trip
NEW Trip – Kyrgyzstan & the Tian Shan MountainsJoin 19 August 2024 Departure

7 Days$2390USD

Activities
  • 7 day road cycle
Accommodation
  • 7 nights hotel/motel
Meals
  • 4 Dinners
  • 7 Lunches
  • 6 Breakfasts
3
moderate

Traveller Rating

 

 
 

Trip highlights


  • Enjoy incredible views from the Summit Road of Banks Peninsula
  • Cycle alongside the bright turquoise hydro-canals from Lake Tekapo
  • Wonder at the majestic Aoraki/Mount Cook on a hike to a glacial lake
  • Admire the impressive dams and lakes of the Waitaki Valley
  • Explore the Victorian quarter of historic Oamaru
  • Visit Central Otago's old gold mining settlements
  • Conclude the tour in iconic Queenstown, New Zealand's adventure capital

Embark on an extraordinary adventure across New Zealand's breathtaking South Island, from the expansive Canterbury Plains to the majestic Southern Alps. This journey offers an unparalleled opportunity to explore the vast and impressive Mackenzie Basin, immersing yourself in the serene beauty of its glacial lakes and snow-capped mountains. Stand beneath the flanks of Aoraki/Mount Cook, the highest peak in New Zealand, and experience its grandeur up close.

Our tour begins on the Port Hills, where you'll ride with stunning views of the vivid blue Lyttelton Harbour, nestled within the crater of an ancient volcano. As we depart from Christchurch, we traverse rolling farmland before embarking on some of the finest gravel riding in the region, skirting the turquoise waters of Lake Tekapo and Lake Pukaki. A memorable overnight stay in Mount Cook Village, surrounded by alpine peaks, sets the stage for our next leg to Lake Ohau, where more breathtaking lake and mountain vistas await.

Continuing our adventure, we follow the Waitaki River to the coast, traversing the expansive "big-sky country" of Central Otago. Here, we ride the iconic Otago Central Rail Trail, a route celebrated for its pioneering history and enjoyable terrain. Our final destination is the vibrant town of Queenstown, situated beside the stunning Lake Wakatipu. Known as the 'Adventure Capital of New Zealand,' Queenstown offers an array of activities and is the perfect place to extend your stay.

This tour blends classic gravel riding with tranquil paved backcountry roads, catering to road cyclists and mountain bikers alike. Whether you are a seasoned gravel rider or new to the sport, this adventure promises some of the finest gravel riding NZ has to offer, set against a backdrop of unmatched natural beauty.

Trip Code: SLC

Welcome to Otautahi Christchurch. Today we find our cycle legs with a warm up ride along the stunning Port Hills overlooking Banks Peninsula. We will follow the paved Summit Road, around the crater rim of an extinct volcano with panoramic views towards the city, the snowy Southern Alps and into the vivid blue Lyttelton Harbour. We will ride out to Godley Head where the relics of the WW2 defense battery overlook the Pacific Ocean before heading towards the port town of Lyttelton. Our ride then follows the coastline, with plenty of short cheeky climbs and some fun descents between bays. On reaching Governor's Bay, we will load up the bikes at the jetty and hop in the van to drive to Christchurch and our hotel, arriving in the late afternoon. There will be time to explore the central city before meeting for our first group dinner in the evening. Cycling Stats: up to 52km, +857m (100% Paved) Accommodation: Pavilions Hotel, Christchurch - www.pavilionshotel.co.nz

Meals:  L,D

After breakfast we drive across the Canterbury Plains to beyond the rural town of Geraldine. We cycle along quiet rural roads getting our first taste of gravel, past small farmlets and communities nestled amongst gently rolling hills. We pass through limestone country with some interesting rock formations and follow the Opihi River. In the afternoon we explore more quiet rural roads with a photo stop at the historic St Davids Church at Raincliff before a gentle climb takes us to Lake Opuha, where our cycling ends for today. We will then transfer to our accommodation at Lake Tekapo, a beautiful destination amongst the snow capped alps and turquoise coloured glacial lakes. There could be time to take a dip in the hot pools or visit the famous Church of the Good Shepherd before our first group dinner together. Cycling Stats: 86km, +1,144m, (33% Paved, 67% Gravel)

Meals:  B,L,D

Today’s ride starts on the outskirts of Lake Tekapo where we head into vast, isolated tussock country with snow-capped mountains beckoning ahead. A scenic gravel road leads us through remote sheep stations before a gradual descent brings us to shimmering Lake Pukaki and our first view of the majestic Aoraki/Mount Cook. We follow the lake shore and join the Alps to Ocean cycle way, enjoying an easy flowing trail as we round the bottom of the lake. We cross the wide-open Pukaki Flats to reach the hydro town of Twizel where our ride ends. After lunch, we load up the bikes and drive into Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park where you will be awed by NZ’s highest peaks. Once we arrive in Mount Cook township, there will be an opportunity to take a walk to see amazing panoramic views. Choose between a climb to the Red Tarns or a shorter walk to Kea Point. You can also visit the Edmund Hilary Museum or interesting visitor information centre before making your own dinner arrangements. Be sure to admire the setting sun on the Southern Alps and take in the vast starry skies after dark. Cycling Stats: 62km, +269m (17% Paved, 83% Gravel)

