3
moderate

Traveller Rating

 

Activities
  • 8 day cycle trail
Accommodation
  • 7 nights hotel/motel
Meals
  • 5 Dinners
  • 7 Lunches
  • 7 Breakfasts

8 Days$5045NZD

Trip Code: SIC

Trip highlights


  • Cycle five spectacular Great Rides of the South Island all in one trip!
  • Take in the pristine lakes, stunning river valleys and alpine landscapes of the South Island
  • Cycle the best sections of the spectacular Alps to Ocean Cycle Trail from Tekapo
  • Complete the Lake Dunstan and the Roxburgh Gorge Trails, tracing the footsteps of gold mining pioneers
  • Experience a historic journey along a section of the Otago Central Rail Trail
  • Finish the tour following the Queenstown Trails into the adventure capital of New Zealand
  • Have expert local guides deliver world class service which allows you to relax and ride

This unique itinerary has been designed to showcase the very best trails the South Island has to offer. New Zealand has a vast network of cycle trails throughout the country offering a range of diverse landscapes; 23 have been awarded the Great Rides status. We have selected the finest sections of the best FIVE trails for this epic 8 day tour.

We begin in the garden city of Christchurch with a warm up ride along the spectacular Summit Road following the rim of an extinct volcano. Then we head to glimmering Lake Tekapo to spend 3 days riding 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, as far as Lake Aviemore. We then travel into Central Otago to take on the stunning Lake Dunstan Trail which winds through a deep gorge and past world class Pinot Noir vineyards.

Next up is New Zealand's original 'Great Ride', the Otago Central Rail Trail, followed by the Roxburgh Gorge trail through another remote gorge which includes a scenic jet boat transfer. Our final ride explores the trails of Queenstown within the beautiful Lakes District, taking in the historic gold mining town of Arrowtown and the stunning Arrow River Bridges Trail.

Character-filled towns, comfortable accommodation and friendly welcomes are all part of the package, as is the passion and local knowledge of your guides.


Your South Island adventure starts in central Christchurch at 8am. We start with a short drive to the top of the Port Hills where we will begin to cycle along the crater rim of an extinct volcano. From Dyers Pass we cycle the undulating and almost traffic-free Summit Road, which offers amazing vistas across Christchurch and the Canterbury Plains to the snowy peaks of the Southern Alps. We can also look into the bright blue water of Lyttelton Harbour on the inside of the crater. Riding out to Godley Head, home to a WWII coastal defence battery that sits atop sheer 120m cliffs, we stop and walk to see the views from the peninsula out to the Pacific Ocean. Back on the bikes, it's a short ride back to Evans Pass and then a sweeping downhill to the port town of Lyttelton. There are some cool cafes and colourful stores to explore, as well as quirky historic buildings along a heritage walk. We drive back to Christchurch in the afternoon and have free time to rest up before we meet for our first group dinner. Cycle Distance: Dyers Pass to Lyttelton - 30km Accommodation: Pavilions Hotel

Meals:  L,D

After breakfast at the hotel, your guides will be waiting in reception at 8am. We drive south crossing the Canterbury Plains towards Geraldine, then over the scenic Burke’s Pass to the famous Mackenzie Country, where Lake Tekapo soon appears as a bright blue jewel. We will visit the iconic Church of the Good Shepherd perched on the edge of the shimmering lake with a panoramic mountain backdrop. After lunch, we join the first of the trip's Great Ride Cycle Trails - the Alps to Ocean Cycle Trail. This is NZ's longest cycle path, travelling 300km from the highest mountain Aoraki/Mt Cook all the way to the ocean at Oamaru. We spend the next 3 days riding the best sections of this trail. Initially we follow quiet roads alongside the turquoise blue waters of a hydro canal system through to Lake Pukaki. With amazing mountain views, we ride around the lake shore before crossing the extensive tussock-lands of the Pukaki flats to the small town of Twizel. Twizel is in the heart of a dark sky reserve so be sure to take a walk outside after dark to see the incredible starry skies. Dinner by own care tonight. Cycle Distance: Tekapo to Twizel - 54km Accommodation: Distinction Mackenzie Country Hotel Twizel

