South Island Triple Trails Cycling Tour

Explore three of NZ’s incredible Cycle Trails on a 15 day unforgettable adventure within the South Island.

Majestic rugged mountains, spectacular glaciers, wild coastlines, emerald blue lakes – it’s all here and within reach. New Zealand boasts an amazing variety of landscapes and equally amazing biking.

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 end this trail at the small port of Oamaru on the Pacific Ocean. We then take a train ride on the scenic Taieri Gorge Railway from Dunedin to join New Zealand’s original ‘Great Ride’ and the second of our trails, the Otago Central Rail Trail.

We have a free day in Queenstown within the beautiful Lakes District, before continuing northwards, crossing Haast Pass where you’ll be greeted by lush rainforests and surreal coastlines featuring high cliffs and crashing seas. Your cycling efforts will be rewarded on reaching the world famous Fox Glacier. We’ll visit the equally impressive Franz Josef Glacier before heading to Ross and the start of our third and final cycle trail, the West Coast Wilderness. Following extensive water races, logging tramways and historic railway lines, we will emerge on the rugged coast at Hokitika.

We finish this epic journey by crossing the Southern Alps a second time at Arthurs Pass; and then descend to Christchurch to the end of this amazing adventure.


• 13 breakfasts, 7 lunches and 9 dinners
• 14 nights hotel/motel ensuite accommodation on twin share basis
• 2 Professional qualified driver/guides
• Private vehicle transport/support vehicle
• Bike hire of a hybrid mountain bike (with helmet)
• Journey on the Taieri Gorge Railway
• Wine tasting at a Central Otago vineyard
• Entrance fee to West Coast Treetop Walkway
• Water and snacks while cycling
• Concession fees paid to the Department of Conservation


From $5,870 per person


Valid Until Further Notice


30 October – 13 November 2021

10 – 24 March 2022


If this is not quite what you’re looking for, contact an advisor today, to discuss other available options for your trip. See itinerary tab for more details.


*Prices are per adult in AUD, based on lead-in twin-share accommodation in each of the specified categories. Valid for a limited time only, is capacity controlled, subject to change/availability and can be withdrawn at any time without notice. Does not include any additional accommodation made necessary by flight schedules. Prices are subject to change due to fluctuations in charges, taxes and currency even after the deposit is paid. Service fees/or fees for credit card payments may apply. Subject to cancellation penalties, terms and conditions and blackout dates.

Day 1 Christchurch to Tekapo – Alps to Ocean Trail

Early this morning you will be collected from a central Christchurch location around 08:00am and taken to our depot for a bike fitting and tour briefing. We then drive south to Geraldine for a refreshment break before continuing to Lake Tekapo Village for lunch. Its picturesque lake is the first of the storage lakes which feed the hydro schemes in the basin and down the Waitaki Valley. This afternoon we set away on the first of the three famous cycle trails we are to conquer this tour – the Alps to Ocean Cycle Trail, following quiet roads that follow the turquoise blue waters of the canal system. On return to Tekapo we have the option to visit the local hot pools to ease any first day muscle aches (own expense). The famous Church of the Good Shepherd and nearby statue standing as a tribute to the sheepdogs that make farming the Mackenzie Basin possible are local icons. We meet in the early evening to have our first group dinner together. Cycle Distance: Tekapo to Lake Pukaki – 30 km Meals: D

Day 2 Tekapo to Mount Cook

After breakfast this morning we drive to our next cycling point on the Alps to Ocean Cycle Trail alongside the Tekapo hydro canal. We enjoy some flat easy riding past salmon farms to the edge of Lake Pukaki, joining the lakeside cycle trail and with spectacular mountain vistas. From the road end, Aoraki/Mt Cook beckons so we load up and drive to The Hermitage where we have the option to enjoy a visit to the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre (own expense) or the informative Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park visitor centre (free of charge). In the afternoon you’ll also have the chance to put your walking shoes on and take in the stunning glacier and mountain views from either the Sealey Tarns, the Hooker Valley Track or Tasman Glacier view point. We stay in Aoraki/Mount Cook Village tonight, and enjoy an evening, dining and relaxing below the highest peaks in the Southern Alps. Cycle Distance: Pukaki to Twizel – 30 km Meals: B,L

Day 3 Mount Cook to Omarama

This morning, after a short transfer to the nearby village of Twizel, we cycle past Lake Ruataniwha and Lake Ohau, mostly on cycle trail, to Lake Ohau Lodge for lunch. After we’ve refuelled our bodies, those who would like a challenge can continue on the trail, which starts its steady climb up to the Tarnbrae 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. Alternatively for those who want a relaxing afternoon there is the option to transfer by vehicle and enjoy a final, mostly downhill and flat ride on the trail 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 evening enjoy an optional soak in a private hot tub of fresh mountain water (own expense). Cycle Distance: Twizel to Lake Ohau – 38 km Ohau to Omarama – 41 km Short option: Quailburn to Omarama – 23 km Meals: B,L,D

