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Experience Plus - Bicycle Tours since 1972
South Island Nelson Lakes Tour (TourzPlus™)
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Bicycle Tours in New Zealand: South Island Nelson Lakes Tour (TourzPlus™)

We start with a magical ride around the Marlborough Sounds coastline, to Nelson Lakes National Park, and then it's down spectacular Buller Gorge to the wild West Coast. See Pancake Rocks and the blowholes at Paparoa National Park.

Learn more about our TourzPlus™ partner tours and how they differ from regular ExperiencePlus! bicycle tours.

Day 1: Meet in Picton

Highlights: Introductions, bike fitting

Our South Island adventure starts at Picton, a picturesque fishing town at the northern tip of the South Island. It is a small town (pop.2,600) nestling under bushclad hills of Queen Charlotte Sound, named by Captain Cook in 1770.

Day 2: Picton to Nelson

Highlights: Mahau Sound views, bush reserve, beaches

We climb out of Picton along a delightful, twisty little road to Mahau Sound and the sleepy town of Havelock, from where the mail boat leaves. There is an attractive bush reserve at Pelorus Bridge. Through Rai Valley and over the climbs of Rai Saddle and Whangamoa Saddle we descend to the cathedral city of Nelson (pop 43,000), New Zealand's sunniest city with its neighbouring orchards and sandy beaches.

Bicycling Options:

Picton to Havelock: 35km / 22 mi

Picton to Pelorus Bridge: 56km / 35 mi

Picton to Nelson: 110km /69 mi

Day 3: Nelson to St. Arnaud

Highlights: Orchard and vineyard views, Lake Rotoiti

We cycle up the Motueka Valley, a delightful quiet road that passes apple orchards, berry farms and wineries before reaching open sheep country. Through Golden Downs forest we continue to climb to St. Arnaud, set in beech forest by beautiful Lake Rotoiti.

Bicycling Options:

Motueka to Kohatu: 52 km / 33 mi.

Motueka to Golden Downs: 56km/ 35 mi

Motueka to St Arnaud: 97 km/ 61 mi

Day 4: St. Arnaud to Murchison

Highlights: Beech forest tour, Buller River views

We take a short walk in the beech forest by the lake before starting the day's ride. From St. Arnaud we follow the Buller River downhill through sheep farming country to Murchison. Once a goldmining town, it is best known for the devastating 1929 earthquake.

Bicycling Options:

St Arnaud to Murchison: 63 km / 39 mi (downhill)

Day 5: Murchison to Westport

Highlights: Optional rafting, seals and flightless weka birds on the coast

There is the option (at extra cost) to raft down the impressive Buller Gorge to Lyell for lunch, or cycle the road which follows the river. We then continue down hill to the attractive old pub at Berlins, before heading for the sea and Westport. The sparsely populated West Coast is relatively isolated being cut off by the Southern Alps. Before dinner at Cape Foulwind there will be an opportunity to see seals and cheeky black wekas (flightless native birds).

Bicycling Options:

Murchison to Berlins: 64 km / 40 mi.

Murchison to Westport: 97 km / 61 mi.

Day 6: Westport to Punakaiki

Highlights: Optional caving or rafting, coastal views, Pancake Rocks

At Charlston you may wish to go caving or rafting. The rolling coastal road offers many spectacular views and delightful sandy coves. At Punakaiki we explore the fascinating Pancake Rocks and watch the sea surge through blow holes.

Bicycling Options:

Westport to Charleston: 26 km / 16 mi.

Westport to Punakaiki: 57 km / 36 mi.

Day 7: Punakaiki to Christchurch

Highlights: Paparoa National Park, kayaking, dolphins and seals

The morning is free to spend at your leisure; options include swimming with dolphins and seals, kayaking, walks in Paparoa National Park, or simply relaxing in the beautiful surroundings. In the afternoon we will drive you over Arthur's Pass to Christchurch where the tour ends. We wish you a safe journey home and hope to see you again one day.
  • Highlights
    Nelson Lakes National Park, Coastal views along the Tasman Sea, Paparoa National Park, Christchurch
  • Includes
    Use of a quality 27-speed bicycle, 7 days, 6 nights accommodation, 6 dinners, 7 lunches, & 6 breakfasts
  • Countries
    New Zealand
  • Begin/End
  • Arrive/Depart
    Christchurch Int'l Airport (CHC)
  • Total Distance
    261 - 441 km (164 - 276 miles)
  • Daily Distance
    10 - 110 km (6 - 69 miles) at your option
  • What to Expect
    Some long days with shuttle options for those who want shorter or intermediate mileage.
  • Rating
  • Notes
  • Terms
Dates Price Single
Nov 29 - Dec 05, 2014 NZ$3380 NZ$595 Book It
Jan 06 - 12, 2015 NZ$3380 NZ$595 Book It
Feb 23 - Mar 01, 2015 NZ$3380 NZ$595 Book It
*We are happy to match solo travelers who would like to share a room with someone of the same gender. If no match exists, due to hotel pricing, we will charge 50% of the single supplement rate. This fee will be collected at the time of the final payment. If a roommate assignment is available this fee will be refunded at the conclusion of the tour.

Click on the "pins" for details about each day's highlights.

Map Key

Green pinStart
Yellow pinCity (on route)
Red pinEnd
Other city dotCity (not part of route, provided for reference)

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