Marlborough and West Coast Cycle

Marlborough and West Coast Cycle

Trip Highlights

  • Challenge yourself on this scenic 7 day road cycle adventure at the top of NZ's South Island
  • Experience one of the best coastal rides in the world which takes us to the amazing geology of Punakaiki and its Pancake Rocks
  • Relax tired muscles in the hot pools of Hanmer Springs
  • Cycle over the Southern Alps via the picturesque Rahu Saddle
  • Travel through beautiful rain forest clad mountains and along scenic river valleys
  • Discover the beauty of Queen Charlotte Drive as we cycle alongside the Marlborough Sounds
  • Swim with the dolphins or join a whale watch tour in Kaikoura (optional)

Trip Summary

Exploring the northern regions of the South Island, this action packed cycling tour is sure to inspire as you cycle past bush clad lakes and tracks, along wild coastlines as well as sample some of New Zealand's very best wines! From Christchurch, you'll cycle towards Hanmer Springs to soak in the outdoor hot pools and experience their therapeutic qualities. Returning to the saddle at Springs Junction, pedal along beech forest lined roads towards the rugged beauty of the 'Wild' West Coast. From here the scenery, not the cycling, will leave you breathless as you head north along the flatter, picturesque landscapes of Lake Poerua, Rotomanu and Moana, nestled between the Southern Alps and tranquil Lake Brunner. Continue along one of the best coastal rides in the world before encountering the natural blowholes at Punakaiki, the mighty Buller Gorge as well as the serene beauty of Queen Charlotte Sound, stopping to sample the produce at local wineries along the way. As you head back towards Christchurch along the stunning Kaikoura coastline, dotted with fur seals, there is the option to take an early morning whale watching cruise to provide a fitting finale to this memorable cycling adventure.

Trip Grading

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 Marlborough & 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 100km/60miles 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.


After a pick up from a central city location and a bike fitting at our depot in Christchurch we drive out of the city and start to cycle. The Canterbury Plains are vast and with Hanmer Springs being our objective it's a matter of turning the pedals and watching the road slip by. By late afternoon we arrive at the thermal resort with a chance to soak in the hot pools before dinner. ( Cycling Distance: up to 60km / 40miles

Meals:  L

This morning the beautiful beech forests of the Lewis Pass beckon. By cycle and coach we gradually climb over the picturesque Lewis and Rahu Saddles, after each climb is a downhill rush with long sweeping corners. On beautifully sealed roads with lush temperate rainforest lining the roadside we ride until we reach the rugged beauty of the West Coast Region. The afternoon sees us finish our ride at a country pub called "Formerly the Blackball Hilton." There is a story to be told over your drinks before we drive to Moana, nestled between the spectacular Southern Alps and tranquil Lake Brunner. Cycling Distance: morning – up to 45km / 28miles Optional afternoon ride – 30km / 19miles

Meals:  B,L,D

Heading out of Moana, we 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 trips many highlights is the coastal riding as we head along the coast to the famous Pancake Rocks at Punakaiki. The riding is pure quality – with enough hills to keep you honest. Cycling Distance: 76km / 47miles

Meals:  B,L

We cycle the sealed roads through the impressive Buller Gorge where the upper gorge landscape provides us with snapshot vistas of the Buller River whose white water attracts many a rafting and kayak enthusiast. There are plenty of photo opportunities on this scenic and gently undulating ride, before we board our coach for a final ride into St Arnaud, nestled in the heartland of the Nelson Lakes National Park. We recommend doing one of the many short walks around nearby Lake Rotoiti. This area is known as a “mainland island” and the results of the pest eradication programme means that the native birdlife is flourishing. Cycling Distance: morning - up to 91km / 57miles

Meals:  B,L,D

Early risers are encouraged to take a walk into the nearby native forest at sunrise to hear the native birds & their “dawn chorus”. From behind St Arnaud we cycle the sealed forestry roads on a long mainly downhill ride towards the coast. We continue along a quiet road beside the beautiful Motueka River and through an area known for growing hops. We enter the township of Motueka and transfer by coach to nearby Nelson where we have time to explore the arts and craft capital of New Zealand. Cycling Distance: up to 97km / 60miles

Meals:  B,L

By coach we motor over the steep outlying hills to arrive at the start of the beautiful Queen Charlotte Drive, which skirts the Marlborough Sounds into Picton. From here it is a short hop over the hill to Blenheim, NZ’s premier wine producing region. After a great lunch at one of the countries leading wineries, we head south down the dramatic East Coast to reach Kaikoura, home of whale watching in New Zealand. Cycling Distance: 60km / 37miles

Meals:  B,L,D

For the early risers, an optional chance to view one of the great natural sights as whales surface against the spectacular mountain backdrop of the seaward Kaikoura Mountains ( Swimming with or watching dolphins is also highly recommended ( Due to the popularity, however, it is essential to make a booking well in advance. Following a late breakfast we head further south cycling some of the great back roads and enjoying the scenery as we eventually return to Christchurch and drop you in the downtown area around 6pm. Cycling Distance: up to 60km / 37miles

Meals:  B,L

What's Included

  • 6 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 3 dinners
  • 6 nights hotel/motel/lodge ensuite accommodation on twin share basis
  • Professional qualified driver/guide
  • 2 professional guides/drivers on trips with 8 or more people
  • Private vehicle transport
  • Water and snacks while cycling
  • Access and concession fees paid to the Department of Conservation
  • New Zealand Goods and Services Tax (GST)

What's Not Included

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

Road bikes 2

ROAD BIKE (Additional Charge)

On road cycling tours our road bikes provide the ultimate cycling experience. The drop handle bars offer multi hand positions. Our bikes have wider 32mm tyres and disc brakes which are safer and better suited to NZ road conditions. They have a relaxed geometry and wide range rear cassette to suit people with varying levels of cycling experience and for longer cycle touring routes.


