Trip Type : Small Group Tour
Cycle New Zealand South Island tour

Cycle New Zealand South Island

Intrepid Travel Preferred
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
4.7 . Excellent
98%
Travel Style: You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level: Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level: Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
8 days
From: $ 2,550 $ 319 / day
Checking price

Overview

Highlights

  • Cycle the spectacular Otago Central Rail Trail, the oldest rail trail in New Zealand and voted 'New Zealand's Favourite Ride' for the past two years. 
  • Ring along flat, traffic-free paths aslongside some of the South Island's most stunning scenery.
  • Begin your journey in Queenstown, the adventure capital of New Zealand and arguably the world.
  • Experience firsthand the famous hospitality of New Zealanders on a trail built specifically to cater for cyclists.

Short Description

Is there a better country to cycle through than New Zealand? This is a land known for its natural beauty, welcoming people and delicious wine, and this cycling trip just happens to take in the best of it. Kick things off in Queenstown, the adventure capital of the country and perhaps the world, then cycle the famous Central Otago Rail Trail through small gold-mining towns like Alexandra, Omakau, Wedderburn and Hyde. Meander through the open plains with pristine rivers, enjoy some proper Southern hospitality at local taverns and rediscover the joy of pedalling through one of the most gorgeous areas in the entire country.

Small groups are usually defined as between 10 and 24 travelers, often less. If you're the kind of person who enjoys more intimate experiences and personal service this is a good choice. All else being equal you will pay a premium for this style vs a larger group tour.
Trip Type Small Group Tour
Spend most of the time outdoors. Common trip themes and activities include cycling, hiking, kayaking, whitewater rafting.
Itinerary Focus Active
Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Lodging Level Value - 3 star
Flights & Transport N/A
Start City Queenstown
End City Dunedin

Destinations

New Zealand

Cities & Attractions

Queenstown

Activities

N/A

N/A
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Itinerary

Day 1 Queenstown

Kia-ora! Welcome to Queenstown, New Zealand. Known as the country's adventure capital, there's simply no end to the line up of optional activities including bungee-jumping, mountain biking, kayaking, rafting, helicopter rides, jet boating and paragliding. There are also plenty of cafes, restaurants and bars to keep you entertained. This cycling trip kicks off with a welcome meeting at 6 pm then the the evening is free for you to do as you wish before settling into your accommodation for night. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where the welcome meeting will take place. If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.

Day 2 Roxburgh Gorge Trail/Clyde

Explore the area by bike and boat during today's adventure on the Roxburgh Gorge Trail, featuring some amazing cycling and a jet boat ride on the Clutha River from Doctors Point to Shingle Creek. The Gorge Trail is a tad more challenging than the Otago Rail Trail so prepare for a few climbs and descent, but any extra effort is well worth the scenery and views. The adventure starts in Clyde, an hour out of Queenstown, where you'll be fitted with your bike then transferred to the starting point at Roxburgh Hydro Dam. From here, the group will start cycling back to Clyde along the trail. Aside from the views, the area also has a rich goldmining history – Clyde was actually New Zealand's most populous town at the height of gold fever. Cycle 12 kilometres to Shingle Creek, where you'll be picked up by jet boat and transferred to Doctors Point, then continue a further 10 kilometres to arrive back in Clyde. 

Day 3 Otago Rail Trail - Clyde to Alexandra

Today you'll start riding on the spectacular Otago Central Rail Trail, which has been voted NZ's Favourite Ride for the past two years. The trail runs for 152 km in total and was originally used to transport supplies to and from the Gold Fields, then later to transport goods and livestock. It fell into disrepair but was refurbished into a rail trail in 2000, and is now – in our humble opinion – the best way to explore the area and contribute to the local economy. You'll begin the day in Clyde and cycle past vineyards, over an old wooden trestle bridge and along the Clutha River Centennial Track for a distance of 16 kilometres before arriving in Alexandra. The rest of the day is at your leisure – check out the gold rush-era town or perhaps visit one of the wineries in the surrounding area.

