Southern Coast Cycle

Southern Coast Cycle

Trip Highlights

  • Cycle the Catlins rugged coastline
  • Visit the lighthouse at NZ's iconic Nugget Point
  • Explore the remote beaches of Cannibal & Curio Bay (tide dependent)
  • Walk to Mcleans Falls and Cathedral Caves
  • Challenge yourself on the rolling hills of the breathtaking Otago Peninsula

Trip Summary

Lush green rolling plains, wild windswept coastlines and unique wildlife experiences characterise New Zealand's southern most region. This remarkable tour begins by cycling the scenic boarder roads of the Fiordland National Park before visiting Invercargill, the world's most southern city. The wildlife experiences of the remote Catlins Coast, home to an ancient petrified forest, fur seals, rare Hector's dolphins and yellow-eyed penguins will leave you rejuvenated before exploring Dunedin, a city known for it's Scottish history, and the Otago Peninsula with its tiny villages and panoramic vistas.

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 Southern Coast Cycle is graded moderate. 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 4-6 hours or around 80km/50miles per day, day after day. There are some long undulating and hilly 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.


You will meet the tour in central Queenstown around 08:00am for a bike fit. From Queenstown we drive the narrow lakeside road alongside Lake Wakitipu to Kingston, where we start our ride for the day on the rolling rural roads of upper Southland.The native red tussock covered hills lead us into the township of Te Anau, perched on the edge of the Fiordland National Park, our goal is the remote Five Rivers cafe for lunch and then onto Mossburn, but stronger riders can be challenged by the possibility of a metric century ride today. Cycling Distance: 126km / 78miles Shorter Option: Kingston to Mossburn – 67km / 41miles

Meals:  L,D

The morning’s ride takes us alongside Lakes Te Anau & Manapouri before we head south through an ever-changing landscape. The stark arid mountains give way to more gentle pastures as we enter the productive Southland farm country. Small communities dot the landscape and the coastal riding becomes spectacular. This coast is exposed to southerly blasts creating some surreal windswept scenery. Gradually we quit the farmlands and approach Invercargill where we'll stay tonight. Cycling Distance: 108km / 66miles Te Anau to Blackmount – 60km / 37miles Optional Blackmount to Tuatapere – 42km / 26miles Tuatapere to Riverton – 48km / 30miles

Meals:  B,L

The route today skirts the beautiful and undiscovered Catlins Forest Park and coastline. The roads are quiet and the scenery diverse as the coastline increasingly becomes spectacular. The morning ride ends at beautiful Curio Bay where we enjoy a leisurely picnic by the sea, short walks along the beach, a swim for the brave & a visit to a petrified forest on the sea-shore. This is a renowned wildlife area & you are likely to see the rare Hectors Dolphins, Fur Seals & Yellow Eyed Penguins. After lunch there is an optional ride to our overnight accommodation near McLeans Falls. Cycling Distance: Invercargill to Curio Bay – 85km / 52miles Curio Bay to McLeans Falls – 30km / 19miles

Meals:  B,L,D

We have a relaxed start this morning to explore our beautiful surroundings here in the Catlins coast, with options to walk to the nearby McLeans Falls and/or explore Cathedral Caves. Then it is back on the bikes for more scenic cycling along quiet roads. The cycling is tough with some serious climbs but the rewarding views of the coastline make the effort well worth it. Another picnic by the sea gives us the chance for a beach walk before we continue cycling on to Owaka. Late afternoon we drive out to Cannibal Bay for a yet another walk on a remote and beautiful beach to visit the resident Sea Lions. Cycling Distance: 38km / 23miles

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning we ride to the seaside village of Kaka Point then drive out to Nugget Point and enjoy a short walk to the lighthouse. We drive the busy main road section through rural landscapes to Balclutha for lunch. This afternoon we cycle from Waihola down to the coast for the final gentle ride along the beach to Brighton, on the outskirts of Dunedin. This cosmopolitan university town is known as the Edinburgh of New Zealand due to it's rich Scottish heritage and is where we stay tonight. Cycling Distance: Owaka to Kaka Point via Nugget Point – 32km / 19miles Waihola to Dunedin – 30km / 19miles

Meals:  B,L

Today we explore the Otago Peninsula by bike. This ride has some challenges, taking you first up and over the Portobello hill for sweeping views of the whole Peninsula before dropping down to finish with some relaxing, flat riding beside the ocean. After lunch back in Dunedin we'll make our way to historical Oamaru, stopping at the Koekohe Beach along the way to see the Moeraki Boulders, some unusually large and spherical boulders lying on the beach. There is also the option for some more beautiful coastal riding on quiet roads as we reach our destination. We'll stay in Oamaru for the evening. Cycling Distance: up to 59km / 36miles Optional coastal ride into Oamaru – 25km / 16miles

Meals:  B,D

Today we are Christchurch bound - but not before more rural cycling. We have an option to visit the award winning Whitestone Cheese factory in Oamaru or nearby Riverstone Kitchen, to see their amazing gardens where they grow most of their own culinary produce. We then start cycling on quiet roads through small farmlets and communities along the Pareora River valley. An optional challenge is the climb over Pareora Gorge before we visit the spectacular St Davids Pioneer Church, made without nails out of local river stones and timbers. A final burst of cycling takes us to a late lunch at Pleasant Point and the start of the final drive back to Christchurch. With good traffic flows we should be into Christchurch by around 6pm. Cycling Distance: Pareora to Cave – 33km / 20.5miles Optional Cave to Pleasant Point – 15km / 9miles

Meals:  B

What's Included

  • 6 Breakfasts, 5 lunches, 4 dinners
  • 6 nights hotel/motel ensuite accommodation on a 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 than breakfast
  • Bike hire (including helmet)
  • Water bottle (help us save the environment and bring your own bike drink bottle)
  • Optional activities (eg. visit to Lanarch Castle, Albatross Colony)
  • 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.


