New Zealand Road Cycling Experience

Road Cycling Tour from $4885 NZD
14 Days
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Enjoy superb road cycling on New Zealand’s South Island, via the wild scenery of the West Coast.

This New Zealand road cycling tour takes you from southernmost Bluff to the northern end, and is designed for serious cyclists.

You’ll see constantly changing terrain: from Southland’s green hills to Central Otago’s arid mountains, West Coast rainforests to serene Marlborough vineyards and bays.

Bluff to Picton

Queenstown
  • Road Cycling
  • Grade
  • NZ$1160 single room surcharge
  • Bike hire on request
  • This tour is invoiced in NZD
  • Price based on minimum 7 participants
There's extra time for relaxing or adventures in fast-paced alpine mecca Queenstown, and the scenic glacier village of Franz Josef. This tour is designed for 100+ km of cycling per day. We also welcome participants who prefer 60-100 km/day. Roads are all tarseal and mainly flat-to-rolling, with some hard climbs and fast downhills. Our support vehicle will be close by throughout for when you want a break from cycling. You'll stay in great 3-4 star accommodation.

Full Itinerary

DAY 1

Invercargill (or Bluff)

No cycling

Please make your way to New Zealand's southernmost domestic airport at Invercargill, where you will be met by your guide and transferred to your Invercargill (or Bluff) hotel. After assembling your bikes, or being fitted to your hire bike, we gather for a drink and pre-tour briefing before getting to know each other during the evening. Being in Southland, you may have the chance to taste those famous Bluff oysters (usually in season February–June, but available frozen year-round).

Meals: None

DAY 2

Invercargill to Bluff to Gore

Cycling: 100 km

Our first day’s cycling begins with a 30 km drive to the port town of Bluff. Bluff is at the southernmost point of State Highway 1, New Zealand's longest road (2047 km). We have a leisurely 100 km biking ahead, first on the main road and then on quieter pastoral backroads. The terrain is reasonably flat and a good warm-up for longer rides ahead. We’ll have a late lunch in Gore, a important rural servicing town in this agriculture-dominated region.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 3

Gore to Clyde

Cycling: up to 146 km

We ‘up the pace’ today with one of our 3 biggest cycling days. You'll see a dramatic change in scenery from Southland's green pastures to dry, barren Central Otago. As we cycle from the Blue Mountains through a gorge to the foot of the Old Man Range, we pass old gold mining areas and hydroelectric stations. The route is undulating with steeper climbs to test the legs as we approach pretty Alexandra by the Clutha River. Alexandra is New Zealand's hottest, driest, and coldest town. Then, a gentle 10 km following the Clutha to the quaint historic township of Clyde.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 4

Clyde to Queenstown

Cycling: 89 km

An easier, flatter day’s cycling today. We pass Lake Dunstan via the beautiful Kawarau Gorge to Queenstown, New Zealand's Adventure Capital. There are no major climbs today, but instead, plenty of distractions such as wineries that may tempt us to stop. Central Otago is the world’s most southerly grape-growing region, best known for its stunning Pinot Noir. For those wanting an adrenalin rush, how about a bungy jump from the historic Kawarau Bridge, as we pass AJ Hackett's Bungy's first ever location.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 5

Queenstown (Rest Day)

Cycling: optional

Today is a free day in action-packed Queenstown. You could try a fly-cruise-fly package into the dramatic Milford Sound, white water rafting, jet boating, paragliding, helicopter rides and many other options. You could shop in the town centre, relax with a massage, or take an afternoon cruise on Lake Wakatipu on the steamship TSS Earnslaw. However, if you'd would rather clock up some more kms on your bike, we can point you in the right direction. For the record, we've done 330 km so far!

Meals: Breakfast

DAY 6

Queenstown to Wanaka

Cycling: 73 km, with further distances optional

After a day’s rest our legs should be ready for our most challenging climb, the Crown Range. First, a fairly easy ride to the historic gold mining town of Arrowtown, with just one real climb. Then we head to the summit of New Zealand's highest highway (1080 m). It's a hard 3 km up steep hairpins, a flattish 5 km, then a lung-wrenching, leg-burning 3.5 km. Then it's ‘plain sailing’ as we follow the Cardrona River down to Wanaka, a popular lakeside resort town. Relax and enjoy local eateries and sights. There are also plenty of options for extra riding.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 7

