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Get ready to spin your wheels on New Zealand’s legendary Great West Coast Cycle—an epic 8-day journey spanning over 300 miles! Ranked among the world’s top five cycle touring routes, this adventure is a rollercoaster through high alpine passes, lakes galore, snow-capped peaks, lush rainforests, dramatic coastlines, and awe-inspiring glaciers. With daily rides pushing up to 80 miles, it’s the ultimate pedal-powered test of your endurance. Beyond the bike, hop aboard the TranzAlpine Express for a scenic train ride, live it up at Franz Josef Glacier, and groove to the laid-back vibes of Wanaka. Join a squad of intrepid explorers and saddle up for a quest to unveil the hidden wonders of New Zealand’s untamed wilderness.

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  • Epic route

    Embark on the ultimate adventure spanning over 300 miles and showcasing epic New Zealand landscapes

  • Land of contrasts

    Cycle from lush rainforests and glacial landscapes to dramatic coastlines and serene lakes

  • Effortless logistics

    From accommodations, meals, and vehicle support, everything is taken care of so you can focus on the ride

Itinerary

Embark on an epic 9-day cycling adventure from Christchurch to Queenstown, tracing New Zealand's famed Great West Coast cycle route. Ride up to 80 miles daily through stunning and ever changing landscapes of the South Island. Your path is guided by experienced experts who handle the logistics while you focus on the ride. Along the way, savor local flavors, enjoy comfortable accommodations, and take in the scenic TranzAlpine train ride. With full vehicle support and more, it's an all-inclusive cycling odyssey to remember.

  • Start your journey at Cathedral Junction in Christchurch at 7:15 am. Catch the scenic TranzAlpine Express at 8:15 am for a 48-mile (76 km) ride across the Southern Alps to Moana on Lake Brunner, arriving around noon. Enjoy lunch on the train before hopping on your bikes immediately. Cycle through the picturesque Arnold Valley to Stillwater, following a flat path alongside the Grey River to the coastal town of Greymouth. Coastal riding takes you north to the famous Pancake Rocks at Punakaiki, offering a perfect mix of hills and flats. After exploring the Pancake Rocks, transfer to Hokitika for the night.

    Cycling: 48 miles (76 km)
    Meals: Dinner

    Pancake Rocks on the West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island.
  • Head further south through scenic podocarp rainforests after leaving rural countryside behind. Take a coffee break in Ross, an historic gold-mining town, and continue through Hari Hari and Whataroa, reaching Franz Josef Glacier township for the next two nights.

    Cycling: 84 miles (135 km)
    Shorter option: Ross to Whataroa – 50 miles (81 km)
    Meals: Breakfast

    Famous Franz Josef Glacier in New Zealand, seen while on the Great West Coast cycle trail.
  • Enjoy a day off the saddle in Franz Josef Glacier. Relax in hot pools, try ice climbing, or explore short walks. Consider flight-seeing tours by fixed-wing planes around the mountains (up to 40 mins) or a helicopter flight landing on the snowfields above the village (1.5 – 2 hours). You can also opt for sea-kayaking into the rainforest at nearby Okarito Lagoon & bird sanctuary. Additional costs apply for optional activities.

    Meals: Breakfast

    Cyclists going for a short hike at Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand.
  • This morning’s start is flexible based on weather and preferences. Enjoy optional activities such as glacier flights or sea-kayaking. In the afternoon, ride to Fox Glacier, a short but strenuous 16-mile (25 km) journey crossing three passes, each followed by exhilarating descents. The last downhill leads directly into a village café or bar. In the evening, take a short walk around nearby Lake Matheson, known for its famous sunset reflections of New Zealand’s highest mountains.

    Cycling: 16 miles (25 km)
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

    Lake Matheson with the snow-capped peaks of the Southern Alps in New Zealand’s South Island.
  • After two relaxing days, resume cycling on flat roads. Reach the coast at Bruce Bay before heading inland, passing beautiful Lake Moeraki and the Knights Point coastline. Eventually, arrive in Haast for your final night on the west coast.

