies) if you would like to spend more time in Queenstown after your tour.

Meals:  B


Inclusions

  • 8 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 4 dinners
  • 8 nights hotel/motel ensuite accommodation on twin share basis
  • Professional qualified driver/guide
  • 2 professional guides/drivers on trips with 8 or more people
  • Private vehicle transport (except for TranzAlpine Train)
  • TranzAlpine train journey from Christchurch to Greymouth
  • Water and snacks while cycling
  • Access and concession fees paid to the Department of Conservation
  • New Zealand Goods and Services Tax (GST)

  • International or domestic flights and taxes
  • Arrival and departure transfers
  • Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
  • All beverages, other than breakfast
  • Bike hire (including helmet)
  • Water bottle (help us save the environment and bring your own bike drink bottle)
  • Optional activities (eg. scenic flights, sea kayaking etc)
  • Personal expenses (eg. phone calls, internet, laundry, shopping etc)
  • Visa (if required)
  • Tips

About Your Leader

Our guides are one of our biggest assets and we pride ourselves on their level of quality and high standards. Once the trip reaches 8 people, we provide you with two of our expert guides to maximise your enjoyment and overall experience. You’ll know you’re in safe hands as all of our guides are certified in first aid and CPR and many of them are trained bike mechanics. They come from all walks of life but our guides have a common desire to give you the best possible experience, fun and lots of fond memories to take home with you.


Accommodation


Bike information


Grading

moderate to challenging  
4

To determine the grade of a particular adventure we consider a number of factors. These include the condition of the terrain, the altitude, the amount of climbing, the types of roads and the length of the trip. The Great West Coast Cycle is graded moderate to challenging. You will need to be a competent road rider with stamina and a good level of fitness, you should be able to cycle comfortably for up to 6-8 hours or around 80km/50miles per day, day after day, with some extended uphill ascents. There are some long days and some steep sections. You should be confident riding on main roads alongside traffic which can be travelling at speed. This tour is not for beginners. 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.


Departure dates


Want to organise a private group?

Fundraising events, sporting groups, family treats; learn how you can organise a Private Group from just 6 travellers.

Total Priceper person from

$3695NZD

Options & Supplements*
  • Road Bike RentalNZD$400
  • e-Bike Rental (subject to availability) - NZ$80 per dayNZD$640
  • Single SupplementNZD$895
*Prices listed are per person

Essential information

Ready to book? Make sure you download and read the detailed Great West Coast Cycle trip notes which contains all the essential information you need to know before booking. Once you’ve booked, we will supply you with a Pre-Departure document which contains a detailed gear list and other important information to help you prepare for your adventure ahead.


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