Day 4 Omarama to Kurow

Today’s ride takes us down the Waitaki Valley, known for its hydro lakes and dams. First, we follow the trail along the shores of Lake Benmore to Sailors Cutting. From there, either keep riding up to Otematata Saddle or skip the climb by hopping back on the van. Regrouped, it’s a fun downhill cycle towards Aviemore Dam, where we’ll enjoy a picnic by the lake. We’ll arrive at Kurow with plenty of time to explore the town’s surrounds. Highlights include beautifully restored St Albans Church and wine-tasting at local vineyards. We’ll stay overnight in Kurow in an elegant lodge serving dinner showcasing local produce. Cycle Distance: Up to 63km (optional climb to Otematata saddle 5km) Meals: B,L,D

Day 5 Kurow to Oamaru

This morning the cycle trail takes us along the banks of the Waitaki River, past vineyards and a Maori rock art site to reach the small town of Duntroon. From there, we head inland into rolling country and wander around the unique Elephant Rocks, huge formations strewn across a field. Picking up the old railway line, we’ll ride through Raki’s tunnel before rolling downhill amidst more spectacular limestone outcrops and landscapes as we gradually descend towards Oamaru where the Alps to Ocean trail ends on the Pacific Coast. The beautifully restored historic Oamaru Victorian quarter is home to Steampunk and in season features street actors providing entertainment, local crafts, cafes and bars. In the evening we can visit the famous blue penguin colony to view the penguins returning to their nest after a day of food gathering (own expense) or explore the Victorian precinct. Cycle Distance: Kurow to Oamaru – Up to 82 km Meals: B

Day 6 Oamaru to Dunedin

We start with a scenic cycle out of Oamaru along the coastal road. This road provides breath-taking views of sandy beaches and the Pacific Ocean. We dismount in Waianakarua where the coastal road traffic increases and drive part of the way. Our first stop is the perfectly spherical Moeraki Boulders lying along a stretch of Koekohe Beach. Believed to be at least 60 million years old, each boulder weighs several tons and can be up to six feet high. Our cycling route continues inland from Waitati on Blueskin Bay to Dunedin. We end our ride at the bottom of Baldwin Street, the world’s steepest street. 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. Once in Dunedin, you will be free to spend the rest of the afternoon and evening exploring the city. Cycle Distance: Oamaru Coastal Ride – 24 km Waitati to Dunedin – 20 km Meals: B,D

Day 7 Dunedin to Wedderburn – Otago Central Rail Trail

Today we embark on the second of our cycle trails – the Otago Central Rail Trail, a beautiful 150 kilometre historic journey into the Central Otago heartland. After breakfast, we transfer to Dunedin’s magnificent train station. This is our departure point for a spectacular train trip that will take us from the hustle of Dunedin’s city centre through the rugged Taieri Gorge. Our journey on board the historic Taieri Gorge Railway offers dramatic scenery and vantage points that cannot be seen by car. Once we arrive in Pukerangi, we find ourselves in the Central Otago region. As one of the historic gold mining locations of New Zealand, the Central Otago region is full of Kiwi colonial history. Off the train we transfer to Middlemarch by midday, and after lunch we set off on this historic trail, passing by tunnels and 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. Our destination today is Wedderburn, a sleepy town in the heart of the Maniototo Plain, where we can make a visit to the Wedderburn Tavern dating back to 1885 for some well deserved refreshments. Cycle Distance: Middlemarch to Waipiata – 53 km Meals: B,D

Day 8 Wedderburn to Lauder

Today’s ever-changing landscape includes rugged mountains, crystal clear rivers, and steep winding gorges. After breakfast we will drive back to Waipiata where we left the trail yesterday and set off towards Ranfurly and Wedderburn. Be sure to watch for the planets of the solar system along the way and take note of their proportional sizes and distances. We cycle over the impressive Poolburn viaduct and Manuherikia Bridge and through the 229m Poolburn tunnel to arrive in Lauder. Late afternoon we’ll drive to St Bathans for a walk around the surreal Blue Lake formed during the 1800s gold days. Enjoy a game of pool or banter at the Lauder pub before we tuck into a well-earned dinner. Cycle Distance: Waipiata to Lauder – 57 km Meals: B,D

Day 9 Lauder to Queenstown

Today we complete the the Otago Central Rail Trail. For views of the Dunstan Mountains and the Raggedy Range, we hop on the bus for the short detour to must-see Ophir township and the lookout for a bird’s eye view of region. We finish our ride in Clyde, a quaint historic town in this up and coming wine region. Clyde was once a wild and rollicking “canvas” town bustling with gold miners, shop keepers and ever-present dancing girls. We transfer by van, travelling through the beautiful Gibbston Valley, known for its world renowned vineyards for a wine tasting and continue out to the Kawarau Gorge and the iconic Bungy Bridge – home of Bungy. After watching and perhaps thinking about taking the leap of faith, we continue to Queenstown and our accommodation for the next two nights. Queenstown is the world’s adrenalin capital and makes a fitting point to take a rest day from our riding adventure. Surrounded by majestic mountains and hugging the shores of Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown is the perfect place to relax. Cycle Distance: Lauder to Clyde – 45 km Meals: B,D

