New Zealand's Southern Lakes & Passes (Trip 2)

Enquire Now Book Now

Wanaka Food & Wine Festival, Fiordland and Queenstown

19 - 31 March 2021 (13 Days / 12 Nights) | Sold Out

New Zealand's Southern region is without doubt spectacular. And, COVID gives us the unique chance to ride roads that are normally filled with campervans and tourist buses. Every cloud offers a silver lining and this opportunity is one that we plan to take advantage of.

We will ride mainly asphalt roads however on occasion we venture on to the gravel when the scenery demands it. (if dirt roads aren't your thing then we will always have a plan B concrete option) A road bike or cross bike is recommended we would recommend 2 sets of tyres. Slicks for when we are 100% on the road and a hybrid tyre for when we're combining gravel and asphalt. No mountain bikes required….

There will be many highlights. One will be the inaugural Wine and Food Festival - Ripe which is being held in Wanaka on day 3. Otherwise - staying in Milford Sound at the lodge is something that I am very much looking forward to.

Normal Ride Holidays conditions apply. The very best hotels. Fully supported for both cyclists and Team Mac - (non-riders). Choice of 3 rides most days - cappuccino 50km, latte 70-80km and espresso - 100km plus.

More importantly - we eat and drink at the best restaurants, wineries and cafes. This could quite possibly be the only time we have this amazing scenery to ourselves. Let's make the most of it.

New Zealand's Southern Lakes (Trip 2) | Tour Details

Tour Inclusions & Highlights

  • 3 nights Queenstown, Wanaka and Fiordland
  • Danseys and Lindis Passes
  • Ride the Crown Range, lunch at the Cardrona Hotel
  • Cruise Lake Wanaka - Trout anyone? Cruise Milford Sound
  • 4 star plus accommodation where possible
  • Airport transfers for those arriving, departing 19/31 March
  • All breakfasts, 6 lunches, 8 dinners and some cycling snacks
  • Sightseeing as per itinerary - hot tubs etc etc
  • Hand-picked cafes and restaurants
  • This trip is designed around 25 cyclists, 5 Team Mac and 6-7 staff
  • Multiple ride options for varying abilities
  • RIDE Holidays cycle jersey and souvenir tour booklet
  • GPS routes available for upload to personal devices
  • Team Macchiato will have a separate itinerary to the cyclists

    The Tour Price Excludes

    • Airfares and extra accommodation
    • Meals not indicated in the itinerary
    • Alcoholic beverages
    • Travel insurance
    • Sports bars, gels etc. We will supply bananas, electrolyte powder etc

    The Tour Cost

    • 13 days / 12 nights NZD$5950.00 per person (this includes lake view rooms while in Wanaka)
    • NZD $1250.00 extra for your own room
    • I can offer a $250.00 discount if you are happy sharing a 2-bedroom apartment while in Queenstown and don't want a room with a view in Wanaka. (Please let me know at time of booking)


    Bike Hire - Please contact Karl.

    There is a limited deposit of $750 to be paid on this tour. We will monitor the coronavirus situation and keep you posted if things change. We are happy for you to book flights. Balance is due 60 days prior to departure. Australians are welcome to book and won't be charged deposits until the NZ,OZ bubble is confirmed.

      Click on the map to view a larger version

      Queenstown 2021 Cycle Tour Itinerary

      Day 1 - Friday 19 March

      Arrive Queenstown

      We suggest you arrive mid to late morning if you can. That allows us plenty of time to put the bikes together and head out for a short spin this afternoon. Our Queenstown hotel is centrally located. We will arrange transfers closer to the time.

      Team Macchiato head off to Arrowtown for a coffee or wine? Cyclists will see you there. We'll have the support vehicles close by to catch up with those first day mechanicals. Today's ride is only 30km. We'll build things up slowly as the tour goes on.

      Tonight, we've picked one of Queenstown best restaurants - it's important we start appropriately. We introduce the team and run through the plan for the next couple of weeks.

      / Accommodation - Peppers Beacon
      / Meals - Welcome dinner

      Ps, we are happy to arrange accommodation for those wanting to arrive in Queenstown early.

      Day 2 - Saturday 20 March

      Crown Range

      After breakfast we throw the luggage in the vans (bike bags stay in Queenstown) and hop on our bikes. The Crown Range ride is one of New Zealand's best and is always included in the Tour of Southland. For us - it won't be a race!! There is no rush. Just as well - it's lumpy in this part of the world.

