South Island Southern Alps 10 Day Inn Trip (TourzPlus™)
New Zealand was among the last places on earth to be settled by humans, and today it retains a pristine beauty hard to find anywhere else. This tour takes place on the South Island where you'll see everything from alpine peaks with wide glacial valleys to lush green pastures and isolated beaches. This is where the beautiful landscapes in Lord of the Rings were filmed. Add friendly Kiwi hospitality, some flare from the Wild West's gold mining days, and European style cuisine - and you've got a great tour.
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: Arrive in Christchurch
Highlights: Cathedral Square, trip orientation.
Arrive in Christchurch. Orientation, fitting bikes and then take a short cycle ride to stretch our legs. Both lunch and dinner are included.
Day 2: Christchurch to Arthur's Pass National Park
Highlights: Arthur's Pass National Park
The minibus takes us through the suburbs and across the Canterbury Plains to the Torlesse Range and Porters Pass (929m). At the top of the pass we unload the bikes to enjoy an exhilarating descent to Lake Lyndon. The terrain is rolling as we pass Lakes Pearson, Grasmere and Sarah on our way to the Waimakariri River and the gentle climb through dense beech forest to Arthur's Pass National Park.
Porter's Pass to Arthur's Pass: 51km / 32 miles.
Springfield to Arthur's Pass: 68km / 42.5 miles.
Day 3: Arthur's Pass to Hokitika
Highlights: Devil's Punch Bowl waterfall, beaches at Hokitika.
Take a walk this morning to Devil's Punch Bowl, carved by a 430-foot waterfall, before beginning your ride down the west slope of New Zealand's "Southern Alps." We'll be at the beach in Hokitika this evening, where you can enjoy a walk along the ocean at sunset. Lunch and dinner are together. Bicycling Options:
Wilderness Lodge to Jackson's 50km / 31 miles.
Wilderness Lodge to Kumara: 89km / 56 miles.
Arthur's Pass to Hokitika: 119km / 74 miles.
Day 4: Hokitika to Franz Josef
Highlights: Jade carvers, gold mining town, Franz Josef Glacier.
Hokitika is known for greenstone (jade) which is collected from local river beds and can be seen worked in a shop factory. Crossing the Hokitika River we head south through native bush of rimu and kahikatea (white pine). The country is rolling with one climb after the town of Harihari and a final flat run from Whataroa. Entering Westland National Park as we pass beautiful Lake Mapourika, we have superb views of snow-capped peaks.
Mt Hercules to Franz Josef: 51km / 32 miles.
Lake Ianthe to Franz Josef: 80km / 50 miles.
Hokitika to Franz Josef: 135km / 84.4 miles.
Day 5: Rest Day in Franz Josef
Highlights: Franz Josef Glacier hike, Southern Alps
The Southern Alps dominate the village of Franz Josef and we'll take a day to explore these spectacular mountains and the Franz Josef glacier flowing out of them. We'll lead a hike but you are free to take an optional scenic flight that lands on the top of the glacier if you wish. Distance: Optional rides are available for those who prefer to pedal.
Day 6: Franz Joseph to Lake Moeraki
Highlights: Lake Moeraki, ride through rainforest
We pedal south through lush rain forests to the Lake Moeraki Wilderness Lodge today. You'll enjoy riding along park-like roads through towering trees and native forests of rimu and rata. It's a long ride today, but you can opt to shuttle if you prefer. Dinner together this evening. Bicycling Options:
Bruce Bay to Lake Moeraki: 43 km / 27 mi.
Fox Glacier to Lake Moeraki: 89 km / 56 mi
Franz Josef to Lake Moeraki: 114 km / 71 mi
Day 7: Lake Moeraki to Makarora
Highlights: Tasman Sea views, the Gates of Haast and the Haast River Valley.
Knight's Point affords excellent views of the rugged coastine along the Tasman Sea, where seals can often be seen basking in the sun. We shuttle up the Haast River valley this morning and pedal or shuttle cross the Southern Alps. Your reward is an hour's downhill ride through a landscape that changes from rainforest to pasture land and open beech forest. Tonight we'll be in Makarora. Lunch and dinner together.
Haast to Pleasant Flat: 49 km / 31 mi.
Lake Moeraki to Pleasant Flat 78 km / 49 mi
Lake Moeraki to Makarora: 112 km / 70 mi
Day 8: Makarora to Wanaka
Highlights: Lakes Wanaka and Hawea views
The views along Lakes Wanaka and Hawea make today's ride one of our most beautiful. The road closely follows Lake Wanaka, crosses the Neck to Lake Hawea and then recrosses to Lake Wanaka. Our day ends in the town of Wanaka, at the south end of the lake. Picnic lunch together, dinner on your own.
Makarora to Hawea: 50 km / 30 mi.
Makarora to Wanaka: 66km / 41 mi.
Day 9: Wanaka to Queenstown
Highlights: Historic gold mining town, Kawarau River Bridge bungee jumping/viewing
Pedal the long way or shuttle part of today's route through the historic gold mining town of Arrowtown and into Queenstown. Stop at the historic Kawarau River Bridge and try bungee jumping today if you dare! We enjoy a special, final dinner together this evening.
Wanaka to Cardrona Hotel: 27 km / 17 mi.
Wanaka to Queenstown via Crown Range: 78 km / 49 mi.
Day 10: Tour ends in Queenstown
Our tour ends after breakfast today, but if you can, you'll want to stay on for a few days in Queenstown, gateway to the south island's spectacular Fjordland. If work calls, you can connect directly out of Queenstown for same-day flights back to the U.S. Whatever you do, have a great trip!
HighlightsDevil's Punchbowl Waterfall, Franz Josef Glacier, Mt. Aspiring National Park, Otira GorgeKeep 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.
Includes10 days, 9 nights accommodation, 7 dinners, 6 lunches, 9 breakfasts, van shuttle available daily, hybrid and road bike rentals available for an additional fee
Arrive/DepartChristchurch Int'l Airport (CHC) /Queenstown Airport (ZQN)
Total Distance348 - 644 km (217 - 400 miles)
Daily Distance27 - 119 km (17 - 74 miles)
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