Excellent trip. We were well looked after and the van was always close by which was useful on the first day when we could no longer cycle because of the wind. Excellent accommodation and meals. Enjoyed having a guide with local knowledge so we visited places and cycled routes that would have been hard to find if we had cycled independently.

Judy S, Waikanae, NZ, 31 Jan 2019

This was my first bike tour so I was nervous & excited as to how I would go. Ange was a very supportive guide who gave me encouragement and inspired confidence. The whole trip was well organised with excellent accommodation and meals. The rides were challenging as we had some wild weather but it was definately worth it to see the spectacular scenery.

Anna C, Perth, Australia, 31 Jan 2019

I have been on more than 20 guided bike trips over the past 30 years and my Adventure South trip is ranked #1. It was a real "holiday" to be on your tour. Ange did a great job inspiring us, servicing our needs and keeping us safe. She dealt with each request with a smile and a can do attitude. The scenery was amazing. The food including picnic lunches were tasty. Otago Peninsula was particularly good cycling and beautiful scenery.

Elaine S, Toronto, Canada, 24 Feb 2018

Excellent guides, superbly supported ride. Angela and Chris were patient, attentive, on top of every detail, and prepared us well for each portion of the ride each day. The accommodations were clean and extremely comfortable. The meals were excellent, including the guide prepared picnics. Our group of bikers and guides really clicked so all in all exceeded our expectations. Of course the terrain and scenery we biked through was exquisite! It seemed to be appropriate level for our riding skills and it was also the route we wanted.

Jennifer and Steve, USA, 24 Feb 2018

Overall great! I was impressed that so many meals were covered and we had very good choices. Accommodation was excellent. The guides made everything easy for us. bikes always in good condition, van well stocked, wonderful picnics, well organised, cheerful and fun. Only criticism; 2nd guide should have had a cellphone and more info on the course would have been helpful. Have a decent training base but you will get stronger each day. Take advantage of all the optional activities. Do 2 back to back trips if possible.

Jeanine H, New York, USA

I loved the tours and found that there was lots of flexibility to meet the needs/perspectives of the different riders. I felt very welcome and supported during the tour. Ange and Chris provided a huge amount of information, details, encouragement, humour and funny stories along the journey. The food and accommodation were above par and excellent! Well done!

Sheryl W, Toronto, Canada, 24 Feb 2018

Great scenery overall, good views of Pacific Ocean. The guides Ange and Chris took good care of us. My advise would be to book early, - especially Queenstown hotels.

Greg F, USA, 24 Feb 2018

This tour is a great way to experience the southern part of the South Island. On a bike you can hear the sounds of the birds and the water and you can smell the plants and the ocean. This is not possible in a car or a bus. The guides Ange and Chris were great. Very knowledgeable and helpful. There was so much time to ride at your own pace. Not so great: At times there was a very strong headwind (part of the game, not your fault). It would have been nice with a little bit more space in the bus.

Ingelise, N, Denmark, 24 Feb 2018

This was a wonderful trip, despite the winds and a bit of rain. We brought our rain gear and I realised that riding in the rain was OK. Accommodations were very comfortable and the food was top notch. Ange and Chris were always helpful and cheerful. The hills were challenging, but not overwhelming. Every place we stayed had a place to do laundry so you don't have to bring a lot of clothes. Be prepared for heat and chilly weather, even in the summer. We love Adventure South!

Paula and David H, USA, 26 Feb 2018

A very well organised tour and almost every part of the riding was in beautiful and varied landscapes. The food and accommodation was also great and added to the experience in a positive way. The guides added local perspective ad really focused on maximising our enjoyment. Would recommend carrying rubber overshoes.

, 23 Dec 2017

Great cycling routes with spectacular scenery. The guides were fabulous, always fun and relaxed but obviously working hard behind the scenes to make everything flow. Great standard of accommodation and food. We experienced all of the weathers and perhaps I could have had a bit more wet weather gear! Maybe a bit more local info would have been good.

M. Fry, Melbourne, Australia, 23 Dec 2017

Great equipment, guides were extremely professional. The rides were very good. Don't have anything bad to say. My advise would be to train, as the riding is not trivial.

Simon D, Melbourne, Australia, 23 Dec 2017

Good trip. Each ride a different setting and scenery. Accommodations and meals were excellent.

, 23 Dec 2017

Great scenery (remote), nice accommodation, great food, superb views, fantastic organisation (logistics). I'm normally a trekker/hiker, but due to an achilles injury I had to take to cycling, hence this decision.

Nicola P, Sydney, Australia, 23 Dec 2017

Excellent. Could not fault it. Great guides, great group. I would recommend doing a little training on the bike before the tour.

Martin M, Nottingham, England

Fantastic trip, thank you so much, guides were fabulous. They took care of everything. Riding down the coast was such a highlight. Loved everything.

Bec Luttrell, Australia

Upcoming Travel Dates



Duration:7 Days
Starting Point:Queenstown
Grade:Moderate  Click for more information
Trip Code:SCC
Prices From:NZD$2695
Public Holiday Supplement:NZD$50 
Bike Rental:NZD$350 
Single Supplement:NZD$695