Day 4 Otago Rail Trail - Alexandra to Omakau

Enjoy breakfast in Alexandra then cycle toward Galloway Station, which was once a busy station but all that remains now is the ladies' waiting room. You'll stop here for morning tea, and your leader will brew a cup of tea to complement some old-fashioned home baking, before continuing to Chatto Creek Tavern for lunch. This historic stone building still serves as a pub and though Chatto Creek has a tiny, tiny population, visitors come from all over to check out the Best Country Hotel of 2013. After lunch, cycle up Tiger Hill then cruise downhill to your overnight acommodation in Omakau. The total cycling distance for the day is approximately 28 kilometres, and after arriving in town there's the option to visit the historic gold mining towns of St Bathan's and Ophir before an evening dinner at the Commercial Hotel. And don't worry, you'll take a bus to the mining towns, not your bike.

Day 5 Otago Rail Trail - Omakau to Wedderburn

Set off for a longer ride of 42 kilometres. The highlight of today's cycle is the beautiful Poolburn Gorge section of the trail featuring two tunnels and two viaducts. You'll then ride through the Ida Valley farmlands, pedalling past Idaburn Dam, one of New Zealand's few outdoor curling sites, and visiting the Hayes Historic Engineering Works before stopping at Oturehua Tavern for lunch. After lunch you'll continue north to the Golden Progress Mine and up to the highest point of trail before stopping for the night at Wedderbrun. Here, your leader will take you on a trip to Naseby so you can try your hand at curling and take a look around the old gold mining town. In the evening, enjoy a traditional, farm-style meal at the Weddernburn Tavern and rest those legs.

Day 6 Otago Rail Trail - Wedderburn to Hyde

Another long day today – 43 kilometres in total – though it's mostly downhill from Weddernburn to Ranfurly, Otago's Art Deco capital. Enjoy morning tea here, then cross the Manioto Plains towards the Waipiata Tavern for lunch. This is Lord of the Rings territory, and the flat plains give way to snow-capped mountains on the horizon. Continue after lunch and pedal alongside the Taieri River, the fourth-longest in New Zealand and one of today's highlights. Cross the historic Capburn Bridge and Price's Creek Viaduct on your way to Hyde, where you'll be picked up and transferred back to Waipiata for the evening. 

Day 7 Otago Rail Trail - Hyde to Middlemarch/Dunedin

Transfer back to Hyde for your final day on the trail. Today you'll cycle approximately 29 kilometres with stunning views of the Rock and Pillar Ranges. It's slightly downhill, and you'll stop at the Hyde Railway Disaster Memorial, which commemorates the fatal 1943 derailment of a passenger train. Enjoy a morning snack en route before experiencing what the trail was originally built for as you take the Taieri Gorge Tourist Train to Dunedin on the original Otago Central Railway (approximately 64 km). Arrive in Dunedin around 2.30 pm, where you'll overnight. This beautiful city is the second-largest on the South Island, and is a UNESCO City of Literature. It's home to the country's oldest university, the University of Otago, and students make up a relatively high percentage of the population. Perhaps enjoy a farewell dinner with your group and check out some of the city's lively bars. Transport back to Queenstown by bus can also be arranged if required.

Day 8 Dunedin

Your South Island adventure comes to an end today and there are no activities planned. That being said, Dunedin is a beautiful city and it's well worth either sticking around a little longer or heading back to Queenstown for a serious adrenaline fix.

Availability

Checking price
Price From $ 2,550
Price Per Day: $ 319 per day
Check Availability
Checking price
Start DateFinish DateBase PriceDeparture GuaranteedAvailability 
Dec-14-2019Dec-21-2019$ 2,550Yes15 spots left Reserve
Jan-18-2020Jan-25-2020$ 2,685Yes14 spots left Reserve
Feb-15-2020Feb-22-2020$ 2,685Yes16 spots left Reserve
Mar-21-2020Mar-28-2020$ 2,685Yes16 spots left Reserve
Apr-18-2020Apr-25-2020$ 2,685Yes16 spots left Reserve
Oct-17-2020Oct-24-2020$ 2,685Yes16 spots left Reserve
Nov-21-2020Nov-28-2020$ 2,685Yes16 spots left Reserve
Dec-12-2020Dec-19-2020$ 2,685Yes16 spots left Reserve

