Explore the beautiful scenery of NZ by bike
Journey through the South Island on gravel trails
Spend the first day on a stunning ride of the Banks Peninsula
Cycle the lakes and mountains of NZ's south
Bike a classic rails to trail route through Otago
At the end of the trip take a memorable boat trip to the final destination of Queenstown
Arrive in Q'town feeling great and ready to explore

South Island Gravel Explorer

7 days
Site savings
$2,359 USD

Explore the vast and impressive Mackenzie Basin and remote Central Otago on this remarkable gravel tour from Christchurch to Queenstown. You'll trace the footsteps of the early pioneers, along gold mining trails and stock routes which now form quiet back country roads. Journey from Christchurch to Queenstown, challenging yourself with 7 days of breathtaking gravel grinding. Enjoy incredible views of the Southern Alps from the Banks Peninsula and cycle through arid McKenzie Country surrounded by the highest peaks in the country. Admire a contrast of vivid blue lakes, sparkling rivers, snow capped mountains and golden tussock-lands and indulge in award winning wine and local Kiwi cuisine.

  • Category
    Trail Riding
  • Type
    Fully Guided
  • Duration
    7 days
  • Culture Level
  • Skill Level
    3 - Intermediate
  • Activity Level
    3 - Active
  • Elevation
    3 - Intermediate
  • Terrain
  • Distance
    326.2 miles
  • Avg. Daily Distance
    46.6 miles
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The journey begins with an awesome ride on the Banks Peninsula with views of the vivid blue Akaroa Harbour, the crater of an extinct volcano. You will then travel through beautiful farm country to the stunning turquoise Lake Tekapo and into the "big-sky country" of Central Otago. You'll cross the Hakataramea and Danseys Passes and then follow the route of the historic railway, crossing viaducts, bridges and through railway tunnels dating back to the gold mining era of the 1880s.

The final two days takes you along the Clutha Gold and Roxburgh Gorge where you can experience real isolation cycling alongside the Clutha River before embarking on the newly created Lake Dunstan trail. Be entranced by the spectacular views as you cycle surrounded by high mountain peaks. Cap off this epic cycle in the equally amazing Queenstown.

This tour is graded moderate to challenging. You will need to be a competent rider with stamina and a good level of fitness, you should be able to cycle comfortably for 6-8 hours or around 80-100km/50-60miles per day, day after day. There are some long undulating and hilly days on a mix of smooth gravel, dirt roads with some rougher corrugated and stony sections. There are some river crossings, so you can expect to get wet feet. You should be confident riding on roads with traffic, although the routes you'll cycle are quiet, you need to expect to see some vehicles. This tour is not for beginners. The tour is fully supported and if at any stage you feel like having a rest from cycling you will be able to ride in the support vehicle.

Tour inclusions and exclusions at a glance:

What's included?
Items included in the cost of the tour

  • Accommodation
  • Water and snacks while cycling
  • Concession fees paid to the Department of Conservation
  • 6 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 4 dinners
  • Entry to the Tekapo hotpools
  • Wine tasting at boutique Central Otago vineyard
  • Full vehicle support along the trail including trailer for luggage
  • Transport from Christchurch to Queenstown
  • Pre departure information kit to help you plan and prepare
  • Experienced guides who handle all the hard bits and share epic stories (2 guides on groups of 8 or more)
  • Experienced guides who handle all the hard bits and share epic stories (2 guides on groups of 8 or more)
What's not included?
Items not included in the cost of the tour

  • International / Domestic flights
  • Arrival and departure transfers
  • Meals where not specified in the itinerary
  • All beverages, other than breakfast
  • Water bottle (help save the environment and bring your own bike drink bottle)
  • Personal expenses (eg. phone calls, internet, laundry, shopping etc)
  • Travel Insurance
  • Visas
  • Optional activities
  • Free bike rental is not included. Please see the available rental options below.

Tour options and upgrades:

2 equipment options available
1 tour add-on available