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3
moderate

Traveller Rating

 

Activities
  • 13 days cycling
Accommodation
  • 14 nights hotel/motel
Meals
  • 9 Dinners
  • 7 Lunches
  • 13 Breakfasts

15 Days$6195NZD

Hit the trails with confidence

100% refundable trips
Receive a full refund under our covid-19 T&Cs

$200 Deposits
for all new bookings on all trips

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: USI

Trip highlights


  • Cycle the spectacular Alps to Ocean, Central Otago Rail Trail and the West Coast Wilderness Trail all in one trip!
  • Hike beneath Mt Cook in the World Heritage National Park
  • Explore the charming Victorian Precinct in Oamaru
  • Take a journey on the famous Taieri Gorge Railway
  • Taste award wining Pinot Noir in a boutique Central Otago winery
  • Enjoy the beauty of Queenstown and the numerous activities it has to offer
  • Wonder at Lake Matheson, famous for its sunset reflections of Aoraki/Mount Cook
  • Admire NZ’s native birds and forest from a Treetop Walkway
  • Take in the rugged coastlines, pristine lakes and alpine landscapes of the West Coast

Majestic rugged mountains, spectacular glaciers, wild coastlines, emerald blue lakes - it’s all here and within reach. New Zealand boasts an amazing variety of landscapes and equally amazing biking. Explore three of NZ's Cycle Trails on a 15 day adventure within the South Island.

We begin with the Alps to Ocean trail near Aoraki/Mt Cook, New Zealand’s highest peak. We cycle past the snow-capped peaks of the Southern Alps, turquoise glacier-fed lakes and lush pastures dotted with sheep to end this trail at the small port of Oamaru on the Pacific Ocean. We then take a train ride on the scenic Taieri Gorge Railway from Dunedin to join New Zealand's original 'Great Ride' and the second of our trails, the Otago Central Rail Trail.

We have a free day in Queenstown within the beautiful Lakes District, before continuing northwards, crossing Haast Pass where you'll be greeted by lush rainforests and surreal coastlines featuring high cliffs and crashing seas. Your cycling efforts will be rewarded on reaching the world famous Fox Glacier. We’ll visit the equally impressive Franz Josef Glacier before heading to Ross and the start of our third and final cycle trail, the West Coast Wilderness. Following extensive water races, logging tramways and historic railway lines, we will emerge on the rugged coast at Hokitika.

We finish this epic journey by crossing the Southern Alps a second time at Arthurs Pass; and then descend to Christchurch to the end of this amazing adventure.

Note: See our special Christmas and New Year departure, called Christmas South Island Triple Trails. This tour boasts 2 days in Wanaka rather than Queenstown, please ask us for trip notes and inclusions.


Early this morning you will be collected from a central Christchurch location around 08:00am and taken to our depot for a bike fitting and tour briefing. We then drive south to Geraldine for a refreshment break before continuing to Lake Tekapo Village for lunch. Its picturesque lake is the first of the storage lakes which feed the hydro schemes in the basin and down the Waitaki Valley. This afternoon we set away on the first of the three famous cycle trails we are to conquer this tour - the Alps to Ocean Cycle Trail, following quiet roads that follow the turquoise blue waters of the canal system. On return to Tekapo we have the option to visit the local hot pools to ease any first day muscle aches (own expense). The famous Church of the Good Shepherd and nearby statue standing as a tribute to the sheepdogs that make farming the Mackenzie Basin possible are local icons. We meet in the early evening to have our first group dinner together. Cycle Distance: Tekapo to Lake Pukaki - 30 km

Meals:  D

After breakfast this morning we drive to our next cycling point on the Alps to Ocean Cycle Trail alongside the Tekapo hydro canal. We enjoy some flat easy riding past salmon farms to the edge of Lake Pukaki, joining the lakeside cycle trail and with spectacular mountain vistas. From the road end, Aoraki/Mt Cook beckons so we load up and drive to The Hermitage where we have the option to enjoy a visit to the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre (own expense) or the informative Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park visitor centre (free of charge). In the afternoon you’ll also have the chance to put your walking shoes on and take in the stunning glacier and mountain views from either the Sealey Tarns, the Hooker Valley Track or Tasman Glacier view point. We stay in Aoraki/Mount Cook Village tonight, and enjoy an evening, dining and relaxing below the highest peaks in the Southern Alps. Cycle Distance: Pukaki to Twizel - 30 km