Meals:  B,L

This morning, we begin with a walk up the renowned Hooker Valley. Following an easy path and crossing impressive swing bridges, we'll hike beneath towering summits, including the majestic Aoraki/Mt Cook, until we reach a serene glacial lake. Here, we'll pause for refreshments amidst the awe-inspiring scenery. After retracing our steps, we'll return to the van and transfer to the southern end of Lake Pukaki to continue our journey by bike. This afternoon's ride takes us alongside vivid blue canals towards the beautiful Lake Ohau. Following a fun cycle trail, we'll speed around the lake shore to our lodge accommodation for the night. Relax on the deck with a glass of wine and take in the stunning lake and alpine views. Hiking Distance: 10km (mostly flat) Cycling Stats: 41km, +245m (58% Paved, 42% Gravel)

Meals:  B,L,D

Consider starting your day with an optional early morning dip in the lake before embarking on the longest ride of the tour (so far). We head away from the Alps and cycle towards the Pacific Ocean, beginning near the Benmore Dam. Our route takes us along a quiet back road around the picturesque Lake Aviemore, part of the impressive Waitaki Hydro Electric scheme, crossing the dams at either end of the lake. We will rejoin the Alps to Ocean trail through Kurow, continuing past the unique formations of Elephant Rocks and finishing our ride in the settlement of Windsor, before a short drive into the historic Victorian town of Oamaru. Oamaru boasts some of New Zealand's oldest and most beautifully restored buildings, along with a thriving art scene. You can explore the creative Steampunk Museum, visit the Penguin colony (best seen at dusk), and enjoy fresh seafood for dinner. Cycling Stats: 108km, +854m (43% Paved, 57% Gravel)

Meals:  B,L

Today's ride takes us into the heart of Central Otago, starting with a climb over Macrae's Pass, which rewards us with sweeping views of the Taieri Plains. Departing from the rural town of Palmerston, we travel through farming country to reach New Zealand’s largest operational gold mine and the historic settlement of Macraes, established in the 1850s. We'll pause for a break at the historic Stanleys Hotel before a fast descent leads us to Hyde, where we join the iconic Central Otago Rail Trail. The smooth, flat gravel trail allows us to make quick progress into Ranfurly, passing interesting railway relics, riding through gorges, and crossing old viaducts. Tonight, there's an option to go curling in Naseby (at your own expense) at the Southern Hemisphere’s only indoor ice rink, followed by a relaxing jacuzzi and a traditional Kiwi BBQ at our lodge. Cycling Stats: 91km, +1374m (46% Paved, 54% Gravel)

Meals:  B,L,D

Our final day celebrates classic gravel riding as we continue riding along the Central Otago Rail Trail. This easy trail takes us through wide open landscapes, allowing us to discover the pioneering history of the region. As we ride over numerous viaducts, railway tunnels, and hand-dug cuttings, we admire the craftsmanship of the early settlers. Reaching the highest point of the trail, we cycle through the scenic Ida Valley and the Pooleburn Gorge, to arrive at the historic village of Ophir. The ride concludes in Alexandra, where we can toast our week's cycling achievements at a local cafe before driving to Queenstown. In Queenstown, we'll say our farewells and drop you off in the downtown area. With its spectacular scenery and multitude of adventurous activities, it is worth staying an extra day or two in this vibrant town. Cycling Stats: 84km, +485m (100% Gravel)

Meals:  B,L


Inclusions

  • Tasty cafe breakfasts (x6), gourmet picnic or cafe lunches (x7), two course restaurant dinners (x4) catered to all dietary requirements
  • 6 nights comfortable hotel/motel ensuite accommodation on twin share basis
  • Experienced 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
  • Tasty nutritious snacks, drinks and treats plus our famous morning and afternoon teas
  • Transport from Christchurch to Queenstown
  • Pre departure information kit to help you plan and prepare
  • Access and concession fees paid to the Department of Conservation

  • Bike hire (including helmet)
  • International or domestic flights and taxes
  • Arrival and departure transfers
  • Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
  • All beverages, other than breakfast
  • Water bottle (help us save the environment and bring your own bike drink bottle)
  • Optional activities (eg. Tekapo hot springs, curling, penguin colony, Steampunk Museum Oamaru)
  • 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


Departure dates


Notes

HS
Holiday Season

Dates don't fit?
Create a Private Trip

If you have your own group, talk to us about turning this itinerary into your own private adventure.

Priceper person from

$2390USD

Options & Supplements*
  • Road Bike RentalUSD$240
  • Ebike RentalUSD$420
  • Single SupplementUSD$560
*Prices listed are per person

Essential Information

Ready to book? Make sure you download and read the detailed Aoraki/Mount Cook & Southern Lakes Gravel 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.


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Why travel with us

Award Winning Adventures

Enhancing your journey with authentic experiences, genuine cultural exchange and real exploration are the focal points on all of our adventures. In 2019, we were crowned by our peers as the best in adventure travel at The Travel Awards in Sydney.

Thoughtful Travel

Our vision is to leave the world a better place by following our sustainable active outdoor travel charter. All our adventures are 100% carbon offset and our Regenerative 2030 Project aims to integrate ‘regenerative’ projects into every one of our global operations by 2030.

Ultimate Value

 When you book one of our adventures, you will receive quality services at the best prices with plenty of inclusions. There are no hidden costs, single travellers don’t pay more and you’ll enjoy many ‘extra touches’ that ensure your holiday is excellent value for money.

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