      This trip has been designed around riding from hotel to hotel as much as possible. We will always have support on hand for those not wanting to ride the whole way. Today's ride is only 70km from door to door however we anticipate that a few of you may conclude todays proceedings at the Cardrona Hotel. Rumoured to be the most photographed building in New Zealand, the historic facade hides an award-winning restaurant, legendary beer second-to-none. It is also our lunch spot for today.

      Team Macchiato… Thanks to Sharon Butler I've learnt that gardens have a star rating similar to hotels etc. Who would have thought!! And, there are especially beautiful flowers at the 5 star Birchwood. So, Birchawood we will go. Designed by landscape architect Paul Bangay, and it is an excellent example of his signature style. However what makes it so interesting is its unique response to the surrounding landscape and views of Coronet Peak, The Remarkables, Cecil Peak and Cardrona, which were taken into consideration in the design process, and where close attention to detail has created a stunning environment using limited planting. We will then catch up with you in Wanaka.

      Wanaka is paradise and it's our home for the next 3 nights. We've picked a hotel that offers lake front views. Our restaurant tonight has been handpicked by a couple of local friends of mine. After the Crown Range (or Cardrona Hotel) you will be hungry.

      / Accommodation - Wanaka
      / Meals - Breakfast and dinner (lunch own arrangements at the pub)

      Day 3 - Sunday 21 March

      Ripe - Wine and Food Festival

      After a leisurely breakfast we ride lake front up towards Mount Aspiring National Park. Those that don't mind a bit of gravel can cover approx. 70km prior to lunch and that includes Treble Cone ski field. For cyclists less at home on gravel roads we'll turn around when the concrete runs out and head back to Wanaka for a coffee and cake.

      The rest of the day is all about the local produce this region has to offer. Central Otago's acclaimed wine and food will take centre stage in Wānaka next year with the launch of Ripe, a new festival for the region. And, Ride Holidays will be there.

      We'll sort out the plan closer to the day as there's a lot of entertainment that you can opt in or out of including the likes of Nadia Lim, Jordan Luck etc. Worse case - you can simply relax, taste and eat. We'll be there to pick up the pieces and take you safely home afterwards.


      / Accommodation - Wanaka
      / Meals - Breakfast (lunch and dinner own arrangements at the festival)

      Day 4 - Monday 22 March

      Le Neck...

      Today we explore the narrow peninsular that sits between Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea. The plan is to ride in the morning so we can spend some time in town this afternoon. The ride is actually an out and back so you can choose to turn around when you've had enough. We start by riding towards Albert Town and we stop for coffee at Mo's. World famous in this part of the world.

      It's then a lake edge ride until we get to the Neck which is a short 600m gap between Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea. There's an amazing lookout which would be the perfect team photo opportunity. It's here that we'll have freshly made sandwiches waiting.

      After lunch we cruise back to Wanaka although there will be more miles for those feeling frisky. It's our advice to rest up though as tomorrow is a big day.

      Team Mac - we suggest you join us today although we thought you could start with some retail therapy and then catch us up for our picnic lunch. Like most days we will also have a walk planned. (it's only fair that you feel as tired as the cyclist's come happy hour time)

      All in all - a fantastic day on bikes exploring a beautiful region. Maximum mileage is 100km (ish) and we'll work backwards from there for latte and cappo.

      But wait - there's more. Sundowners anyone? Yup, we've hired our own launch. Bring your togs as we cruise the lake for the perfect BBQ spot. What a choice day.

      / Accommodation - Wanaka
      / Meals - Breakfast, lunch and dinner

      Ps, while we are in Wanaka we will organise sports massages at our hotel.

      Day 5 - Tuesday 23 March

      Lindis Pass and Tarras pies..

      All good things come to an end as we say goodbye to our Wanaka home. Today we kick off the road trip portion of our holiday which sees us ride the Lindis and Danseys passes. Before we start to travel south to Fiordland.

      Today's adventure is exactly 114km from hotel to hotel via a country café in Tarras and more importantly the dramatic Lindis Pass. Which links the Mackenzie Basin with Central Otago. The actual pass crosses a saddle between the valleys of the Lindis and Ahuriri Rivers at an altitude of 971 metres above sea level. For many months of the year, you can expect to see snow in this mountainous area - often down to the roadside - hmm, we should be pretty safe in February.

      I did laugh when I started to research this route on google. The terrain was listed as generally flat. Hmm, are you sure? Upon further research I can say with confidence that it is a slight false flat. (approx. 1200VM)

      Team Mac - the Lindis usually attracts thousands and thousands of tourists every year. As do the Tarras pies. So, we see your day as being fairly similar to the cyclists. Please be assured that RH is not one of those companies where the non-riders simply follow the cyclists in a van watching legs bop up and down. We'll talk to you each night with a suggested plan although we are more than happy listening to your suggestions. Our thought was that you could visit the Wanaka Lavender Farm before catching up with us. Enjoy a breathtaking walk lavender fields, meet the resident animals, try treats at the cafe and take home a little lavender for yourself from the gift shop! Apparently they sell fudge… just saying!!