Meals:  B,L

This morning, after a short transfer to the nearby village of Twizel, we cycle past Lake Ruataniwha and Lake Ohau, mostly on cycle trail, to Lake Ohau Lodge for lunch. After we've refuelled our bodies, those who would like a challenge can continue on the trail, which starts its steady climb up to the Tarnbrae Saddle. At 900m this is the highpoint of the whole Alps to Ocean Cycle Trail and your efforts are rewarded with stunning views across the Mackenzie Basin. Alternatively for those who want a relaxing afternoon there is the option to transfer by vehicle and enjoy a final, mostly downhill and flat ride on the trail into Omarama, our stop for the night. Omarama is called "Place of Light" in Maori terminology, a reference to its extraordinarily pure and clear sky. This region is also famous for gliding due to some unique air wave systems and feisty thermals. This evening enjoy an optional soak in a private hot tub of fresh mountain water (own expense). Cycle Distance: Twizel to Lake Ohau - 38 km Ohau to Omarama - 41 km Short option: Quailburn to Omarama - 23 km

Meals:  B,L,D

Today’s ride takes us down the Waitaki Valley, known for its hydro lakes and dams. First, we follow the trail along the shores of Lake Benmore to Sailors Cutting. From there, we join the lakeshore to traverse around the shoreline of rocky outcrops, little beaches and even tree covered islands. The trail then drops us down from above the Benmore Dam to rejoin the quiet lakeside road. Regrouped, it’s a fun downhill cycle towards Aviemore Dam, where we’ll enjoy a picnic by the lake. We’ll arrive at Kurow with plenty of time to explore the town’s surrounds. Highlights include beautifully restored St Albans Church and wine-tasting at local vineyards. We’ll stay overnight in Kurow in an elegant lodge serving dinner showcasing local produce. Cycle Distance: Up to 67km

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning the cycle trail takes us along the banks of the Waitaki River, past vineyards and a Maori rock art site to reach the small town of Duntroon. From there, we head inland into rolling country and wander around the unique Elephant Rocks, huge formations strewn across a field. Picking up the old railway line, we’ll ride through Raki's tunnel before rolling downhill amidst more spectacular limestone outcrops and landscapes as we gradually descend towards Oamaru where the Alps to Ocean trail ends on the Pacific Coast. The beautifully restored historic Oamaru Victorian quarter is home to Steampunk and in season features street actors providing entertainment, local crafts, cafes and bars. In the evening we can visit the famous blue penguin colony to view the penguins returning to their nest after a day of food gathering (own expense) or explore the Victorian precinct. Cycle Distance: Kurow to Oamaru - Up to 82 km

Meals:  B

We start with a scenic cycle out of Oamaru along the coastal road. This road provides breath-taking views of sandy beaches and the Pacific Ocean. We dismount in Waianakarua where the coastal road traffic increases and drive part of the way. Our first stop is the perfectly spherical Moeraki Boulders lying along a stretch of Koekohe Beach. Believed to be at least 60 million years old, each boulder weighs several tons and can be up to six feet high. Our cycling route continues inland from Waitati on Blueskin Bay to Dunedin. We end our ride at the bottom of Baldwin Street, the world’s steepest street. By the time the Scottish settlers arrived in Dunedin around the mid-19th century, they found an area rich in Maori history. The rough, tough and enterprising whalers added another element of diversity to this burgeoning Otago harbour. The cultural mix of Maori, whaler and Scot gave early Dunedin a character all of its own, and here you will find some of the finest examples of Victorian and Edwardian architecture in the Southern Hemisphere. Dunedin’s railway station, known as one of the world’s most beautiful train stations, is said to be the most photographed building in New Zealand. Once in Dunedin, you will be free to spend the rest of the afternoon and evening exploring the city. Cycle Distance: Oamaru Coastal Ride - 24 km Waitati to Dunedin - 20 km

