Cycle New Zealand South Island

Cycle New Zealand South Island

From $ 3,195 AUD


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.

Trip Name
Cycle New Zealand South Island
Last Updated
  • Cycle the spectacular Otago Central Rail Trail, the oldest rail trail in New Zealand and voted 'NZ's Favourite Ride' for last two years in a row.
  • Ride along flat and completely traffic free paths alongside some of the most stunning scenery in the South Island
  • Start your cycling adventure Queenstown, the 'Adventure Capital of the World'
  • Experience the friendliness of New Zealanders first hand on a trail built specifically to cater for cyclists


Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Essential Trip Information a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff. We are here to help you! Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary from time to time. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES: A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are approximate and are for entrance only and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.

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 youur 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.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
23-03-201930-03-2019AUD $ 3,195-
13-04-201920-04-2019AUD $ 4,120-
26-10-201902-11-2019AUD $ 3,195-
23-11-201930-11-2019AUD $ 3,195-
14-12-201921-12-2019AUD $ 3,195-


Hotel (7 nights)