      Tonight, we've booked the world famous Omarama hot tubs. Bring your togs!!

      / Accommodation - Omarama (is known for its trout fishing… just saying!!)
      / Meals included - Breakfast, lunch and dinner

      Day 6 - Wednesday 24 March

      Danseys Pass

      Personally - I think today will be a highlight. Danseys has to be one of the most scenic places I've seen in NZ. Can't wait to get back there. Named after William Heywood Dansey, a North Otago run holder who used the route to move stock, Danseys Pass links Central Otago to the Waitaki District. The unsealed alpine narrow road offers a spectacular vista. Winding through and over the Kakanui mountain range its highest point is 920m above sea level.

      During 1861 the prospector Leggatt found gold at the Upper Kyeburn, and in July 1863 a rush at Mount Buster took place about eight miles from Rayburn Diggings. There was once a thriving community at Kyeburn Diggings, the Mount Ida Chronicle of 1870 lists business places at Kyeburn Diggings as three hotels, three stores, one butchery and one bakery. The district was also accused of having six unlicensed grog shanties. Cheers to you!!

      Team Mac - while we are riding you take a short drive north to Aoraki/Mount Cook where there are 10 short walks to choose from. If you feel like doing a scenic flight, then that can be arranged. After lunch you make your way towards us - offering encouragement as you pass cyclists dressed in pink and blue lycra.

      Our accommodation for the night is the only building that's stood the test of time. Originally named the Pass Hotel (now the Danseys Pass Coach Inn) was built in 1862, with the original stonework constructed by a mason known as "Happy Bill". Bill's remuneration was in beer, and he received one pint for every schist boulder shaped and laid. Legend has it that after a particularly busy day the blithe craftsman fell into an open grave at the cemetery and slept the night away.

      / Accommodation - Danseys Pass
      / Meals included - Breakfast, lunch and dinner

      Day 7 - Thursday 25 March

      Otago Rail Trail vs the road (your choice)

      Tomorrow is our first day off the bike so don't be scared to give it your all today. We start our day with a good feed of locally raised bacon and eggs before riding the last 10km of Danseys through to Naseby. Let's stock up on coffee before we start to head south. Tonight, we're staying in Alexandra which is a further 80km down the road.

      The other option for those comfortable on the dirt (very gentle) is to include a section of the Otago Rail Trail although I'm very aware that many of you have done this already. The ORT wasn't a highlight we set out to include however the simple facts are that there's a trail heading in exactly the same direction as we're going. So, totally your choice. We will offer both.

      Team Mac - we're flexible for today. We thought you may enjoy one of the local vineyards or even join us for a section of the rail trail via e-bikes. Let's talk this through while on tour.

      Tonight, I'll be having beer. Oh, and the pizza. That's because the Ferris Road Brewery serves only beer.. and only pizza. Life is simple. You are very welcome to join me or you can do your own thing.

      / Accommodation - Alexandra
      / Meals included - Breakfast and lunch (dinner own arrangements)

      Day 8 - Friday 26 March

      Fiordland National Park

      Today is purely a transfer day although there's nothing to stop you venturing out for a short coffee ride early this morning. It's the only large drive of the trip at a shade over 350km. (In France on occasion we've done 600km plus so I guess 350 isn't that bad)

      At time of writing the golden plan was to spend the evening on a boat exploring the staggering beauty of Milford Sound. Also known by its Māori name, Piopiotahi, this mighty South Island fiord formed by ancient glacial movement is one of New Zealand's most treasured natural landmarks.

      Milford Sound is located within Fiordland National Park, an area that has held UNESCO World Heritage status since 1986. The pristine environment provides a perfect habitat for birdlife and a safe haven for dolphins, fur seals and endangered penguins.

      With an average yearly rainfall of 7000mm (7 metres) , Milford Sound is one of the wettest inhabited places on earth and one of the best places to experience the power of nature. Exceptional rainfall produces Milford's famous waterfalls as well as its unique underwater ecosystem where sea and fresh water meet.

      / Accommodation - Milford Sound Lodge
      / Meals included - Breakfast, lunch and dinner (cruise)

      Day 9 - Saturday 27 March

      Fiordland riding...

      The picturesque township of Te Anau is the main visitor base for the glacier-carved wilderness that is the UNESCO Fiordland National Park and our home for the next 2 nights.

