Julie Silverlock
by Julie Silverlock

New Zealand is the place to visit for anyone who loves the great outdoors and biking NZ is a fantastic way to explore this luscious land. The excellent trail systems that have been developed throughout the country provide a diverse range of landscapes, all stunningly beautiful, to discover on two wheels. However, road biking New Zealand is also highly recommended, and the whole country offers superb opportunities for those so inclined. The South Island offers a naturally dramatic landscape with a smaller population than its northern counterpart, although bear in mind during the peak season, the roads can still get busy.

There are many wonderful cycling tours of NZ, many of which we have here to choose from on our site. Today we've picked 3 of the best bike tours of the South Island that should not be missed this season. Get in quick as space is limited on some departures.

Experience the Clean Air of NZ.

Choose NZ as the next destination for your bike tour vacation.

1. Marlborough and West Coast Cycle

Starting and ending in Christchurch, this magnificent tour highlights the top of the South Island, which is – some might say – a bit further off the tourist track than the well trodden path down south. Subsequently, this region feels like a bit of a hidden gem and on this top-rated bike tour you'll discover why. Bike one of the best coastal rides in the world, cycle over the Southern Alps via Rahu Saddle, jump at the opportunity to swim with dolphins or whale watch at Kaikoura, visit Punakaiki's Pancake Rocks and blowholes, and soak in the hot pools of Hanmer Springs. Enjoy scenic river valley views, rainforest-clad mountains and the tranquil beauty of the Nelson Lakes National Park. You'll also spend time in the pristine sunken valleys of the Marlborough Sounds, sample some of NZ's best wines, visit the epic Buller Gorge, and more besides. The tour is classified as moderate–challenging and you should be able to ride for up to 6–8hrs per day/100 km (60 miles). The tour is fully supported and guided with only a few departures per year. Make sure you visit the top of the south before the secret gets out!

Marvellous Marlborough.

Delight in the landscape of the Marlborough Sounds.

2. Southern Lakes Cycle

Zig zag your way from Christchurch to Queenstown on a guided bike tour exploring the heart of the South Island. Explore the vast Mackenzie Basin with its pure glacial lakes and snow-capped mountains on an extraordinary cycle tour. Visiting Mount Cook/Aoraki, NZ's highest mountain, is a must-see for any visitor to the South Island and you'll get the chance to go there and view it many times as you ride around this jaw-dropping region. Cycle around the crater rim of an extinct volcano on the Banks Peninsula close to Christchurch to start the tour off with the first of many joyful rides. Discover the dreamy turquoise waters of lakes Tekapo and Pukaki. Cycle along the Waitaki River and under the big skies of Central Otago as you ride towards Queenstown, the adventure capital of NZ, and your ultimate destination.

A truly exceptional ride filled to the brim with panoramic views of the snowy Southern Alps and glassy lakes by day, and vast starry skies by night. Stay in lovely locations, for example on the shores of Lake Ohau, and relax at the end of the day in steamy hot pools, soak in a jacuzzi or enjoy a traditional Kiwi BBQ with your new bike buddies. Top it all off with a visit to arty and historic Oamaru with its world-famous Steampunk museum. Stop by the otherworldly (and insta-worthy) Moeraki boulders and have the chance to try the sport of curling on ice.

This South Island bike tour is classified as moderate for competent road riders looking to cycle 4–6hrs per day/80 km (50 miles). Optional climbs are available some days for those looking for a bit more, and the support bus is available for those looking for a bit less. All in all, a mesmerising tour with sublime views of this special part of the world. Again, this NZ bike tour runs only a few times per year. Book today to secure your spot.

Lakeside Pedalling.

Towering heights and clear waters characterise this lovely tour.

3. Milford and Fiordland Hike, Bike and Kayak

Moving further south still, this multi-activity tour starts and ends in Queenstown and explores the Fiordland National Park  – the gateway to Milford Sound, Doubtful sound, some incredible hikes and simply stunning views. A guided tour with something for everyone, you'll begin by exploring the Queenstown surrounds on a nature-filled kayak ride on Lake Wakatipu from Glenorchy and then hop on the bike to ride some of the local trails. En route to Fiordland, you'll cycle tour the rural scenery of the Around the Mountains trail, before arriving at the enchanting and breathtakingly dramatic Milford Sound. You'll have the chance to hike part of the Kepler and Routeburn Tracks and spend a night on a floating hotel on Milford Sound itself. Gaze up at the deep starry skies, and when the sun rises marvel at the sheer rock faces, epic waterfalls, and all-round mind blowing panoramas of this natural wonderland.

Pedal around Te Anau and discover the hidden Mavora Lakes from the Lord Of The Rings trilogy. Experience a high country sheep station, and a unique boat transfer back to Queenstown across Lake Wakatipu on the TSS Earnslaw Steamer to end an excellent 5 days actively exploring some bucket list destinations. This tour has limited departures and visits some sought after locations, so booking early is best to avoid disappointment.

The tour is classified as moderate and it's recommended to get at least 4 hours of cycling and hiking under your belt each week for the 3 months leading up to the trip. You'll need to be comfortable walking for 3–4 hours on undulating paths and being on a bike for several hours. The kayaking is beginner level though so you do not need any previous experience prior to going on tour.

Stay on Milford Sound.

Go on a unique adventure tour of NZ.