Top 5 Reasons to Take a Biking Tour of New Zealand with VBT

New Zealand scenic
New Zealand’s South Island—the 12th largest in the world—is home breathtaking yet different landscapes ranging from the Canterbury Plains to a coastal rainforest to the jagged peaks of the Southern Alps. One might find themselves visiting a glacier and then swimming with dolphins in the coastal waters less than an hour later. Given this amazing topography, it’s not surprising that some of Hollywood’s biggest fantasy movies—including the Lord of the Rings and Chronicles of Narnia trilogies—have been filmed here. Of course with VBT, we’ll also introduce you to friendly locals—aka “kiwis”—arrange for stays in beautiful wilderness lodges, and facilitate tastings of the country’s best wine. If you still need more convincing, check out our top 5 reasons to take a biking tour of New Zealand with VBT…

One of the World’s Most Scenic Train Rides

Zip through scenic valleys below the dramatic peaks of the Southern Alps on the TranzAlpine Express. Our train ride at the beginning of the tour takes us from Christchurch to Arthur’s Pass via a journey that passes through the Canterbury Plains and traverses gorges and river valleys while offering stunning views of the snow-capped peaks of the Southern Alps.

Cycle and Stay in a Coastal Rainforest
On Day 8 we depart from the Fox Glacier down towards the coast where we’ll pedal through native New Zealand rain forest along the Tasman Sea. After lunch at a local salmon farm, we’ll continue biking to our hotel for the next 2 nights, the Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki. Owned by local ecologists and surrounded by a thriving 1,000-year-old rain forest and pristine seacoast, the lodge is perfectly situated for outdoor exploration and activity.

Our tour concludes with one night in Queenstown—or 2 extra nights on our Post-trip extension—a scenic resort town located on the shore of Lake Wakatipu with stunning views of a mountain range aptly named, the Remarkables. During your stay, enjoy opportunities to go bungee jumping, parasailing, hiking, rafting, jet boating and more.

Otago Winery
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One of our favorite bike rides on this tour is the morning we cycle along the country’s second longest river, the Clutha, to the historic town of Cromwell. Here, we’ll hop off our bikes and enjoy a picnic lunch and wine tasting in the lush garden of a local winery. The Central Otago region is renowned for its world-class Pinot Noir wines but we’ll also find Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling here.

Westland National Park
Westland National Park covers an expanse of towering mountains and glaciers, dramatic waterfalls and icy, gray-blue rivers that tumble down to the Tasman Sea. VBT travelers will enjoy lovely rides through this beautiful forest, an optional hike up to the Franz Josef Glacier, and perhaps a kayak in the Okarito Lagoon—a rich wildlife haven noted for its unspoiled beaches—that borders the northwestern edge of the park.

These are just a sample of the fabulous features of our New Zealand: The South Island ​biking tour. Of course, if walking is more your speed, we’ve got you covered on our Walking New Zealand: Splendor of the South Island​ vacation. If you would like to reserve a vacation or speak with one of our Tour Consultants, please call 800-245-3868 or visit They are available Monday-Friday from 8:30am to 6:30pm EST and Saturdays from 10:00am to 3:00pm EST.

Top 5 Reasons to Take a Walking Tour of China with VBT

Guilin-Li River 3
China is an exciting and beautiful country steeped in tradition, history and culture. Travelers on our new Walking China: Footpaths to Shangri-La vacation will visit some of the country’s best attractions and learn about local life first-hand during this new tour that explores everything from the bustling streets of Shanghai to the beautiful tranquility of the Yunnan province.  Travelers who opt for our pre-trip extension in Beijing will also get a chance to walk along the Great Wall of China. Learn more by checking out our top 5 reasons why you should take a walking tour of China with VBT.

Learn about Chinese Culture First-hand
Lijiang Ancient Town with Naxi People
As with all VBT tours, we make a point to facilitate interactions with the locals as much as possible. On this vacation you’ll have many memorable encounters including chatting with local farmers during a walk along the Yulong River, visiting young students at a school in Wenhai, and discovering the centuries-old secrets of making Nixi’s distinctive black clay pottery during a demonstration with a local family in their home.

Walk to the Breathtaking Tiger Leaping Gorge
Lijiang Tiger Leaping Gorge 2
Fewer than 100 miles from its source high in the Himalayas, we’ll take an invigorating walk on Day 8 along the Jinsha River—a main tributary of the Yangtze—to the stunning Tiger Leaping Gorge, one of the deepest river canyons in the world. Along the way our local Trip Leaders will fill us in on the story behind the canyon’s name as we admire the Jinsha’s jade-green waters.

Chinese Cooking Class
Yangshuo Cooking School

In addition to enjoying many authentic meals at local restaurants during our tour, we’ll learn how to prepare flavorful dishes during an included lesson at the Yangshuo Cooking School on Day 4.  Under the guidance of a local chef, we’ll prepare our own lunch full of several delightful dishes—including steamed stuffed vegetables and a traditional Chinese stir fry—made with just a few simple, fresh ingredients and a wok.

Visit Majestic Buddhist Temples
Shangri-la Songzanlin monastery 1
We’ll have the opportunity to visit a few Buddhist temples during our vacation but perhaps the highlight is our visit to the Songstam Monastery in Shangri-La on Day 9. This temple is one of the largest monasteries east of the Tibetan capital of Lhasa and is home to more than 500 monks. Once we arrive, you may explore the complex on your own or join one of our Trip Leaders to learn more about the history and culture of Buddhism.

Shanghai Skyline

The tour concludes in literally the largest city—by population—in the world, Shanghai. During our stay we’ll spend a morning on a walking tour down the famed Nanjing Road, a bustling pedestrian street with many shopping opportunities.  We’ll continue our walk along the Bund waterfront and slowly make our way to the city’s famous Yuyuan Garden. You’ll also have ample time to discover more of Shanghai on your own if you opt for the post-trip extension.

These are just some examples of the wonders you’ll discover on our new Walking China: Footpaths to Shangri-La vacation. If you would like to reserve a vacation or speak with one of our Tour Consultants, please call 800-245-3868 or visit They are available Monday-Friday from 8:30am to 6:30pm EST and Saturdays from 10:00am to 3:00pm EST.

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