Cycling Adventures: New Zealand’s South Island


Cycling the Queen Charlotte Track, New Zealand
Cycling Queen Charlotte Track, New Zealand - Image courtesy of

Cycling in New Zealand

Experience the best of New Zealand’s South Island in a 23-day, 1200km (approximately) bike ride that includes four national parks and ventures through mountains, crystal lakes, geysers and forests.

Cycle around the Marlborough Sound’s coastline, through the Nelson Lakes National Park and down the spectacular Buller Gorge to the wild West Coast.

See the Pancake Rocks and Blowholes at Paparoa National Park, pedal past stunning West Coast Glaciers and lakes, over Haast Pass and down to scenic Wanaka and Queenstown.

Ride south to Milford Sound, cycle through towering mountains, beside lakes and past numerous waterfalls to finish at Larnach's Castle on beautiful Otago Peninsula, close to the city of Dunedin.

Rating & distance – Moderate, however you need to be in good physical condition to tour the wide range of geographical areas. Much of the 1200km route follows quiet sealed roads with little or no traffic.

Time frame – Allow 23 days

Accommodation – A range of attractive lodges, country inns and luxury hotels in pristine wilderness settings.

Discover the best hotel accommodation in Marlborough – find the best deal, compare prices and read what other travellers have to say at TripAdvisor.

Best time – The ideal time to explore New Zealand’s South Island is from November to April, with an average temperature of 15˚C to a high of 22˚C in summer (December to February).

Bicycles – You can take your own bike, otherwise rentals are available in a variety of sizes and styles. A touring or hybrid bike makes for an easier ride than a mountain bike. Helmets are compulsory in New Zealand and are usually provided, however you may like to take your own – as nothing fits quite like your own.

Other activities – Experience a range of other great outdoor activities. Go white water rafting, kayaking and bushwalking or try some adrenalin-pumping activity in Wanaka or Queenstown.

Attractions en route
Fox Glacier – At 13km, Fox Glacier is the longest of the New Zealand’s west coast glaciers and offers a stunning outlook across surrounding farms, with breathtaking views of New Zealand’s highest peaks, Mount Cook (Aoraki) and Mount Tasman. Walk to the glacier or take a scenic over-flight.

Lake Matheson – Famous for its reflective mirror images of Mount Cook (Aoraki) and Mount Tasman. Take an hour to stroll around the lake through native rainforest, visit the nearby historic gold mining settlement of Gillespies Beach and, further along the coast, enjoy the sight of fur seals basking in the sun.

Wanaka – Enjoy this lively haven, with its choice of bars, restaurants, pubs and cafés as well as an amazing variety of activities, including fishing, scenic flights, hiking, climbing and bungy jumping. Try fresh fish from the local rivers or venison from the high country and savour the award-winning local wines.

Queenstown – Known as the ‘Adventure capital of the world’, Queenstown offers the opportunity for numerous adrenalin-pumping activities: from skydiving, river-surfing, white water rafting and jet-boating to skydiving and bungy jumping as well as scenic flights and lake cruises. Take a scenic tour into the rugged mountains and golden hill country around Queenstown and be reminded of scenes from the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Milford Sound – Drive from Te Anau to Milford Sound along one of the most scenic drives in the world – the Milford Road. Allow a minimum of two hours driving (in each direction) without allowing for stops for the 240km return trip. Enjoy lunch overlooking stunning Mitre Peak and take a cruise on scenic Milford Sound.

Latest update on this honeymoon destination: 21 March, 2016
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