3
moderate
Activities
  • 10 days cycle trails
Accommodation
  • 11 nights hotel/motel
Meals
  • 9 Dinners
  • 9 Lunches
  • 9 Breakfasts

12 Days$6495NZD

Trip Code: SOG8050

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 full length of the spectacular Alps to Ocean Cycle Trail from Tekapo
  • Explore the charming Victorian precinct in Oamaru and the delightful city of Dunedin
  • Complete the tour in Queenstown; the adventure capital of New Zealand
  • Taste award wining Pinot Noir in a boutique Central Otago winery
  • Have expert local guides deliver world class service which allows you to relax and ride
  • Enjoy healthy and delicious meals at hand-picked local cafes and restaurants

This exclusive itinerary has been created to ensure you experience and ride the very best trails the South Island has to offer.

Majestic rugged mountain peaks, glaciers, vast arid tussock-lands, gorges and emerald blue lakes - it’s all here and within reach. New Zealand boasts an amazing variety of landscapes and equally amazing biking. Explore five of NZ's Cycle Trails on this 12 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 the end of this trail at Oamaru on the Pacific Ocean. After a rest day in Dunedin, we then ride part of New Zealand's original 'Great Ride', the Otago Central Rail Trail, followed by the Roxburgh Gorge trail through a remote gorge which includes a scenic jet boat transfer. We then take on the stunning Lake Dunstan Trail which winds through another deep gorge and past world class Pinot Noir vineyards. 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.


Welcome to Aotearoa New Zealand. On arrival at Christchurch airport, please make your own way to your group hotel. Taxi's, shuttles and public buses are readily available from outside the airport terminal. You will then be free to explore the city with its many museums and galleries, cafes and restaurants and rest up before your adventure begins tomorrow. Accommodation: Pavilions Hotel - www.pavilionshotel.co.nz Status: Confirmed

Meals:  Nil

Breakfast will be served in your hotel and then you will meet your guides in the hotel reception at 8am. We will set away with a scenic drive south crossing the Canterbury Plains towards Geraldine, then over 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 and nearby statue standing as a tribute to the Mackenzie sheepdogs. After lunch we set away on the first of the Great Ride Cycle Trails we are to conquer this tour - the Alps to Ocean Cycle Trail. Initially we follow quiet roads alongside the turquoise blue waters of the canal system. We turn onto a gravel road and head to our accommodation at the remote high country Braemar Station. This is a trip highlight for many as we are rewarded with panoramic views of Aoraki/Mt Cook and Lake Pukaki made all the better with a celebratory glass of wine before being treated to a delicious home cooked dinner. Be sure to take a walk outside after dark to see the incredible starry skies. Cycle Distance: Tekapo to Lake Pukaki - 51km Accommodation: Braemar Station - www.braemar.co.nz - Shearers Quarters - share bathroom facilities Status: Confirmed

Meals:  B,L,D

After a hearty breakfast, we leave Braemar Station and start our ride for the day. The trail winds around the edge of Lake Pukaki to a visitor's centre before crossing the extensive tussock-lands of the Pukaki flats to the small town of Twizel, where we stop for lunch. We continue riding alongside the Pukaki and Ohau canals, then around the foreshore of Lake Ohau with a beautiful mountain backdrop. On arrival at Lake Ohau Lodge there is time to unwind and soak in the onsite hot tubs while overlooking the lake. Dinner tonight is a treat in the Lake Ohau Lodge dining room where the views of the lake and alps will impress whilst you're enjoying a tasty three course meal. Cycle Distance: Braemar Station to Twizel - 42km Twizel to Lake Ohau - 38km Accommodation: Lake Ohau Lodge - www.ohau.co.nz Status: Confirmed