Meals:  B,L

The stunning scenery keeps coming as we ride alongside the Pukaki and Ohau canals with a vast mountainous backdrop, through to Lake Ohau where we stop for lunch. Confident riders can continue on the trail to Tarnbrae Saddle (900m), the highpoint of the A2O. The vast Mackenzie Country views are just reward for the climb. Alternatively, riders can transfer to the historic woolshed at Quailburn for a much easier ride down to Omarama, our stop for the night. Translating from Maori as ‘place of light’, Omarama is known for its extraordinarily clear skies, offering incredible star gazing opportunities at night. This evening we enjoy a meal at a typical small town pub and experience real Kiwi hospitality. Cycle Distance: Twizel to Lake Ohau - 38km, Lake Ohau to Omarama via Tarnbrae Saddle - 44km Short Option: Quailburn to Omarama - 26km Accommodation: Distinction Heritage Country Hotel Omarama

Meals:  B,L,D

Today’s Alps to Ocean ride follows the Waitaki river down the picturesque Waitaki Valley, known for its hydro lakes and dams. First, we follow the narrow trail along the shores of Lake Benmore to Sailors Cutting where we join the lake shore to traverse around the shoreline of rocky outcrops, little beaches and even tree covered islands. There is an easier option for less confident riders who would prefer to avoid this more technical section. Regrouped, it’s a fun downhill cycle towards Aviemore Dam, where we’ll enjoy a picnic by the lake. We'll finish our Alps to Ocean experience at the dam, load up the bikes and then drive towards Central Otago over the Lindis Pass. We head to Cromwell where next up is the Lake Dunstan trail, which we will tackle tomorrow. There will be time to have a wander around Cromwell old town, a small historic precinct dating back to the gold rush days of the 1800s, with a number of galleries, cafes and boutique shops. Cycle distance: Omarama to Aviemore Dam - 51km Accommodation: Lake Resort Heritage

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we ride the full length of the newest Great Ride, the Lake Dunstan Trail, a spectacular ride through unique and fascinating landscapes so characteristic of Central Otago. Our journey starts at Smith's Way with an easy ride following the shores of Lake Dunstan. We pass back through Cromwell’s old town, and continue along the Kawarau arm of Lake Dunstan to the Bannockburn Bridge. We wind our way through old mine tailings, wineries and olive groves and from Cornish Point head into the dramatic Cromwell Gorge. The track winds around sheer rockfaces and over lake inlets on impressively engineered platforms and bridges rising above the lake to Clyde. For those riders who wish to avoid the more demanding section through the gorge, there will be an option to drive to Clyde and ride all or part of the easier river trail to Alexandra, or explore the small historic town. We stay in Clyde for the next 2 nights. Cycling Distances: Smith’s Way to Cornish Point – 30km Cornish Point to Clyde via Lake Dunstan (Moderate) – 25km Clyde to Alexandra River Trail (Introductory) – 12km each way Accommodation: Clyde Central Motel

Meals:  B,L,D

Great Ride number three is the famous Otago Central Rail Trail, NZ's original cycle trail. After breakfast, a short transfer takes us inland to Ida Valley. Here we join what we consider to be the best section of the rail trail passing through tunnels and over 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. The ever changing landscape includes rugged mountains, crystal clear rivers, and steep winding gorges. We cycle through the 229m Poolburn tunnel over the impressive Manuherikia Bridge and Poolburn viaduct. From Lauder we continue towards Chatto Creek taking in views of the Dunstan Mountains and Raggedy Range, making a short detour to see the Ophir township and its historic bridge. The ride back to Clyde is mostly downhill. In the evening we are free to sample one of the restaurants in town. Cycle Distance: Ida Valley to Clyde - 60km Accommodation: Clyde Central Motel

