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.View Day-by-Day ItineraryHide Day-by-Day Itinerary
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
HighlightsNelson Lakes National Park, Coastal views along the Tasman Sea, Paparoa National Park, ChristchurchKeep in Mind: We work hard to maintain consistency across all of our tours, but some trips have unique differences. Here are some things to keep in mind about this tour.
Includes7 days, 6 nights accommodation, 6 dinners, 7 lunches, & 6 breakfasts. Hybrid and road bike rentals available for an additional fee
Arrive/DepartChristchurch Int'l Airport (CHC)
Total Distance261 - 441 km (164 - 276 miles)
Daily Distance10 - 110 km (6 - 69 miles) at your option
TermsTerms & Conditions
Dates Price Private Room Charge Notes
* 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 private room charge. This charge will be collected at the time of the final payment. If a roommate assignment is available it will be refunded at the conclusion of the tour.
From the Road: New Zealand's South Island
New Zealand expatriate and ExperiencePlus! tour leader Annie Apgar offers her thoughts on this tour.
Joe Friel - Cycling past 50
This book contains a wealth of information for the over fifty rider who wants to take charge of the aging process and become a better cyclist at the same time.
ExperiencePlus! has contracted with national fitness expert Joe Friel to create customized, day by day, training programs to ensure you are ready for your biking tour.
- From the Road: New Zealand's South Island