West Coast and Glaciers Cycle

West Coast and Glaciers Cycle

Trip Highlights

  • Challenge yourself with 6 days of memorable road cycling up the wild West Coast
  • Climb over the Crown Range, NZ's highest road
  • Swoop down Haast Pass on quiet sealed roads
  • Visit Hokitika, craft capital of the West Coast and home to the local green stone (pounamu)
  • Experience the TranzAlpine train crossing the Southern Alps to Christchurch
  • Admire Fox Glacier by helicopter (optional)

Trip Summary

Exploring New Zealand's 'wild' west coast by bike is cycling at its very best. Encounter grinding glaciers, primal rainforests and dramatic coastal scenery as we 'cycle the best and drive the rest' to ensure you experience all the landscapes that make this part of the South Island such an enticing place to travel through. From Queenstown, cycle to the former gold mining town of Arrowtown to explore its tranquil tree lined streetscapes before crossing over the Crown Range into Wanaka along New Zealand's highest main road. After an exhilarating swoop down Haast Pass you'll be greeted by lush rainforests before cycling past surreal coastlines featuring high cliffs and crashing seas. Your cycling efforts will be rewarded on reaching the world famous Fox Glacier, where you can enjoy a guided walk, or discover nearby Lake Matheson and its magnificent reflection of the Southern Alps. Cycling on past the equally impressive Franz Josef Glacier you'll finally emerge at the top of Arthurs Pass, where you board the TranzAlpine train for the spectacular journey back to Christchurch.

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 West Coast & Glaciers 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.


You will meet the tour in central Queenstown around 08:00am for a bike fit. Our first cycle takes us through quiet back roads to the old gold-mining town of Arrowtown for morning tea. From here strong riders can carry on biking up & over the challenging the Crown Range For the rest of us we travel by bus and bike over the Crown Range, with a lunch stop at the historic Cardrona Hotel. We continue cycling down the Cardrona Valley into the picturesque alpine village of Wanaka. Late afternoon you have the chance to enjoying some free time in vibrant Wanaka before our first group dinner. Cycling Distance: 45 to 78km / 28 to 49miles

Meals:  L,D

An early cycle ride takes us to Lake Hawea. We drive to the top of the Haast Pass and enter the famous West Coast forests. We cycle down through the 'Gates of Haast' on sealed roads to the flats of the Landsborough River for lunch. Our route continues down the Haast River with its rainforest clad mountain slopes and numerous waterfalls until the days spectacular journey ends on the coast at Haast. An evening walk on the beach provides a chance to watch the sun set into the Tasman sea. Cycling Distance: 48 to 105km / 30 to 65miles

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning we cycle peaceful forest roads to Bruce Bay and then onto Fox Glacier. The rest of the day is available for sightseeing in the township as well as providing the chance to take a scenic helicopter flight, which is highly recommended. Maybe you would rather a trip to nearby Lake Matheson famous for its reflection views of the Southern Alps, or enjoy any of the local walks in the area. Cycling Distance: 49 to 115km / 31 to 71miles

Meals:  B,L

For those who want to challenge themselves there is an optional heli-hike which combines the excitement of walking on the Fox Glacier with the thrill of helicopter flights. The afternoon sees us cycling another West Coast challenge, the road between Fox and Franz Josef Glacier. Cycling Distance: 25km / 15.5miles

Meals:  B,L

The support vehicle is always nearby if needed, but a metric century (100 kms) is the challenge today on long flat roads with spectacular mountain views as a backdrop. We cycle through podocarp rainforests and over wild rivers to hidden Lake Ianthe for our lakeside picnic. The dark waters hold the sun's heat and swimming is an option. In the afternoon you can keep cycling or enjoy a ride in the support vehicle to the Tasman coast and the craft orientated town of Hokitika. Cycling Distance: 63 to 133km /39 to 83miles

Meals:  B,L,D

From Hokitika township we travel by bus and bike on quiet inland roads through native forests to Lake Brunner. We lunch at a local cafe with stunning lakeside views and an option for the hardy to swim before more scenic quiet roads take us back to the West Coast highway. There is the option to cycle some more through sweeping rural landscapes and beneath rugged mountain peaks of Arthur’s Pass. Here we board the TranzAlpine Express train for a leisurely scenic trip back into Christchurch where our coach will meet and drop you off in central Christchurch around 7pm. Cycling Distance: Stillwater to Jacksons - 56km / 35miles

Meals:  B,L

What's Included

  • 5 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 3 dinners
  • 5 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 TranzAlpine Train)
  • TranzAlpine scenic train journey from Greymouth to Christchurch
  • 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. Heli-hike onto Fox Glacier)
  • 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.