Meals:  B,D

Today we embark on the second of our cycle trails - the Otago Central Rail Trail, a beautiful 150 kilometre historic journey into the Central Otago heartland. After breakfast, we transfer to Dunedin’s magnificent train station. This is our departure point for a spectacular train trip that will take us from the hustle of Dunedin’s city centre through the rugged Taieri Gorge. Our journey on board the historic Taieri Gorge Railway offers dramatic scenery and vantage points that cannot be seen by car. Once we arrive in Pukerangi, we find ourselves in the Central Otago region. As one of the historic gold mining locations of New Zealand, the Central Otago region is full of Kiwi colonial history. Off the train we transfer to Middlemarch by midday, and after lunch we set off on this historic trail, passing by tunnels and bridges that once were the secret preserve of railway workers. We witness the natural beauty and look in awe at some early feats of the first settlers of this region. Our destination today is Wedderburn, a sleepy town in the heart of the Maniototo Plain, where we can make a visit to the Wedderburn Tavern dating back to 1885 for some well deserved refreshments. Cycle Distance: Middlemarch to Waipiata - 53 km

Meals:  B,D

Today's ever-changing landscape includes rugged mountains, crystal clear rivers, and steep winding gorges. After breakfast we will drive back to Waipiata where we left the trail yesterday and set off towards Ranfurly and Wedderburn. Be sure to watch for the planets of the solar system along the way and take note of their proportional sizes and distances. We cycle over the impressive Poolburn viaduct and Manuherikia Bridge and through the 229m Poolburn tunnel to arrive in Lauder. Late afternoon we’ll drive to St Bathans for a walk around the surreal Blue Lake formed during the 1800s gold days. Enjoy a game of pool or banter at the Lauder pub before we tuck into a well-earned dinner. Cycle Distance: Waipiata to Lauder - 57 km

Meals:  B,D

Today we complete the the Otago Central Rail Trail. For views of the Dunstan Mountains and the Raggedy Range, we hop on the bus for the short detour to must-see Ophir township and the lookout for a bird’s eye view of region. We finish our ride in Clyde, a quaint historic town in this up and coming wine region. Clyde was once a wild and rollicking “canvas” town bustling with gold miners, shop keepers and ever-present dancing girls. We transfer by van, travelling through the beautiful Gibbston Valley, known for its world renowned vineyards for a wine tasting and continue out to the Kawarau Gorge and the iconic Bungy Bridge – home of Bungy. After watching and perhaps thinking about taking the leap of faith, we continue to Queenstown and our accommodation for the next two nights. Queenstown is the world’s adrenalin capital and makes a fitting point to take a rest day from our riding adventure. Surrounded by majestic mountains and hugging the shores of Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown is the perfect place to relax. Cycle Distance: Lauder to Clyde - 45 km

Meals:  B,D

Today is a day at leisure in Queenstown. There are optional excursions to either Doubtful Sound or Milford Sound (own expense). These tours have an early start with a bus journey to either Manapouri (to visit Doubtful Sound) or Milford Sound to join an amazing cruise into Fiordland. There is also an option to bus one way to Milford Sound and fly back to Queenstown by helicopter or small plane. We are happy to assist with bookings. Others in the group might like to enjoy a relaxing day in Queenstown, taking in the scenery, visiting galleries, cafes and restaurants, if not partaking in a bungy jump, a sky dive, jet boating or some other adrenalin activity!

Meals:  Nil

Today we make our way to Wanaka, via the Crown Range Road, New Zealand’s highest road. We drive to the Crown Range’s summit at 1076m above sea level, where we can enjoy sweeping views over the Arrow Valley, the Remarkables Range and Lake Wakatipu. It is here we unload and enjoy a great downhill ride to Wanaka, visiting the famous historic Cardrona Hotel enroute. We continue cycling down the valley into the picturesque alpine village of Wanaka. Late afternoon we have the chance to enjoy some free time in vibrant Wanaka before meeting again for an evening meal together. Cycle Distance: Crown Range Summit to Wanaka - up to 40 km

Meals:  B,D

This morning we will start our drive skirting the edges of Lake Hawea and Wanaka with Mt Aspiring National Park as the backdrop, before climbing over the Haast Pass to the west coast of the South Island, renowned for it's glaciers and wild coastlines. The road is bordered by rainforest and mountains on one side and the wild ocean on the other. This is mainly a driving day (journey time approx 6 hours), but we will enjoy stopping at a number of waterfalls and scenic points for short walks along the way. We end our day in the tiny township of Fox Glacier, home to one of only 3 temperate glaciers in the world. There will be time to enjoy a short walk and relax before making our own dinner arrangements.

