This trip starts with the most beautiful ferry ride in the world - from Wellington across the Cook Strait into Malborough Sound to Picton on the South Island. We hop on our bikes - Wine country, sea, the fern trees provide shade.
These two weeks will go by quickly, but the time should be enough to make you a die-hard New Zealand fan. You'll long to come back, again and again, that's for sure!
|Start/Finish:||Wellington / Queenstown|
|Nearest airport:||Wellington / Queenstown|
|Duration:||17 days vacation, 15 riding days|
|Route:||mostly side and country roads with little traffic, as well as cycling paths, both paved and unpaved, a few single tracks and technically demanding sections|
|Accommodations:||13x accommodation in comfortable middle class hotels with private bathrooms
2x farm nights with shared bathrooms
1x boat overnight stay with private bathroom
|Rest day:||Middlehurst Station
|Highlights:||Wellington, New Zealand Alps, Mount Cook, Queenstown, Middlehurst Station, Hanmer Springs, Marlborough Wine Region, Von Valley|
|Minimum number of participants:||8
Please note paragraph 6.4. a) of our terms and conditions of travel to find out more about the cancellation of tour through Edelweiss Bike Travel when the minimum number of participants is not reached - Terms and Conditions
|DAY 1:||Arrival in Wellington
Your New Zealand adventure begins with our Welcome Briefing in the hotel at 4 pm where you can meet the group.
|DAY 2:||Wellington - Blenheim
We leave "Windy Welli" this morning with the Interislander Ferry, which takes us over the famous Cook Strait, into Queen Charlotte Sound to Picton on the South Island. The ferry takes a good 3 hours for the 96 km long sea route, which is considered one of the most beautiful in the world. At the end of the ferry trip the charming Picton is waiting for us. We are on the South Island! The Port Underwood Scenic Drive - what a track! It's a scenic road, above the sea with magnificent views of the bays along the way - Whatamango Bay, Robin Hood Bay, Cloudy Bay. The typical fern trees provide shade. Blenheim is our destination.
|DAY 3:||Blenheim - Middlehurst Station
Today we start with a short drive to the Awatere valley, surrounded by vineyards. The next 3 days we travel through the stunning back country wilderness of the Middlehurst Station, which at 180,787 hectares, is New Zealand’s biggest farm and supports the country’s largest herd of beef cattle, as well as almost 30 endemic plant species. Tonight’s farm stay shows us local living and working habits and gives us an insight into the local cuisine.
|DAY 4:||Middlehurst Station
We enjoy a day at Middlehurst Station which offers a range of activities on their vast farm property, including bike trails, farm tours, heli-hiking, fishing, hunting and four wheel driving. For those keen to continue cycling there will be the opportunity to ride further along the Molesworth Road and the Awatere Valley towards Isolated Saddle. At the end of our ride, we load up the bikes and return to Middlehurst Station for a second night.
|DAY 5:||Middlehurst Station - Hanmer Springs
After breakfast we say farewell to our hosts to ride the final section of the Molesworth Road, savouring the remoteness of the spectacular landscape around us. Flanked by mountain ranges the road follows the Acheron River to the historic Acheron House, which was built in 1863 as an overnight stopover in the early stock droving days. Here we reach the mighty Clarence River. A fast descent brings us into Hanmer Springs.
|DAY 6:||Hanmer Springs - Lake Tekapo
Today is mostly about transferring down the island but along the way we’ll enjoy refreshment breaks at two historic farming settlements as well as a delightful ride through iconic New Zealand South Island farming country. Our destination is Tekapo, a small township which faces north across the remarkable turquoise coloured lake of the same name to the mountainous drama of the Southern Alps.
|DAY 7:||Lake Tekapo - Aoraki
Today marks the start of our Alps to Ocean journey with a ride along the hydro canals to reach a high terrace overlooking Lake Pukaki and the surrounding mountains. The A2O then dips down to meet the lakeshore and across expansive tussock-land to reach Twizel. From here we drive to Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park.
|DAY 8:||Aoraki - Omarama
The stunning scenery keeps coming as we ride alongside the Pukaki and Ohau canals, then Lake Ohau where we stop for a delicious platter lunch including homemade lavosh and breads with local cheeses and house-smoked freshwater salmon from the nearby canals until we ride to our stop for the night, Omarama.
|DAY 9:||Omarama - Kurow
Today's drive takes us through the Waitaki Valley, known for its reservoirs and dams. The shores of Lake Benmore are inviting for a picnic. A wine tasting in Kurow, a short hike to the viewpoint over the Waitaki Valley and our elegant lodge are making the day to a perfect one.
|DAY 10:||Kurow - Oamaru
The cycle trail takes us along the banks of the Waitaki River, past vineyards and a Maori rock art site to reach the small town of Duntroon. From there, we head inland into rolling country and wander around the unique Elephant Rocks, huge formations strewn across a field. Picking up the old railway line, we’ll ride through Raki’s tunnel before rolling downhill to the settlement of Windsor. After riding through the town’s delightful municipal gardens, we’ll reach the Victorian Precinct and harbourside park where the A2O finish-line sign offers the perfect photo-op.
|DAY 11:||Oamaru - Clyde
It's time to ride the best section of New Zealand's original bike trail, the Otago Rail Trail - now over 20 years old, but the scenery and hospitality are still outstanding. A transfer takes us inland to Central Otago. We start at the highest point of the trail in Wedderburn. Rugged mountains, crystal clear rivers, deep gorges, the Poolburn Viaduct and the Manuherikia Bridge are just a few highlights along the way. Our destination is Clyde, an old gold mining town surrounded by vineyards.
Restday – yes, we deserve it! Today is an opportunity to rest and relax and enjoy some time away from your bike or optionally there are many additional riding opportunities which are in easy access to your accommodation.
|DAY 13:||Clyde - Te Anau
After the oldest we take the newest of New Zealand`s cycling trails - The Lake Dunstan Trail, opened in 2021. A spectacular ride takes you along the Clutha River, the Kawarau River and the shores of Lake Dunstan. At the end of the ride we switch from Central Otago to Fiordland - a scenic ride through the Kawerau Gorge - to Te Anau, the gateway to the glacier-carved wilderness of Fiordland National Park.
|DAY 14:||Te Anau - Doubtful Sound Cruise
Today it will be exciting! A jet boat takes us down the Waiau River to Lake Manapouri. Spectacular view, few tourists - pure New Zealand! Here are the film locations for the Lord of the Rings. We take a cruise on Lake Manapouri and meet the "Navigator", a luxurious boat that will be our hotel for the night.
|DAY 15:||Doubtful Sound Cruise - Te Anau
Waking up on a boat in the middle of the fjord land is really something very special After a great breakfast on board and another trip through the fjord we return to Manapouri, where we arrive around noon. This afternoon we have a choice of biking or hiking. We can ride the Lake to Lake Trail from Lake Manapouri back to Lake Te Anau or hike part of the Kepler Track, one of New Zealand's Great Walks.
|DAY 16:||Te Anau - Queenstown
The shuttle brings us to hidden Mavora Lakes, another site of scenes from Lord of the Rings. There is a real sense of isolation and the huge mountain and tussock landscape is vast. Trough Von Valley along the Von River we reach Walter Peak Station at the shore of Wakatipu Lake. Have you ever heard of the TSS Earnslaw Steamer, „The old Lady“ of Lake Wakatipu? We board the Steamer and reach Queenstown at the other side of the Lake.
|DAY 17:||Departure from Queenstown
After one last breakfast together, we take our flights home.