South Island Mountain Biking Getaway
10 Day Mountain Biking - Christchurch (Queenstown) to Picton
Our 10 day Off Road Tour begins in the Queenstown and Wanaka Lakes district of the South Island and is full of adventure, challenge and excitement for the intermediate to experienced mountain biker. The route takes you over Alpine passes, alongside beautiful lakes and through river valleys. We finish our Tour by riding the spectacular Queen Charlotte Track in the beautiful Marlborough Sounds. The incredible landscapes and scenery are highlighted as we tackle many of the great rides amongst the typically dry and rocky terrain of this High Country Region. In the evenings you can sample New Zealand’s delicious cuisine washed down with our fine wines.
- From NZ$4275
- Starts: Christchurch (or Queenstown), New Zealand
- Mountain Biking
- Grade 5-6, Active to Challenging
- NZ$850 single room supplement
- Price is based on a minimum 7 participants, price for 4-6 pax on request
2020: 14th January - 23rd January (Guaranteed Departure)
Full Tour Itinerary
Day One - Christchurch to Queenstown
We will pick you up fom the airport or make your way to the tour hotel. We’ve based ourselves in Queenstown for the next 3 nights in an ideal spot just outside the CBD, close to the Botanic Gardens, bars, cafes, and restaurants.
Meals: No meals
Day Two - Queenstown to Moke Lake
This morning we follow the road to the scenic settlement of Glenorchy, en route to the single trail to Moke Lake. Within an hour the hustle and bustle of Queenstown is left behind as we ride through a typical Otago mountain landscape. The loop trail around the small mountain lake is not too hard, with great picnic spots around. The return back down via another small lake is still all G2-3. On the way back into town, we have various options to sample the single trails at 7 Mile Bike Park. This is a true ‘big kids’ play area. Enjoy!
Total Riding: 50km R+GR+ST+4WD. Various XC loop G2-3 and G4(5) options in MTB Park
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Day Three - Queenstown (Rest Day)
We have set aside a full day for you to enjoy the vast array of activities in Queenstown, be it a plane trip to the world famous Milford Sound or Doubtful Sound, or an adrenalin-fuelled adventure with some of the local experts. There is so much to choose from — talk to your guide for booking recommendations.If you’re feeling energetic, it’s simple to explore the Queenstown Trail Network by yourself: just head out via the ‘Frankton Arm’ and around the lakeshore to Jack’s Point. It is a great 25 km warm-up on a mix of undulating gravel roads and single trails, in an absolutely stunning location. Choose to bike home via the same route, or continue exploring.
Total Riding: 25 km, ST G2, 3:30 hrs — return trip would be 51 km). No guided biking, however individual riding possible.
Day Four - Queenstown via Pisa Range to Wanaka
A big day out awaits, including a mighty downhill from the top of the Pisa Range into the Clutha River Valley (approx. 800 m vertically). It is partly over a private sheep and cattle station and is a truly unique back country experience. The day starts with a drive up to the Snowfarm XC-skiing area. From the lodge we climb up to Mt Pisa for a stunning view before descending on rugged 4WD tracks to the pretty township of Luggate for lunch. You can choose to finish your day’s ride here, or cycle the 12 km Clutha River trail to Albert Town followed by another 12 km along the Outlet Track around the shore of Lake Wanaka into the lakeside resort town — our home for the next two nights. This evening, you can relax in the charming atmosphere of our resort. This track is not always available as it crosses private land, so we may offer alternative rides on this day in the same area. There are plenty of them.
Total Riding: 40 km XC G2–3, 5:00 hrs to Albert Town (+ extra ride 24 km, 1:30 hrs)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Day Five - Wanaka to Clyde
A ‘fun ride’ today, with great tracks for all levels of rider!We head back out along the shores of Lake Wanaka to the Clutha River outlet from where we start climbing up into the Sticky Forest. This much-loved network of trails makes great use of the exotic pine forest close to the township, with over 20 tracks to choose from including some technical switchbacks. After a picnic lunch we continue our fun riding around Albert Town on the eastern side of the lake, before ending up at the Albert Town Tavern or a café along the Wanaka waterfront. The 11 km ST-dream around the Deans Bank Loop at the outflow of the Clutha River from Lake Wanaka MUST be specifically mentioned in here. If you ride nothing today, then at least give this a shot. We have not yet met a MTB-rider who did not like this bit of single trail.