Our guides mark and Sean were incredible. They invested so much energy into making sure we all got what we wanted out of the trip, they were very kind and funny and incredible insightful. When the weather was bad they were able to find an alternate route for us without stress.

Georgia K, Australia, 19 Mar 2019

A tour consists of three components: the itinerary; the guides; and the participants. All three were very good. The camaraderie and interpersonal generosity of the group grew with each challenge and each passing day. Ensure you are fit and healthy, as well as generous of spirit.

Dan Cunningham, Perth, Australia, 20 Feb 2019

The bikes were in excellent condition. The guides, Ian and Jonathan, were so nice and helpful. The accommodations were very comfortable. The food was great. The scenery was so beautiful. Don't plan for a lot of time to sightsee other than from your bike saddle. Be prepared for no A/C in accommodations and no screens on the windows. It wasn't really a problem (there was always a fan) it just took us by surprise. Listen when they say use bug spray for the sand flies. I didn't listen and I have some places that still itch after being home for 10 days.

Lynn P, USA, 31 Jan 2019

Great guides, group jelled. Good food and excellent humour. Would have preferred more rural accommodation and would have preferred less crowded roads. Bring good bike rain jacket in choosing route consider traffic/time of year. Suggest group BBQ one evening. I would even go with a stay at a hut or 2.

Carlo Cannell, USA, 20 Feb 2018

Awesome guides, energetic, informative and genuine. Always supportive and open to suggestions. Sometimes difficult rides, sometimes easy but always spectacular. Pete and Ange are the most humble and genuine hosts we could have asked for. Book it! Step/cycle outside of your comfort zone.

Shane V, Perth, Australia, 15 Dec 2017

I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I had never done a road cycling trip like this before. I was a little nervous at the start. Peter and Ange were fantastic group leaders, ensuring that all 8 of us had a great riding experience, catering for all our different riding abilities. I was the least experienced and my son Jeremy the most experienced. We were both very satisfied with the daily ride, scenery, food and accommodation.

Julie P, Australia

Love the new bikes. All accommodation and meals great flexible journey for weather etc. Good daily road rides. Walking side trips great too.

Sandra K, Kaitaia, NZ, 15 Dec 2017

Guides were outstanding and overall expectations were exceeded. Loved the walks and local knowledge. Accom was great.

Ken H, Australia, 15 Dec 2017

One of the best holidays I have been on. The tour guides were hugely knowledgeable and very professional accommodating all the parties needs! The 6 days flew and I want to go back to do more tours!!!

C. Johnson, Harrogate, UK

The bike tour of west coast glaciers was really well worth doing. Challenging at times but totally rewarding. People like Bas with a love for life make people these holidays very special with his enthusiasm and ability to ensure everyone is taken care of.


First time to NZ- love it! I cant think of a better way to be introduced to the pristine beauty of NZ than to go on an Adventure South trip!

Heidi B, USA

The bike tour of the West Coast/Glaciers was really well worth doing. Challenging at times, but totally rewarding. People like Baz with a love for life make these holidays very special with his enthusiasm & ability to ensure everything is taken care of.

David W, Australia

I had a really enjoyable time, one that I honestly will never forget. The guide, the scenery, the others on the trip and the riding itself was so much better than I expected. Thank you!

Isabella W, Australia

It's been an awfully inspiring & humbling trip. The group was amazing, pace was just nice kinda challenging with every bit organised. Nice touches in the picnics & BBQ. Guides - thanks for the awesome job!

Alexandra R, Singapore

Great riding, great companions, great location & fantastic holiday.

Nilpesh P, UK

I had such a great time on the Alps to Ocean tour with Adventure South last year that i'd decided to come back for another trip. Once again, I wasn't disappointed as I had a fabulous time. Fiona and Dave went beyond on numerous occasions to make us feel comfortable. I love Adventure South, I love your guides and I love NZ. I'll be back for more!

Prisilla Clima, Singapore

New Zealand - West Coast and Glaciers - Beyond my dreams - Lovely!!

Stephen O, USA

Fantastic trip! We are already talking about coming back to NZ! Adventure South has been so helpful in all aspects of the trip, no doubt we'll be back again.

Carol F, USA

Upcoming Travel Dates



Duration:6 Days
Starting Point:Queenstown
Grade:Moderate to Challenging  Click for more information
Trip Code:WGC
Prices From:NZD$2595
Public Holiday Supplement:NZD$50 
Bike Rental:NZD$300 
Single Supplement:NZD$685