Ask Our Destination Experts

Clark Norton
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3,183 Intrepid Travel Travel Reviews & Ratings

98%
4.7 out of 5 (100+ reviews)
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Great 626
Average 101
Disappointing 38
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Value
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4.7
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4.7

Cycle New Zealand South Island

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Highly recommend intrepid

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Recently went on the USA western highlights trek, had the most amazing experience ever, well organised, our guides Jenn and Tyler were amazing, friendly & helpful, can’t wait to book another trip, highly recommend intrepid
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Amazing local knowledge!!

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At the airport in Chang Mai at the end of my tour with the amazing Gung. I can’t wait to travel Intrepid again! I was able to still be independent with just the addition of amazing local knowledge!! Gung you are family now xo I also made new friends that I think I will visit over the next couple of years. Thinking Africa on some back to back tours in a couple of years.
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Just finished a brilliant tour

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Just finished a brilliant food tour of Japan with Intrepid. It was extremely well organised, brillant from start to finish.Our Intrepid guide was very knowledgeable and really made our trip extra special. We are now looking at the next tour!
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Amazing beyond any expectation

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I've sadly just finished the Serengeti Trail. Words cannot describe how amazing this was. We had 13 awesome people in the group and the 3 crew - Benson, Kioko and Kennedy were amazing beyond any expectation. Everything was smooth, no hiccups, campsites and lodgings were fantastic. We saw 4 of the Big 5 and even experienced some things that the crew hadn't seen before. I've learnt so much and now enjoying some downtime in Zanzibar.
If I could suggest 1 thing, would be another electric fridge for our drinks, there is one for the meat. After drinking warm everything for 3 days, we were dying for a cold drink and you couldn't get ice.
Im glad the tour wasn't full too so we could spread out a bit on the truck.
If you are lucky enough to get our crew, you are in good hands.
Recommend single supplement for solo travelers, just makes it a little less awkward and more comfy
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Great first class

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Great first class professional staff - great local guides exceptional- the group sizes and mix perfect. We are traveling again soon with intrepid.
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What an amazing group, one big happy

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This was our 6th adventure with Intrepid and equally as brilliant as our previous 5.
A fantastic 17 day basic tour "Maya encounter".
What an amazing group, one big happy Intrepid family. Our tour leader Jason Atilano was a dream, a truly wonderful man who organised everything and made dreams come true, from arranging local transport, amazing and affordable restaurants, hidden adventures and even a tarantula visit in Tikal.
I love Intrepid tours, simply because they take you into the heart of the community and allow you to absorb the real atmosphere of these beautiful countries in a responsible way. They allow you to step out of your "comfort zones" should you so choose, but it's optional. A home stay with a local family was an absolute honor and a privilage. A night camping under the stars in rain Forrest was a definite highlight. Looking up at the Milky way and an early wake up alarm from the howler monkeys, not something you get to experience every
night.
This is why I always choose Intrepid, every new trip is another new and very memorable adventure. Just like life, you get out of it what you choose to put in.
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Details

Group Size:

Small Group - 24 max

Maximum Number of People in Group: 16

Accomodations

Hotel (7 nights)

Guides

All Intrepid cycling group trips are accompanied by one of our cycling leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders. Our cycling leaders are all passionate cyclists, as you’d expect, but they also go through some pretty rigorous cycle-trip specific training. Each one has undergone on-road training and supervision and knows how to do safety checks, basic repairs and emergency first-aid. And at the end of the day they’re still regular Intrepid leaders, which means they will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip. On this trip we have a single leader that rides with the group, and another that drives the support vehicle (acting as a back marker where needed) There may be times when a client is asked to be the back marker, ensuring no one else rides behind them, if the vehicle cannot travel directly behind the group. Your leader will discuss this at the initial group meeting.

Additional Information:

Finish point

  • 97 Moray Motel
  • 97 Moray Place
  • Dunedin
  • 9001
  • NEW ZEALAND

Trip ID#:

intrepid-POXC

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