Total Riding: 44 km ST G3(4); 2-5hrs (with individual preferences)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Day Six - Wanaka to Hokitika
Today, the cranks will be not be spinning. This is a scenic transfer day up the West Coast, one of the least-populous and most remote parts of the country, and arguably the most beautiful.The journey takes us alongside Lakes Wanaka and Hawea, first through arid countryside, followed by dense rainforest on the border of Mount Aspiring National Park. After a short walk through beech forest at Haast Pass we continue to the township of Fox Glacier and/or Franz Josef, depending on time. High mountains and the sea are close together. Here we could walk to the glacier face, or there may be time for an optional scenic helicopter flight over the glaciers. We have our lunch break in Fox or Franz, before continuing to the historic beachside town of Hokitika, set near the Hokitika river mouth, and founded on gold mining in the 1800s. There may be time to visit a greenstone factory, where you can buy locally-made jade carvings and jewellery at reasonable prices. The West Coast is rich in this treasured stone, and the South Island — Te Wai Pounamu — is named for it.
Day Seven - Hokitika
A day on the Coast, and the chance of an easy, very scenic ride along one of the great new bike trails that we now have throughout the country. The most scenic section of the West Coast Wilderness Trail entails a 30 km bus transfer to the tiny settlement of Kumara, followed by a 46–58 km ride over a gently built gravel bike trail and a section of gravel road back around to Lake Kaniere. This old glacial lake is nestled in the mountains of the Hokitika backcountry about 20 km out of town. From here you can cycle back to our accommodation, or take our bus back, or on to the local mountain bike park: Blue Spur. The park, on a hill just outside Hokitika, has been established Kiwi-style in a pine plantation by the local MTB club. Expect some gnarly track sections here, and in the wet you better hold onto your seat — when it rains here, it really rains! This evening you have time to wander Hokitika’s beach, just a stroll from the centre of town. There is nothing between you and the sun sinking into the Tasman Sea — given the right weather, West Coast sunsets are spectacular.
Total Riding: 46–58 km CT G2(3) + GR (West Coast Wilderness Trail) or 17+km ST G3/4 (5), 2:30 hrs, (Blue Spur MTB Tracks)
Day Eight - Hokitika to Picton
After breakfast, we begin a long but very beautiful bus journey of 420 km to Picton. The rugged West Coast landscapes are just stunning, and we’ll stop to visit Punakaiki, set by rainforest on a wild section of coastline. It’s a natural wonder, known for its unique ‘pancake rocks’ — layered limestone formations, with vertical blowholes. When the tides are right, the sea surges in and sprays. We’ll have time for a walk. Heading north and inland, we’ll also stop at the alpine village of St. Arnaud, to stretch our legs there. Unfortunately there’s no time for cycling today, but we promise to make up for it tomorrow, with a stunning day in the Marlborough Sounds. Once we arrive in the port town of Picton we will stay close to the harbour in cycling distance to the marina, so we can launch easily into tomorrow’s adventure. We will use the hotel as a base to explore this beautiful area over the next day.
Day Nine - Picton (Queen Charlotte Track)
A long and exciting day awaits us. After breakfast we ride into the Marina, and an hour-long water taxi ride takes us out through the picturesque, tree-lined Queen Charlotte Sound to Ship Cove (or Resolution Bay). We will pick a part of the trail to ride today, according to our group’s skill levels. This single trail takes us along the amazing coastline through dense forest where we will be escorted by numerous songbirds. After a good warm-up ride and a re-fuelling stop, a challenging afternoon lies ahead. We will be rewarded with breathtaking views of the Marlborough Sounds as we bike the single trail back to Portage, a small settlement by a sparkling bay. The last section of the Queen Charlotte Track is as beautiful as the first. You bike from lush green coastal forest over mountain ridges, where you again have magnificent views. There are two options available to suit different riders. The last section of the trail from Te Mahia Saddle to Anakiwa is a pleasure to ride for mountain bikers of all skills. From the trailhead in Anakiwa, after a hearty picnic lunch, we’ll pack our bikes and drive back to Picton. The evening is yours to spend in this pretty town… stroll along the waterfront or the Marina, and discover the wide range of restaurants and cafes at your leisure.
Total Riding: various STs, G3
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Day Ten - Picton Departure Day
Today we say goodbye to our tour mates, and hei konei rā to New Zealand.
Tour Inclusions & Exclusions
- 9 nights accommodation in 3-4 star hotels/motels/apartments
- Meals as listed in itinerary
- Support vehicle: (Bus and/or 4WD) with bike trailer
- Tourguide (who is also the driver) & local MTB guide(s) – crew numbers subject to group size
- Boat transfer to Portage Resort and start of Queen Charlotte Track
- Local fees for use of private land and conservation land
- International flights and airport taxes
- Travel insurance
- Meals where not specified on the itinerary
- Drinks (except water while riding), phone calls and minibar expenses
- Personal expenses (including any specific medical-related requirements)
- Bike repairs and maintenance (except if hiring a bike)