New Zealand’s South Island—the 12th largest in the world—is home to 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.
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 www.vbt.com. They are available Monday-Friday from 8:30am to 6:30pm EST and Saturdays from 10:00am to 3:00pm EST.