    Cycling: 75 miles (120 km)
    Shorter option: Fox to Lake Moeraki – 55 miles (89 km)
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Moeraki lake, surrounded by a rainforest in New Zealand’s South Island, seen while on the Great West Coast cycle trail.
  • Haast Pass offers a cycling highlight with a gradual 31-mile (50 km) ascent, passing waterfalls, rainforests, and beech forests. Reach the summit at 678 m (2,224 ft) after a final climb. Descend 12 miles (20 km) into Makarora, concluding your day’s ride. Consider an optional jet-boat ride nearby, venturing deep into Mount Aspiring National Park.

    Cycling: 51 miles (82 km)
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    A river in New Zealand with the Southern Alps in the distance, seen while on the Great West Coast cycle trail.
  • Experience dramatic landscape changes as you enter the dry, arid eastern side of the ranges. Cycle alongside beautiful lakes, descending into the Otago valleys and then along Lake Wanaka’s shore, arriving in the bustling resort town. The afternoon is free to enjoy shopping or relaxing by the lake.

    Cycling: 42 miles (68 km)
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

    A road used for cycling along the shores of lake Wanaka in New Zealand.
  • Cycle 15 miles (25 km) out of town to the historic Cardrona township. Pause for coffee at the iconic pub with beautiful gardens. Climb to the tour’s highest point at 1070m, offering spectacular views. Descend the Crown terraces, with vistas of the Remarkables mountains and Wakatipu basin, concluding your morning ride in Arrowtown. Enjoy a break in this old gold mining town before your final ride into Queenstown, the adventure capital of New Zealand, situated alongside Lake Wakatipu and surrounded by mountains. This marks the end of the adventure. Say goodbye to your guide, fellow cyclists and to New Zealand—or continue touring on your own.

    Cycling: 48 miles (78 km)
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    The idyllic settlement of Arrowtown at the foot of the Southern Alps’ peaks in New Zealand’s South Island.
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Meet your guide

Adventure South NZ
5.00
Adventure South NZ
Adventure South NZ is the leading provider of fully supported, guided adventures offering a wide range of over 40 high-quality trips across New Zealand and beyond. Specializing in cycling, mountain biking, and hiking, they are passionate about delivering exceptional experiences while taking care of all the logistics. Accompanied by experienced guides, travelers will explore New Zealand's natural wonders and gain insights into the local culture. At Adventure South NZ, small group travel is prioritized to minimize environmental impact and create immersive and personalized experiences. With over 30 years of experience, their expertise lies in crafting unforgettable active holidays.
5.00 (4 reviews)
Dennis Voulopos (source: Google Reviews)

Loved every moment of the tour! I did the Marlborough & West Coast cycle ride and it was a blast, not only the riding but the hotels and restaurants that were part of the package were excellent. Our guide, Peter was amazing, always available, helping, and giving more then expected. He gave us lessons on the area, the animals, birds and offered extra biking and walks. Healthy snacks were provided along with tea stops in the morning. The rental bike was very nice but could have used a few more gears. Highly recommended!

Jill Valmadre (source: Google Reviews)

What a wonderful trip we had. Adventure South were an amazing group to travel with, our leaders were so helpful, fun and knowledgeable. Would highly recommend them. Nothing was too much trouble, the food wines and accommodations were all spot on. And the ride was, well, breathtaking. Thoroughly enjoyed it, thank you. We will be back.

Linda McKindley (source: Google Reviews)

I had an amazing time with Adventure South. I did both the South Lakes and the West Coast Cycle tours. The guides were very knowledgeable and changed routes as needed to keep us safe. They did everything they could to keep everyone happy. If you want to do a cycling or hiking tour look no further. They are a New Zealand company with guides that live in New Zealand.

rebecca dick (source: Google Reviews)

Excellent organization to bike with. Wonderful guides, routes and accomadation, everything taken care of.

