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9 Day Great West Coast Cycle Tour

Days
9

Pricing From
$3295

Difficulty

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Overview

With the South Island offering some of the best cycling in NZ, this 9 day itinerary provides a crossing of the Southern Alps and some the best of the best in cycling!

Starting in Christchurch with the Tranz Alpine train to Arthur's Pass, followed by eight days of spectacular riding through the Glacier region and over spectacular Haast Pass, this tour finishes in the beautiful Southern Lakes district around Wanaka & Queenstown.  This is New Zealand's most famous & scenic multi day cycle ride known as one of the world's top five touring routes.

Trip Highlights

  • Enjoy full and half day hikes amidst some of NZ's best scenery
  • Marvel in the magnificent scenery of the Marlborough Sounds and the Queen Charlotte Sound
  • Relax in the comfort and hospitality of your own private eco lodge
  • Sail the beautiful coastal waters of the Abel Tasman National Park after the hike to Torrent Bay
  • Take in the panoramic views of Nelson Lakes National Park from the bushline track
  • Climb to the summit of Mt Isobel at 1324 metres

Tour Grading:  Challenging          

This trip is part of our New Zealand Bike Tours for Fit Cyclists. For a little more relaxed trip try our Recreational Bike Tours. All tours can be adapted by the guides for recreational or stronger cyclists wanting to cover more ground.

"Thanks Steve, Tim and Chris for loading and unloading bikes and bags everyday, enabling us to enjoy as much of the South Island as we could in our short visit.  For rustling up some great picnic lunches, and the reassuring blasts of the horn to let us know you were near, as we cycled in various conditions.  For organising kayaking and the Fox Glacier walk, both new exciting memorable experiences.  You made it a really good trip for all of us." - Kathryn Hall, UK

Note - apart from leaving & entering the main centers it is possible for strong riders to cycle the whole route on this tour. Less experienced riders can also be accommodated by using the support vehicle to leapfrog ahead or catch up with the group. On all our tours strong riders will get as much cycling as they want & slower riders always have the option of a ride in the support vehicle.

Great West Coast Cycle Tour

Cyclist on the West Coast of New Zealand

Great West Coast Cycle Tour

Rainbow over Hokitika Town Centre, West Coast, New Zealand

Great West Coast Cycle Tour

Group of Cyclists on the West Coast of New Zealand

Great West Coast Cycle Tour

Hari Hari travelling south to Lake Ianthe, West Coast, New Zealand

Great West Coast Cycle Tour

Group of Cyclists stopping for a photo on the West Coast of New Zealand

Great West Coast Cycle Tour

Clouds reflecting on the lagoon surface at Okarito, West Coast, New Zealand

Great West Coast Cycle Tour

Cyclists on West Coast, New Zealand

Great West Coast Cycle Tour

Guided walk on Fox Glacier, West Coast, New Zealand

Great West Coast Cycle Tour

Lake Matheson, West Coast, New Zealand

Great West Coast Cycle Tour

Lookout Point,West Coast, New Zealand

Great West Coast Cycle Tour

Haast Beach, West Coast, New Zealand

Great West Coast Cycle Tour

Lone Cyclist on a windy road West Coast, New Zealand

Great West Coast Cycle Tour

Crown Descent to Queenstown, New Zealand

Itinerary

Open All
Day 1Christchurch to Hokitika40km Riding distance

We pick you up from your Christchurch accommodation at 7.00am and bring you back to the depot for a bike fitting.  Following that, we drop you and your bikes at the station for your Tranzalpine Express departure at 8.15am.