Meals:  B,L,D

After we've refueled with breakfast, those who would like a challenge can continue on the trail, which starts as a steady climb to the Tambrae 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. The rough shingle Tarnbrae track is steep and narrow and is suited to the more confident and fitter riders. Alternatively for those who want a more relaxing morning there is the option to transfer by the support vehicle and enjoy a final, mostly downhill and flat ride on the trail from the historic wool shed at Quailburn 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 afternoon there is a visit to the unique geological formations called the Clay Cliffs or those with particularly weary legs may enjoy an optional soak in a private hot tub of fresh mountain water (own expense). This evening enjoy a meal at a typical small town Kiwi pub. Cycle Distance: Lake Ohau to Omarama via Tarnbrae Saddle - 44km Short Option: Quailburn to Omarama - 26km Accommodation: Sierra Motels - www.omarama.co.nz Status: Confirmed

Meals:  B,L,D

Today’s Alps to Ocean ride follows the Waitaki river down the picturesque Waitaki Valley, known for its hydro lakes, dams, geological formations and growing reputation for cool climate wines. First, we follow the 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. After refreshments on top of the Dam, follow the trail on a quiet back country road alongside Lake Aviemore, watching out for wild wallabies as you ride. Crossing back over Aviemore Dam we ride to the small town of Kurow where the trail takes us along the banks of the Waitaki River, past vineyards and wetlands to reach the neighboring town of Duntroon and your accommodation. Cycle distance: 95km Accommodation: Duntroon Hotel - www.duntroonhotel.co.nz Status: Confirmed

Meals:  B,L,D

From Duntroon we ride south-east along the footpath and over the Maerewhenua bridge, then follow the trail through several farms to the unique rock formations known as Elephant Rocks, part of the Waitaki UNESCO Geopark. Picking up the old railway line, we’ll ride through the old Raki's railway tunnel before rolling downhill amidst more spectacular limestone outcrops and pastoral landscapes to Oamaru, where the Alps to Ocean trail ends on the Pacific Coast. We'll take a group photo in the famous picture frame to mark the end of this cycle trail. There will be time for a short wander around the historic Victorian precinct before a 2 hour drive south to the city of Dunedin, where we will stay for the next 2 nights. Cycle Distance: Duntroon to Oamaru - Up to 82 kms Accommodation: Dunedin Palms Motel - www.dunedinpalms.co.nz Status: Confirmed

Meals:  B,L,D

Today you're free to explore, starting with breakfast when and where you please! 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. Optional activities include a self guided cycle on the Otago Peninsula, a wildlife boat cruise on the Harbour, a visit to the only mainland breeding colony of Northern Royal Albatross in the world and a visit to a craft brewery, so take your pick! Accommodation: Dunedin Palms Motel Status: Confirmed

Meals:  Nil

Today we embark on the second of our Great Rides - the Otago Central Rail Trail, a beautiful journey into the Central Otago heartland. After breakfast, we travel inland to the Central Otago region. As one of the historic gold mining locations of New Zealand, the region is full of Kiwi colonial history. We have chosen the best section of trail and commence riding from the art deco town of Ranfurly. 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. Our support vehicle will meet us in Lauder, but there will be an option to ride further for those with energy. We then drive the short distance to our accommodation for two nights in the small town of Alexandra, perched overlooking the mighty Clutha River. Cycle Distance: Ranfurly to Lauder - 48km Accommodation: Alexandra Heights Motel - www.alexandraheights.co.nz Status: Confirmed

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we join Great Ride number three, the striking Roxburgh Gorge Trail. A trail in an otherworldly landscape of steep hillsides strewn with giant boulders leading down to a willow-lined river and lake. For anyone wanting to extend the ride, we can start with another section of the Otago Rail Trail to Clyde and then along the River Trail linking Clyde to the Roxburgh Gorge Trail alongside the mighty Clutha river. We ride the trail to Doctors' Point before loading our bikes onboard a jet boat for a scenic ride along an unrideable section of the gorge to Shingle Creek. We get back on the bikes to continue following the gorge to finally emerge at Lake Roxburgh village where the support vehicle will return us to our accommodation and if time to celebrate with a vineyard visit and tasting of world-class Central Otago wine. Cycling distance: Alexandra to Roxburgh - 30km Optional Ride: Alexandra to Clyde & River Trail back - 22km Accommodation: Alexandra Heights Motel - www.alexandraheights.co.nz Status: Confirmed