Things to know

  • What you get on this adventure:

      • An experienced cycling guide or guides with extensive local knowledge of the area
      • Ensuite accommodation in motels and hotels in twin and double rooms (7 nights)
      • 7 days of cycling along the Great West Coast Cycle route
      • Full vehicle support along the trail including trailer for luggage
      • Breakfasts (x8), picnic or cafe lunches (x5), two course restaurant dinners (x4) catered to all dietary requirements
      • Nutritious snacks, drinks, treats, and morning and afternoon teas
      • TranzAlpine train journey from Christchurch to Greymouth
      • Transport from Christchurch to Queenstown
      • Pre-departure information kit
      • Concession fees paid to the Department of Conservation

    Road bike/e-bike and helmet rentals are available for an added fee of $240 and $480, respectively.

    What’s not included:

      • Airfare and visa costs (if applicable)
      • Arrival and departure transfers
      • Bike rental — available for rent
      • Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
      • All beverages, apart from breakfast and afternoon tea
      • Optional activities during the adventure (eg. scenic flights, sea kayaking etc)
      • Any personal expenses
      • Travel and medical/rescue insurance
      • Guide gratuities — optional
  • To fully enjoy this guided Great West Coast cycling trip, a good level of fitness is essential. The journey is graded as moderate to challenging, with an average daily distance of u 50 miles (80 km) and some extended uphill ascents. You should be a competent road rider with good stamina, capable of cycling comfortably for up to 6-8 hours per day.

    In preparation for this adventure, we recommend dedicating 90 minutes to cycling three times a week for at least three months leading up to your trip. This practice will help you build the endurance and stamina required for the journey. The tour is fully supported, allowing less confident riders to opt for shorter distances if desired, and the support vehicle will always be nearby, ready to assist with transportation if needed. Your safety and enjoyment are our top priorities, and your experienced guides will be there to assist, observe your technique, and provide advice while keeping everybody safe.

  • Here’s what you’ll need:

      • Bike and helmet — available for rent
      • Daypack large enough for all the items you might need on the move — comes with bike and helmet
      • rental
      • Comfortable riding or athletic clothing, preferably moisture wicking or synthetic material
      • Sneakers or sport shoes
      • Breathable outside layer or jacket
      • Waterproof jacket
      • Fleece
      • Quality thermal wear
      • Casual clothes and sneakers for when you’re not cycling
      • Sunglasses
      • Water bottle or hydration bladder
      • Biking gloves are optional but recommended
      • Toiletries (sunscreen, cosmetic products, hand sanitizer, bug spray, toilet paper, etc.)

    The ideal months for travel, from November to April, bring temperatures ranging from 50°F to 86°F (10°C to 30°C) during the South Island summers, along with a comfortable humidity level of 40-50%. However, keep in mind that higher altitudes can be significantly cooler, and snowfall is possible even in summer. Additionally, there are occasional hot, dry, and fierce winds during the summer months. While you won’t need a full winter wardrobe, packing a good waterproof jacket and some warm clothing (including a fleece or jumper and quality thermals) will ensure you’re prepared for any unexpected changes in temperature and weather conditions during your tour. A more comprehensive gear and clothing list will be provided to you upon booking.

  • During the booking process, you have the option to rent a bike, and we offer four distinct styles for hire—road bikes, hybrid bikes, e-bikes, and tandem bikes. When reserving your bike, kindly provide your height and weight preferences to ensure the best fit.

    For those who crave the ultimate cycling experience, the Avanti Gran Durance 3 road bikes that are offered are equipped with drop handlebars, wider 40mm tires, carbon fiber forks, and hydraulic disc brakes designed for safety and ideal performance on New Zealand roads. They offer a relaxed geometry and multi-hand positions, making them suitable for cyclists of varying experience levels on longer touring routes.

    If you prefer the performance and speed of a road bike but seek a more natural, upright riding position with flat handlebars, the hybrid road bikes are an excellent choice. They provide optimal bike control, a well-placed center of gravity, and reduced strain on the rider’s neck and back.

    If you could use a little pedal assistance, the Sinch e-bikes are a fantastic option. These electric bikes are user-friendly, exceptionally comfortable, and gentle on the body. They offer up to 100 km of pedal assistance before needing a recharge, making cycling easier on knees and joints.