We arrive in Greymouth at around  12.45pm and from here we cycle southwards through the rural countryside before it finally reaches the craft center of Hokitika, home of the local jade known as Pounamu, or Greenstone. (L, D)  

Day 2Hokitika to Franz Josef Glacier 135km Riding distance Suggested Shorter Option - Ross to Whataroa - 81km

Further south, the glacier country beckons and the road soon changes from rural countryside to one fringed with the mighty podocarp rainforests. Along the way we break for coffee at Ross, one of the early gold-mining townships and then onwards through Hari Hari and Whataroa until finally we reach Franz Josef Glacier township for the night. (B)

Day 3Franz Josef Glacier

Time for a day off the saddle and Franz Josef Glacier is a great place to enjoy this. With hot pools, ice climbing and lots of short walks – there are plenty of options! You could also relax and catch up with your diary or postcards. Your guide will take you for a walk to the base of the Glacier, but you also have the option of going with the local Alpine Guiding company for a half or full day hike onto the glacier itself. Flight-seeing is very popular here either in fixed wing planes around the mountains or a helicopter flight to land on the snowfields high above the village. There is also the option for those who feel the need for some upper body exercise to do some sea-kayaking into the rainforest at the nearby Okarito Lagoon & bird sanctuary. (B)

Day 4Franz Josef Glacier to Fox Glacier25km Riding distance

This mornings start is flexible depending on the weather and what people would like to do. There are a number of options – if the previous days weather hadn’t been that great then this morning can be for a walk to the base of the glacier or some sea-kayaking. After all other activities are out of the way then it’s an afternoon ride through to Fox Glacier (optional). The distance to Fox Glacier is only a matter of 25 kms but that ride crosses three strenuous passes, each followed by an exciting and exhilarating downhill. The ride is worth the effort with the last downhill into Fox leading straight into one of the village cafes or bars. In the evening we take a short tour to walk around nearby Lake Matheson with its famous sunset reflections of New Zealand’s highest mountains. (B, L)

Day 5Fox Glacier to Haast120km Riding distance Shorter Option - Fox to Lake Moeraki - 89km

After the free day we head off again on the beautiful highways and flat roads. The road reaches the coast at Bruce Bay before turning inland again and skirting the beautiful Lake Moeraki and then the Knights Point coastline. Eventually we roll into Haast township and a final night on the west coast. (B, L, D)

Day 6Haast to Makarora 82km Riding distance

Haast Pass presents another of the riding highlights. For some 50 kms the road slowly rises as the mighty Landsborough river joins the nearby Clark Valley. Countless waterfalls cascade from the mountains towering above the road & the lush rainforest changes to beechforest as you get higher up the valley. A final serious climb takes us to the summit of the pass at 678m.

From here there is a 20km ride down into the beautiful township of Makaroa and a deserved end to the days ride. If the descent does not provide enough excitement there is a thrilling jet-boat ride nearby taking you deep into the Mount Aspiring National Park. (B, L, D)

Day 7Makarora to Wanaka 68km Riding distance

Dramatic changes in the landscape today as we enter the dry arid country on the eastern side of the ranges. Today we cycle alongside spectacular lakes as the road rolls down into the headwaters of the Otago valleys and then climbs along the lake shore before taking us into the bustling resort township of Lake Wanaka. The afternoon is free to enjoy the shopping & relax alongside the lake. (B)

Day 8Wanaka to Queenstown 78km Riding distance

This morning we head out of town on a 25km cycle to the historic township of Cardrona, passing on our way the famous "Bra Fence" - ladies you are welcome to leave your mark?

From here the last serious climb of your tour takes us to our highest point, 1070m at the top of the Crown Range with its spectacular views, before a wicked drop down into Arrowtown for lunch. We have time to enjoy this historic Gold Mining town before our final ride into Queenstown. (B, L, D)

Day 9Depart Queenstown

Our tour ends today after breakfast and we must sadly say farewell. Queenstown is known as the adventure capital of the world. The town is situated alongside a beautiful lake surrounded by mountains so relaxing is also very easy to do & the shopping is fantastic. We recommend you spend some extra time here and are happy to help with Queenstown accommodation bookings. (B)

(B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner)

Cost per person

November 2019 - April 2020

  • Twin share: NZ$3,295

Single supplement: NZ$795

Bike Rental: NZ$400

Public Holiday Surcharge: NZ$50

Itinerary

Open All
Day 1Christchurch to Hokitika40km Riding distance

We pick you up from your Christchurch accommodation at 7.00am and bring you back to the depot for a bike fitting.  Following that, we drop you and your bikes at the station for your Tranzalpine Express departure at 8.15am.