      Our actual ride from Milford doesn't start until 3pmish. That gives all the domestic traffic the chance to get off the road. Keep in mind that it doesn't get dark until after 11pm. So, you have the entire morning to spend in Milford Sound. There are numerous walks to choose from.

      Ok, here are the choices for cyclists.

      1, Ride from Milford Sound to the Hommer Tunnel. This involves 20km of pretty much climbing. You gain almost 1000VM so it's certainly not flat. Our vehicles would then take you through the tunnel and you can then carry on all the way to Te Anau. Total ride - 122km

      2, and possibly the sensible option…. We will drive you and your bikes to the other side of the tunnel where you can start peddling. It's just under 100km to our hotel and about 600VM so not that bad.

      3, we'll drop you off even further up the road. Would 60km be a nice distance?

      Basically - there will be something for everyone. From 60 - 122km. You choose and we will deliver. Team Mac - we thought it would be the ideal time to visit the Te Anau bird sanctuary while we are riding bikes.

      / Accommodation - Te Anau
      / Meals included - Breakfast and dinner (lunch own arrangements)

      Day 10 - Sunday 28 March

      There will be some sore legs today. That's perfect as that won't affect your coffee arm. Yes, today is all about chilling out.

      The rest of the day is up to you… It's a day off to reflect on the amazing reflection that Te Anau has to offer. (sorry)

      We could do…

      1, a gental ride with some local legends followed by café.

      2, we can arrange day trip to Doubtful Sound. Cruise across beautiful Lake Manapouri and over Wilmot Pass to Deep Cove where you will board our catamaran for a three-hour cruise taking in the dramatic scenery of Doubtful Sound. This would be my suggestion for Team Mac as I suspect you may find the prize giving quite boring.

      3, there are a huge number of walks which we can recommend - including the challenging Kepler track.

      / Accommodation - Te Anau
      / Meals included - breakfast (lunch and dinner own arrangements)

      Day 11 - Monday 29 March

      "Around the Mountain's" Cycle Trail

      After yesterday's semi-rest, you'll be roaring to get on the road today. It's transfer day back to Queenstown which is approx. 112km away.

      Two choices… For those not keen on the gravel than you could stay on the concrete although the journey is longer and also, not as scenic.

      The smart money is to join us on the quiet gravel roads through to Mavora Lakes and then on to Walter Peak where we've booked a ferry to take us across Lake Wakatipu to our Queenstown hotel and our home for the last 2 nights.

      Speaking of Walter Peak - it's home to the Walter Peak High Country Farm Gardens. 4star I am told. The Kauri tree (Agathis australis) on the main lawn is most likely the southernmost specimen in the country as this native tree is usually confined to the temperate-sub tropical upper regions of the North Island. Anyway, we've booked a tour for Team Mac to see both the gardens and the station. Enjoy.

      Tonight - everyone is free to do whatever you want. The guides will all be going to a local craft beer burger joint. You are more than welcome to join us.

      / Accommodation - Queenstown
      / Meals included - Breakfast, lunch (dinner own arrangements)

      Day 12 - Tuesday 30 March


      Team Mac - we thought it would be nice if you started your day with a coffee. And a gondola. There's plenty of time for a nice walk while you're up there. We'll then jump in the van and catch up with the cyclists for lunch.

      Le cycliste - we always like our last ride to be an out and back. It takes the pressure off you as we realise there will be some tired legs by this stage of the trip. So, we leave our hotel and ride to the northern end of the lake and the small town of Glenorchy. It's 45km each way and you can decide to ride either 1 or both ways. Yes - there are hills. Short steep climbs that will seem a mere blip by this stage of the journey.

      Fair play to those espresso's and strong latte's who ride hotel to hotel.

      And that's a wrap. Let's have a glass of bubbles and celebrate good times, new and old friends and most importantly - the only positive thing to come out of 2020… that being quiet roads.

      / Accommodation - Queenstown

      / Meals included - Breakfast and dinner (lunch own arrangements)

      Day 13 - Wednesday 31 March

      Home James

      Let's recap - Starting Queenstown we headed over the Crown Range to Wanaka… ahh, 3 nights in Paradise before we started our mini tour of Lindis and Danseys Pass. Staying in 1962 Danseys Pass Coach Inn. It was then time to head south to Te Anau - our Fiordland hotel for 3 nights. Our trip concludes in a beautiful Queenstown winery. Seriously - could this have been any better!!! We doubt it.

      After breakfast we'll transfer you to the airport for your flight home. Thank you for travelling with Ride Holidays. We look forward to venturing overseas with you again in the near future.


      MoST Content Management V3.0.7690