Meals:  B,L

This morning we take a 90 minute walk around the jewel-like Lake Matheson, a photographer’s paradise with potential to capture brilliant mountainous reflections, after which we will explore Fox Glacier by taking a short walk to the glacier terminal face. Weather permitting and subject to availability, there is an option to join a scenic flight over Aoraki/Mt Cook and the glaciers (own expense). After lunch there is the option for those who want to challenge themselves further to cycle a classic West Coast challenge, "the Triple Bypass" the road between Fox and Franz Josef Glacier, which is a serious of 3 short but steep climbs over 25km of riding. If you prefer there is the option to take the support vehicle and relax in the township of Franz Josef and maybe enjoy a soak in the local hot springs. Optional Cycle Distance: Fox Glacier to Franz Josef Glacier - 25 km

Meals:  B,L

This morning we continue north to the town of Ross, where we connect up with the last of our cycle trails - the West Coast Wilderness Trail. We follow the cycleway north to Hokitika, with a stop at the Treetop Walkway, to experience a unique adventure walking on custom built platforms among temperate rainforest giants. The trail continues through small townships and farms to join the old Kaniere water race, before leading us to the shores of the beautiful Lake Kaniere, nestled against the Southern Alps. Here we take a moment to appreciate our surroundings before we load up and drive the short distance back to Hokitika, a quiet coastal town known for the crafting of Pounamu (greenstone) from the West Coast. You have the late afternoon free to explore the town and later for a walk on the beach to admire a stunning West Coast sunset (if conditions are right). Tonight we enjoy our last evening meal together, celebrating new friendships and our cycling achievements of the past 2 weeks. Cycle Distance: Ross to Lake Kaniere - 54 km

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we drive back to Lake Kaniere and continue our ride through the amazing bush trails of this cycleway. Firstly on rural roads and then the dedicated trail that takes us to the coffee stop at Mill-town, home of saw-milling in earlier times. The trail crosses a swing bridge and then a kilometre of switchback climbing takes us to the high point and more superb riding. From here it’s mainly downhill, as we follow water races, bush tracks and reservoir roads taking in the spectacular views as we gradually descend to Kumara and the beautiful historic hotel where we can enjoy a celebratory drink before our spectacular drive across the Southern Alps back to Christchurch. On arrival we will drop you off at your central Christchurch accommodation, where trip arrangements conclude. Cycle Distance: Lake Kaniere to Kumara - Up to 50 km

Meals:  B,L

Map

Elevation

The map and elevation chart are for illustrative purposes only and meant to provide general guidelines.



Inclusions

  • 13 breakfasts, 7 lunches and 9 dinners
  • 14 nights hotel/motel ensuite accommodation on twin share basis
  • 2 Professional qualified driver/guides
  • Private vehicle transport/support vehicle
  • Bike hire of a hybrid mountain bike (with helmet)
  • Journey on the Taieri Gorge Railway
  • Wine tasting at a Central Otago vineyard
  • Entrance fee to West Coast Treetop Walkway
  • Water and snacks while cycling
  • Concession fees paid to the Department of Conservation

  • International or domestic flights and taxes
  • Arrival and departure transfers
  • Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
  • All beverages, other than breakfast
  • e-Bike Hire (a surcharge is payable)
  • Water bottle (help us save the environment and bring your own bike drink bottle)
  • Optional activities (e.g. Steampunk Museum, Penguin watching in Oamaru, activities in Queenstown, scenic flight from Fox or Franz Josef Glacier)
  • Personal expenses (eg. phone calls, internet, laundry, shopping etc)
  • Travel insurance
  • Visa (if required)

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


Trail Surface


Grading

moderate  
3

The Triple Trails Cycle is graded moderate. You will need a good level of fitness and we suggest 90 minutes of cycling three times a week for the three months leading up to your trip. You will need to be able to cycle 50-60km each day and as much of the trail is on hard packed gravel. We recommend training on compacted gravel trails, and completing a multi-day ride prior to your trip to get used to being in the saddle for long periods of time. 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


Notes

HS
Holiday Season
P
Christmas & New Year Supplement
S
Surcharge

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

$6195NZD

Options & Supplements*
  • Christmas & New Year SupplementNZD$150
  • e-Bike Rental Surcharge (subject to availability)NZD$700
  • Single Supplement - Limited to 2 per departureNZD$1395
*Prices listed are per person

Essential information

Ready to book? Make sure you download and read the detailed South Island Triple Trails 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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