Wanaka to Haast

Cycling: up to 143 km

A longer ride is in store today as we head west across the Southern Alps. The landscapes again change dramatically, from the dry, arid mountains of Central Otago to the dense rainforests of the wild West Coast. There will be numerous photo opportunities as we ride alongside Lakes Wanaka and Hawea and then over the glorious alpine Haast Pass. From here it’s a beautiful downhill as we follow the Haast River from its inception to the Tasman Sea.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 8

Haast to Franz Josef

Cycling: up to 144 km

Heading north, we follow the rugged West Coast coastline for 30 km, with just one small climb before turning inland. Another little hill takes us to scenic Lake Paringa. A flat section through rainforest allows for some recovery until just before Fox Glacier at 120 km. To round off a spectacular day we now have three steep climbs and descents for around 22 km to Franz Josef. The rugged coastal scenery and dense rainforest make today’s ride one of the most scenic of the tour. The perfect finish could be the Glacier Hot Pools, nestled in lush rainforest near the township's edge.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 9

Franz Josef (Rest Day)

Cycling: optional

A free day in this scenic alpine town surrounded by native rainforest. Relax, rest your legs and do as you please. Optional cycling is available, or you may choose to book a half day hike on the glacier, or go for a helicopter ride. Those Glacier Hot Pools with their natural glacier water may again be tempting!

Meals: Breakfast

DAY 10

Franz Josef to Hokitika

Cycling: 134 km

There's a flat to slightly undulating ride up beautiful West Coast roads today. Most of the route is slightly inland. The only hills are a short climb over Mt Hercules on a very scenic, winding bush-clad road. There are also small undulations around Pukekura, home of the Bushman’s centre and some ‘tall tails’. Hokitika is a pleasant town known as the Heritage and Cultural centre of the West Coast. Here you'll find New Zealand’s finest pounamu (local jade). Our accommodation tonight is on the beachfront.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 11

Hokitika to Westport

Cycling: 138 km

Continuing north, it’s a reasonably easy flat ride along the coastline for around 82 km to our rest stop at Punakaiki. It's spectacular layered 'Pancake Rocks' and Blowholes at the coastline are a must-see. Punakaiki is also the gateway to the 30,000 ha Paparoa National Park. Then it's on to Perpendicular Point and Pakihi Hill with their great sea views before descending into the port town of Westport for a hard-earned pint of their local Miner’s beer.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 12

Westport to St Arnaud

Cycling: up to 156 km

After following the stunning coastal road for 3 days, we now head inland on a gradual climb. We follow the Buller River past Fern Arch and Hawk's Crag, a tunnel blasted through rock in 1900. We pass the smalll towns Inangahua Junction and Murchison to Kawatiri. Then we turn off onto a quiet road and cycle northeast to the alpine village of St Arnaud, in the Nelson Lakes National Park beside Lake Rotoiti and the towering Mt Robert. Today is our longest cycling day and while we cycled gradually for the entire 156 km, it's only to 700 m above sea level.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 13

St Arnaud to Picton

Cycling: up to 153 km

Through forest and then farmland, we cycle down the long Wairau Valley to the outskirts of Blenheim, centre of one of New Zealand's major wine regions. At Renwick, a meandering back road leads to Havelock, a charming little port town on the edge of the beautiful Marlborough Sounds. On our final 30 km of the winding coastline to Picton we see some of the most beautiful scenery in the region. It's a great finish to our last cycling day.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 14

Departure Day: Picton

No cycling

After 1283 km of great riding it's time to pack up the bikes and bid our farewells. If you're travelling to Wellington and the North Island, the ferry terminals are close by, and the airport at Blenheim is an easy transfer. For those who wish to return with us to Christchurch, our support vehicle leaves mid morning for the 5-hour drive via Kaikoura and the East Coast.

Meals: Breakfast

Tour Inclusions and Exclusions:

Tour Includes:

  • 13 overnight stays in excellent accommodation (3-4* NZ Standard)
  • Meals as specified on itinerary (breakfast and/or lunch)
  • Support vehicle and luggage transfer
  • Arrival transfer on day 1 only (from 1pm)
  • Tour guide
  • Department of Conservation fees

Tour Excludes:

  • Bike hire but is on offer
  • International flights and/or Travel visas (where applicable)
  • Single Supplement
  • Meals not included above
  • Drinks & snacks during cycling
  • Travel Insurance