Meals:  B

Next up, Great Ride number four, is the striking Roxburgh Gorge Trail. Leaving from Clyde we pedal along the wooded River Trail linking Clyde to the Roxburgh Gorge Trail alongside the mighty Clutha Mata-Au river. The trail journeys through a remote barren, treeless landscape, flanked by bluffs up to 350 metres high, following stone walled water races and other remnants of gold mining activity. We arrive at Doctor's Point to meet a jet boat to take us on a scenic historical journey for the next 13km through the gorge to Shingle Creek. Back on our bikes, it's a gradual climb to Elbow Creek, then through a small, secluded valley with regenerating Kanuka (tea tree) scrubland and into sweeping hill country farmland. A series of switchbacks lead us to the impressive Roxburgh Hydro Dam lookout. It's then a further 9km along the river to reach Roxburgh, where we load up the bikes and drive to our accommodation in Alexandra. If there is time we can visit a local vineyard before our final dinner to celebrate new friendships and world class riding. Cycling distance: Clyde to Roxburgh - 40km Accommodation: Alexandra Heights Motel

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we cycle the Queenstown Trails, the fifth and final of the Great Rides of our South Island adventure. A short drive takes us from Alexandra into the Gibbston Valley renowned for its vineyards and Pinot Noir. We set off riding alongside the Kawarau River to the historic bridge and the origin of AJ Hackett’s bungy jump. Here we can witness bungy jumpers and zipliners getting their adrenaline fix! We join the the Arrow River Bridges trail, which crisscrosses the sparkling Arrow River over huge purpose-built suspension bridges to reach Arrowtown. Arrowtown is a charming, picturesque gold mining town and there is time to explore the old Chinese mining settlement or take a leisurely stroll through town. After refreshments, we pedal on past more colourful Central Otago vineyards to meet the Twin Rivers Trail linking the Kawarau and Shotover Rivers. On reaching the edge of Lake Wakatipu nestled amongst vast mountain ranges, our cycle trail weaves along the shore and takes us into central Queenstown through the botanical gardens. We finish up at the wharf side with a farewell drink to conclude our spectacular journey, before being delivered into the town centre in the late afternoon.

Meals:  B,L


Inclusions

  • Tasty cafe breakfasts (x7), gourmet picnic or cafe lunches (x7), two course restaurant dinners (x5) catered to all dietary requirements
  • 7 nights comfortable hotel/motel ensuite accommodation on twin share basis
  • Professional qualified driver/guides who handle all the hard bits and share epic stories (2 guides on groups of 8 or more)
  • Full vehicle support along the trail including trailer for luggage
  • Wine tasting at a Central Otago vineyard
  • Scenic Roxburgh Gorge jet boat transfer
  • Tasty nutritious snacks, drinks and treats plus our famous morning and afternoon teas
  • Pre Departure Information Kit to help you plan and prepare
  • Department of Conservation fees and rider fees paid to Trail Trusts for ongoing maintenance and improvements

  • Bike Hire (including helmet)
  • International or domestic flights and taxes
  • Group arrival and departure airport transfers
  • Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
  • All beverages, other than with breakfast
  • Water bottle (help us save the environment and bring your own bike drink bottle)
  • Optional activities (e.g. Omarama Hot Tubs, activities in Dunedin and Queenstown)
  • 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

This cycle tour 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 as 95km on the longest day. The trail surfaces vary from hard packed to loose gravel yet all are purpose built for off-road cycling and are well maintained. We recommend training on 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

Want to organise a private group?

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

Priceper person from

$5045NZD

Options & Supplements*
  • Bike RentalNZD$240
  • Ebike RentalNZD$600
  • Single Supplement - Limited to 2 per departureNZD$985
*Prices listed are per person

Essential information

Ready to book? Make sure you download and read the detailed South Island by Bike 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.