    Experienced cycle partners seeking to enjoy the journey together can rent tandem bikes. These tandems offer a similar riding position to mountain bikes but are fitted with road tires, making them perfect for sealed roads.

    Bike helmets will be provided with your rental, and each bike is equipped with a handy 15L saddlebag. Furthermore, all your equipment and luggage will be conveniently transported by our support vehicle, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable cycling experience.

  • Accommodations on this guided Great West Coast cycling tour encompass a range of comfortable options, including 3-star and 4-star family-run motels, as well as a well-appointed hotel. These lodgings are carefully selected to provide you with a restful and enjoyable stay throughout your journey. Twin share or double rooms with private facilities are typically provided, and you have the option for a single supplement if you prefer more privacy during your stay (limited availability).

  • Group sizes and prices:

      • The maximum group size for this group tour is 14 participants.
      • If 8 or more people join the tour, 2 guides will accompany the group.
      • The minimum number of participants that need to join for this group to operate is 4.
      • The cost does not decrease as the group grows.

    The Great West Coast Cycle in New Zealand can be arranged for bigger and private groups. Contact us prior to booking.

    Min. age requirements:

      • If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
      • Children as young as 10 are able to go on trips with a legal guardian. That said, if you have a young rider strong enough to handle sustained climbs (either riding or walking their bike) of hundreds of feet, and rough terrain, then they may be able to participate on a case-by-case basis.

    If your group has riders under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

  • To get to Christchurch, the starting point of the tour, most people fly into Christchurch Airport. You will meet your guide(s) and fellow cyclists at Cathedral Junction at 7.15 am on Day 1.

    We recommend arriving a day prior to the cycling adventure as our journey kicks off right after this initial gathering. Arriving a day in advance provides you with the opportunity to relax and ensures a seamless and stress-free start to your experience.

  • We highly recommend that you cover all your bases with both emergency medical and travel insurance. With medical insurance, if you have an accident or medical emergency on or off the mountain, you’ll avoid paying out of pocket for costly expenses. This covers everything from hospital treatments to emergency air transportation and more.

    Travel insurance covers canceled flights, natural disasters and other scenarios that may interrupt your travel plans.

    We also expect you to respect local regulations and take measures to protect yourselves, your guides, and the communities you’re traveling to. For more information on travel recommendations and restrictions in the South Island please refer to the U.S. Department of State’s travel information on New Zealand.

    If you need assistance selecting the right insurance for your group, let us know and we will be happy to help!

  • Deposits

    You can secure one of the set dates with a 30% deposit upon booking. The remaining 70% of the trip price is to be paid 90 days prior to departure, at the latest.

    Secure your early bird spot with a 10% deposit! This tour gets sold out very quickly, but with early-bird booking, you will be the first one to know about any new upcoming dates. Pick your preferred dates without the risk of your bucket list adventure selling out!

    • Only 10% of the total amount should be paid as a deposit upon booking. This deposit is non-refundable, but can be transferred to another 57hours adventure anytime in case the dates don’t suit you.
    • Once the dates are set, you can confirm your booking by paying another 20% of the total amount.
    • The final balance is due 3 months (90 days) prior to departure.

    Cancellations

    Booking fees are non-refundable in all cases. During checkout, however, you can choose one of 57hours’ flexibility options:

    Basic

    • In case of cancellation within 48 hours after booking, the amount paid is fully refundable.
    • For cancellations 60 or more days before the trip, you are eligible for a 70% refund of the trip price.
    • For cancellations 0-59 days before the trip, there is no refund.

    Flexible

    • In case of cancellation within 48 hours after booking, the amount paid is fully refundable.
    • For cancellations 60 or more days before the trip, you are eligible for a full refund of the trip price.
    • For cancellations 30-59 days before the trip, you are eligible for a 50% refund of the trip price.
    • For cancellations 0-29 days before the trip, there is no refund.

    Super Flexible

    • In case of cancellation within 48 hours after booking, the amount paid is fully refundable.
    • For cancellations 30 or more days before the trip, you are eligible for a full refund of the trip price.
    • For cancellations 0-29 days before the trip, you are eligible for a 50% refund of the trip price.
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