We arrive in Greymouth at around  12.45pm and from here we cycle southwards through the rural countryside before it finally reaches the craft center of Hokitika, home of the local jade known as Pounamu, or Greenstone. (L, D)  

Day 2Hokitika to Franz Josef Glacier 135km Riding distance Suggested Shorter Option - Ross to Whataroa - 81km

Further south, the glacier country beckons and the road soon changes from rural countryside to one fringed with the mighty podocarp rainforests. Along the way we break for coffee at Ross, one of the early gold-mining townships and then onwards through Hari Hari and Whataroa until finally we reach Franz Josef Glacier township for the night. (B)

Day 3Franz Josef Glacier

Time for a day off the saddle and Franz Josef Glacier is a great place to enjoy this. With hot pools, ice climbing and lots of short walks – there are plenty of options! You could also relax and catch up with your diary or postcards. Your guide will take you for a walk to the base of the Glacier, but you also have the option of going with the local Alpine Guiding company for a half or full day hike onto the glacier itself. Flight-seeing is very popular here either in fixed wing planes around the mountains or a helicopter flight to land on the snowfields high above the village. There is also the option for those who feel the need for some upper body exercise to do some sea-kayaking into the rainforest at the nearby Okarito Lagoon & bird sanctuary. (B)

Day 4Franz Josef Glacier to Fox Glacier25km Riding distance

This mornings start is flexible depending on the weather and what people would like to do. There are a number of options – if the previous days weather hadn’t been that great then this morning can be for a walk to the base of the glacier or some sea-kayaking. After all other activities are out of the way then it’s an afternoon ride through to Fox Glacier (optional). The distance to Fox Glacier is only a matter of 25 kms but that ride crosses three strenuous passes, each followed by an exciting and exhilarating downhill. The ride is worth the effort with the last downhill into Fox leading straight into one of the village cafes or bars. In the evening we take a short tour to walk around nearby Lake Matheson with its famous sunset reflections of New Zealand’s highest mountains. (B, L)

Day 5Fox Glacier to Haast120km Riding distance Shorter Option - Fox to Lake Moeraki - 89km

After the free day we head off again on the beautiful highways and flat roads. The road reaches the coast at Bruce Bay before turning inland again and skirting the beautiful Lake Moeraki and then the Knights Point coastline. Eventually we roll into Haast township and a final night on the west coast. (B, L, D)

Day 6Haast to Makarora 82km Riding distance

Haast Pass presents another of the riding highlights. For some 50 kms the road slowly rises as the mighty Landsborough river joins the nearby Clark Valley. Countless waterfalls cascade from the mountains towering above the road & the lush rainforest changes to beechforest as you get higher up the valley. A final serious climb takes us to the summit of the pass at 678m.

From here there is a 20km ride down into the beautiful township of Makaroa and a deserved end to the days ride. If the descent does not provide enough excitement there is a thrilling jet-boat ride nearby taking you deep into the Mount Aspiring National Park. (B, L, D)

Day 7Makarora to Wanaka 68km Riding distance

Dramatic changes in the landscape today as we enter the dry arid country on the eastern side of the ranges. Today we cycle alongside spectacular lakes as the road rolls down into the headwaters of the Otago valleys and then climbs along the lake shore before taking us into the bustling resort township of Lake Wanaka. The afternoon is free to enjoy the shopping & relax alongside the lake. (B)

Day 8Wanaka to Queenstown 78km Riding distance

This morning we head out of town on a 25km cycle to the historic township of Cardrona, passing on our way the famous "Bra Fence" - ladies you are welcome to leave your mark?

From here the last serious climb of your tour takes us to our highest point, 1070m at the top of the Crown Range with its spectacular views, before a wicked drop down into Arrowtown for lunch. We have time to enjoy this historic Gold Mining town before our final ride into Queenstown. (B, L, D)

Day 9Depart Queenstown

Our tour ends today after breakfast and we must sadly say farewell. Queenstown is known as the adventure capital of the world. The town is situated alongside a beautiful lake surrounded by mountains so relaxing is also very easy to do & the shopping is fantastic. We recommend you spend some extra time here and are happy to help with Queenstown accommodation bookings. (B)

(B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner)

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