Trip reviews


Similar trips

The Tasman Sea from above | Lachlan Gardiner
New Zealand
 
151 Reviews
Cycle over the grand Poolburn Viaduct | Lachlan Gardiner
New Zealand
 
66 Reviews
Riding the Alps to Ocean | Gesine C
New Zealand
 
361 Reviews
Cycling the Lake Dunstan Trail | Ross Mackay
New Zealand
 
127 Reviews
Join Newsletter
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/ADS.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Adventures South"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Adventure South</div>
Adventure South NZ is unrivalled in their geographic coverage, originality and overall quality of adventures holidays in New Zealand. Choose from walking, cycling, winter or multi-activity holidays, on either the North or South Island.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/AWH.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Australian Walking Holidays"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Australian Walking Holidays</div>
Australian Walking Holidays specialises in small group guided walking adventures. Since 1982 we have been guiding small groups of travellers on Australia's finest walks across our tropical, coastal or red centre landscapes.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/GCT.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Great Canadian Trails"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Great Canadian Trails</div>
Great Canadian Trails specialises in active holidays in Canada. With both guided and supported self-guided options available, our unique itineraries draw upon some of Canada's most inspiring parks, trails and landscapes from coast to coast.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/HUM.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Humac Challenge"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Huma Charity Challenge</div>
Huma enables those with adventurous spirits to challenge themselves and make a difference for a cause close to their heart. Travel, fundraise and meet life-long friends on one of Huma's meaningful and unique challenges around the world.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/WB.jpg?v2' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Walkers’ Britain"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Walkers' Britain</div>
Walkers' Britain (formerly Sherpa Expeditions) have specialised in walking and cycling trips in the United Kingdom and Europe since 1973. Explore iconic trails and destinations on a self guided or small group active holiday with Walkers' Britain.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/WB.jpg?v2' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Walkers’ Britain"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Walkers' Britain</div>
Walkers' Britain (formerly Sherpa Expeditions) have specialised in walking and cycling trips in the United Kingdom and Europe since 1973. Explore iconic trails and destinations on a self guided or small group active holiday with Walkers' Britain.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/TAS.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Tasmania Expeditions"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Tasmanian Expeditions</div>
Tasmanian Expeditions is the most experienced operator of treks and adventure travel holidays in Tasmania. We own and operate the most comprehensive range of adventure holidays available across Tasmania's varied landscapes.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/UTX-new.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Utracks"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>UTracks</div>
UTracks are the active European holiday specialists. Whether you prefer cycling or walking, 2-star or 4-star, small groups or self guided, land, river or sea – UTracks can help you to explore Europe exactly the way you want.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/WYA.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="World Expeditions Schools"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>World Expeditions Schools</div>
World Expeditions Schools is our specialist division dedicated to organising tailor made overseas school group adventures. Specialists in Service Learning projects, choose from more destinations than any other school group provider.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/YOM.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Yomads"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Yomads</div>
Yomads offers adventures for the 20s and 30s on six continents. Designed as a way to bring young and likeminded travellers together, Yomads caters to those interested in lightly structured and active trips that allow freedom to roam and explore.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/ACT.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Australian Cycle Tours"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Australian Cycle Tours</div>
Australian Cycle Tours specialises in high quality self guided and guided cycling experiences in a selection of the most beautiful regions in Australia.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/WEX.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="World Expeditions"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>World Expeditions</div>
The pioneers of original, worldwide adventure travel holidays since 1975
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/TJX.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Trail Journeys"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Trail Journeys</div>
Self-guided cycling experts on New Zealand's Otago Rail Trail and more
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/BMAC.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Blue Mountains Adventure Company"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Blue Mountains Adventure Company</div>
The original Blue Mountains canyoning, hiking, climbing and abseiling experts
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/GWNZ.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Great Walks of New Zealand"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Great Walks of New Zealand</div>
Explore New Zealand's most spectacular wilderness regions with the self-guided hiking experts
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/NAA.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="North America Active"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>North America Active</div>
USA Canada hiking & cycling tour specialists, choose from self-guided or guided trips