Day 10 Queenstown, Free Day

Today is a day at leisure in Queenstown. There are optional excursions to either Doubtful Sound or Milford Sound (own expense). These tours have an early start with a bus journey to either Manapouri (to visit Doubtful Sound) or Milford Sound to join an amazing cruise into Fiordland. There is also an option to bus one way to Milford Sound and fly back to Queenstown by helicopter or small plane. We are happy to assist with bookings. Others in the group might like to enjoy a relaxing day in Queenstown, taking in the scenery, visiting galleries, cafes and restaurants, if not partaking in a bungy jump, a sky dive, jet boating or some other adrenalin activity! Meals: Nil

Day 11 Queenstown to Wanaka

Today we make our way to Wanaka, via the Crown Range Road, New Zealand’s highest road. We drive to the Crown Range’s summit at 1076m above sea level, where we can enjoy sweeping views over the Arrow Valley, the Remarkables Range and Lake Wakatipu. It is here we unload and enjoy a great downhill ride to Wanaka, visiting the famous historic Cardrona Hotel enroute. We continue cycling down the valley into the picturesque alpine village of Wanaka. Late afternoon we have the chance to enjoy some free time in vibrant Wanaka before meeting again for an evening meal together. Cycle Distance: Crown Range Summit to Wanaka – up to 40 km Meals: B,D

Day 12 Wanaka to Fox Glacier

This morning we will start our drive skirting the edges of Lake Hawea and Wanaka with Mt Aspiring National Park as the backdrop, before climbing over the Haast Pass to the west coast of the South Island, renowned for it’s glaciers and wild coastlines. The road is bordered by rainforest and mountains on one side and the wild ocean on the other. This is mainly a driving day (journey time approx 6 hours), but we will enjoy stopping at a number of waterfalls and scenic points for short walks along the way. We end our day in the tiny township of Fox Glacier, home to one of only 3 temperate glaciers in the world. There will be time to enjoy a short walk and relax before making our own dinner arrangements. Meals: B,L

Day 13 Fox Glacier to Franz Josef

This morning we take a 90 minute walk around the jewel-like Lake Matheson, a photographer’s paradise with potential to capture brilliant mountainous reflections, after which we will explore Fox Glacier by taking a short walk to the glacier terminal face. Weather permitting and subject to availability, there is an option to join a scenic flight over Aoraki/Mt Cook and the glaciers (own expense). After lunch there is the option for those who want to challenge themselves further to cycle a classic West Coast challenge, “the Triple Bypass” the road between Fox and Franz Josef Glacier, which is a serious of 3 short but steep climbs over 25km of riding. If you prefer there is the option to take the support vehicle and relax in the township of Franz Josef and maybe enjoy a soak in the local hot springs. Optional Cycle Distance: Fox Glacier to Franz Josef Glacier – 25 km Meals: B,L

Day 14 Franz Josef to Hokitika – West Coast Wilderness Trail

This morning we continue north to the town of Ross, where we connect up with the last of our cycle trails – the West Coast Wilderness Trail. We follow the cycleway north to Hokitika, with a stop at the Treetop Walkway, to experience a unique adventure walking on custom built platforms among temperate rainforest giants. The trail continues through small townships and farms to join the old Kaniere water race, before leading us to the shores of the beautiful Lake Kaniere, nestled against the Southern Alps. Here we take a moment to appreciate our surroundings before we load up and drive the short distance back to Hokitika, a quiet coastal town known for the crafting of Pounamu (greenstone) from the West Coast. You have the late afternoon free to explore the town and later for a walk on the beach to admire a stunning West Coast sunset (if conditions are right). Tonight we enjoy our last evening meal together, celebrating new friendships and our cycling achievements of the past 2 weeks. Cycle Distance: Ross to Lake Kaniere – 54 km Meals: B,L,D

Day 15 Hokitika to Christchurch

Today we drive back to Lake Kaniere and continue our ride through the amazing bush trails of this cycleway. Firstly on rural roads and then the dedicated trail that takes us to the coffee stop at Mill-town, home of saw-milling in earlier times. The trail crosses a swing bridge and then a kilometre of switchback climbing takes us to the high point and more superb riding. From here it’s mainly downhill, as we follow water races, bush tracks and reservoir roads taking in the spectacular views as we gradually descend to Kumara and the beautiful historic hotel where we can enjoy a celebratory drink before our spectacular drive across the Southern Alps back to Christchurch. On arrival we will drop you off at your central Christchurch accommodation, where trip arrangements conclude. Cycle Distance: Lake Kaniere to Kumara – Up to 50 km Meals: B,L
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Total: $5,870 From $5,870 /person