HYBRID BIKE (Additional Charge)

These bikes have the same narrower tyres and lightweight frames, only with flat handlebars 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.


Guides were most informative Chris' knowledge of ecology was most useful. Distances were easy to do. Highlights were the co-travellers company and good humour. NZ scenery and relatively peaceful roads.

David R, 02 Feb 2019

Fantastic trip, highly recommended. Excellent roads, excellent guides, excellent accommodation and meals. The awesome weather topped it off! The road to Havelock was not enjoyable though. The van needs to be replaced as it was uncomfortable and slow. Overall excellent!

Tim J, Geelong, Australia, 10 Mar 2018

Overall a great experience. Probably a bit more driving than I was expecting but then I got to see a lot more of the country! The roads were in excellent condition and very easy to ride on. Very few obstacles/potholes etc which means you can enjoy the riding. A bit more relaxation time each day would have been good.

Rani A, Melbourne, Australia, 10 Mar 2018

Thoroughly enjoyable. Challenging enough. Wonderful scenery and nicely varied. Guide Fiona excellent - friendly, helpful, knowledgeable and flexible. Having the next days map the day before would be helpful and seriously consider bringing your own seat!

Mary J, Geelong, Australia, 10 Mar 2018

Sue and Brett were a well oiled machine. They worked so well together to make the trip enjoyable for all. There were options - short hikes, plans for inclement weather. The snacks were excellent, having fresh fruit everyday was a great treat. Big plus. Sue and Brett had a nice ice breaker and quiz - lots of fun! Both were so helpful hints and tips. Calm. Easy going. Champagne for New Years. They made the trip superb!

Rachel N, USA

Very nice trip. Good value for money. Guides excellent and very accommodating. Food very good. Motels generally good quality except for St Arnaud. Would have liked to spend more time on West Coast which is stunning.

, 05 Jan 2018

We cant think of anything we wold like to change on this trip. Both Sue and Brett were absolutely marvelous. The flexibility of start and finish options was really great. Their ability to come up with surprise additions such as jet baot ride and forest walks made it an even more fulfilling experience. Accommodation and meals were excellent. The camaraderie that Brett and Sue helped to engender made for a very happy and cohesive group.

Bob and Bronwyn S, Australia, 05 Jan 2018

This was an extremely well organised trip by Adventure South NZ, both tour guides were exceptional and made the trip a fantastic experience. The rides were well selected to accommodate all levels. It was a bit hectic to be in a different town each night, and I beleive having a hotel for 2 nights righ in the middle of the 6 nights might feel less hectic. Perhaps in Nelson! Other than that - simply GREAT trip.

Lorraine S, USA, 05 Jan 2018

The rides were great and gave us a great cross section of the north part of the island. The tour guides were exceptional. Always accommodating the wide range of ability of riders. The accommodation and meals were also good. Overall I had a great time and would highly recommend the trip. One suggestion would be handlebar mirrors so we can see approaching cars/trucks.

Bill S, USA, 05 Jan 2018

Most memorable part was the cycle via Queen Charlotte Sound and the great lunch in winery at Blenheim.

B. Codemo, East Lindfield, NSW Australia

Overall very well thought out trip and when weather didn't cooperate guides were great at alternatives. Luggage rack didn't work for me. Needs shorter screw so it didn't bruise leg - this was a bit disappointing. Hot springs were great and the food. Wish we had more time to get to the beach in Nelson! Would be nice to stay 2 nights in once place if possible. Be prepared to be hot when the sun is out. Also be prepared for allergies.

Aiko P

From the moment we got on the bus we were ushered from one good experience to the next (great ride, lovely lunch, change of plans, comfortable bed). Seamlessly, cheerfully and professionally. Fantastic. Bas and Rachel were amazing!

Pauline, B, Australia

Enjoyed the trip and Rachel and Bas just such a great inspiration to do other outdoor trips in the future.

Christian Birk, Australia

Upcoming Travel Dates



Duration:7 Days
Starting Point:Christchurch
Grade:Moderate to Challenging  Click for more information
Trip Code:MBW
Prices From:NZD$2595
Public Holiday Supplement:NZD$50 
Bike Rental:NZD$350 
Single Supplement:NZD$695 

“The riding was just perfect for me, the tastings, scenery & walking on the beach at Westport were highlights. This was our trip of a lifetime. Thanks for being a major part of it" Sue OltmanU.S.A