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we ride the newest Great Ride, the Lake Dunstan Trail, a spectacular ride through unique and fascinating landscapes so characteristic of Central Otago. The trail journeys through the Cromwell Gorge along the Clutha and the Kawarau Rivers and then follows the shores of Lake Dunstan. The region’s rich modern, pioneering and Maori historical stories are integrated along the way, some of which are brought to life in Clyde and Cromwell Historical Precinct. Starting in Clyde you pass the Clyde Dam and enter the stunning Cromwell Gorge where you cycle around sheer rock faces rising above the Clutha and eventually meet the Kawarau River at Cornish Point. Passing vineyards and olive groves, the trail crosses the Bannockburn Bridge and ducks into the Cromwell Heritage Precinct where we’ll stop to explore and have lunch. Heading along the shores of Lake Dunstan the trail finishes part way up the lake where we'll load up and drive through the Kawerau Gorge and Gibbston Valley to Queenstown, the Adventure Capital of New Zealand (some say the world!) Cycle Distance: Clyde to Smiths Way - 55km Accommodation: Blue Peaks Lodge - www.bluepeaks.co.nz Status: Confirmed

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we tackle the fifth of the Great Rides and the final trail of our South Island adventure. We set off riding from our hotel and quickly join the Frankton Trail, a well formed shingle track along the shore of Lake Wakatipu with stunning mountain and lake views. On reaching the old Kawerau Bridge at Frankton, we join the Twin Rivers Trail and then the Countryside Trail through to Arrowtown, a delightful old gold mining town, in time for lunch. We then continue onto the Arrow River Bridges Trail which includes 2 spectacular suspension bridges and is a delightful ride through to the historic Kawerau Bridge where we can witness bungy jumpers and zipliners getting their adrenaline fix! Here we have the choice to continue riding down the Gibbston Valley or to loop back via the Twin Rivers Trail and Frankton Trail back to Queenstown. Tonight we enjoy our final group dinner to celebrate our cycling achievements and the end of our New Zealand Journey. Accommodation: Blue Peaks Lodge - www.bluepeaks.co.nz Status: Confirmed

Meals:  B,L,D

Today you are free to relax and sleep in until check out time at 10am. Please make your own way to the airport.

Meals:  Nil


Inclusions

  • Tasty cafe breakfasts (x9), gourmet picnic or cafe lunches (x9), two course restaurant dinners (x9) catered to all dietary requirements
  • 11 nights comfortable hotel/motel ensuite accommodation on twin share basis
  • 2 Professional qualified driver/guides who handle all the hard bits and share epic stories
  • Full vehicle support along the trail including trailer for luggage
  • Hire of a hybrid bike with wider tyres perfect for riding on gravel roads, single track and shingle (including helmet)
  • Wine tasting at a Central Otago vineyard
  • Scenic Roxburgh Gorge jetboat transfer
  • Tasty nutritious snacks, drinks and treats plus our famous morning and afternoon tea's
  • Pre Departure Information Kit to help you plan and prepare
  • Goods & Service Tax 15%
  • Department of Conservation fees and rider fees paid to Trail Trusts for ongoing maintenance and improvements

  • International or domestic flights and taxes
  • Group arrival and departure airport transfers
  • Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
  • All beverages, other than with breakfast
  • Ebike Hire (a $750 hire fee is payable)
  • 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 Greenways, 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


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

$6495NZD

Options & Supplements*
  • eBike HireNZD$750
*Prices listed are per person

Essential information

Ready to book? Make sure you download and read the detailed Hans & Ivo's Best of the South Island Cycle 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.


Trip reviews


Similar trips

Untamed wilderness of the West Coast | Lachlan Gardiner
New Zealand
 
99 Reviews
Cycle over the grand Poolburn Viaduct | Lachlan Gardiner
New Zealand
 
48 Reviews
Celebrating at the top of the Tarnbrae high point! | Rebecca Ryan
New Zealand
 
288 Reviews
Stunning blue waters on the Lake Dunstan Trail | Lisa Jones
New Zealand
 
66 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