New Zealand's Southern Lakes & Passes

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Queenstown, Milford Sound & Te Anau, Danseys & Lindis Pass, Crowne Range, Wanaka

04-16 February 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….

The absolute highlight will be the one-off sportive from Milford Sound to Te Anau. We'll join hundreds of lycra clad friends for a once in a lifetime opportunity to ride this very special (but hilly) road as it journeys through the UNESCO Fiordland National Park.

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 | Tour Details

Tour Inclusions & Highlights

  • 3 nights Queenstown, Wanaka and Te Anau
  • Danseys and Lindis Passes
  • Entry into the Fiordland Classic - Milford Sound to Te Anau Sportive
  • Ride the Crown Range, lunch at the Cardrona Hotel
  • Cruise Lake Wanaka - Trout anyone?
  • 4 star plus accommodation where possible
  • Airport transfers for those arriving, departing 4/16 Feb
  • All breakfasts, 7 lunches, 10 dinners and some cycling snacks
  • Sightseeing as per itinerary - hot tubs etc etc
  • Hand-picked cafes and restaurants
  • This trip is designed around 25 clients and 6 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 - Thursday 04 February

      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 - Friday 05 February


      We always like our first ride to be an out and back. It takes the pressure off you as we realise that some of you will be building up the fitness as the trip goes on. 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 and spectacular scenery from the top of each climb.

      Like on the majority of days we have pre-arranged lunch. Sometimes it will be a café. On other days - a sandwich (and cake) at a gorgeous lookout spot. We want to make this trip easy so let us do all the planning.

      Most of our days have been designed around riding from hotel to hotel. We will always have support on hand for those not wanting to ride the whole way. For example - we see Team Cappuccino finishing their ride at lunch in Glenorchy. Fair play to those espresso's and strong latte's who ride hotel to hotel.

      Team Macchiato (non-riders) have a slightly later start to the day than the cyclists. 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.

      / Accommodation - Peppers Beacon
      / Meals - Breakfast, lunch and dinner

      Day 3 - Saturday 06 February

      "Around the Mountains" Cycle Trail

      Today will be a cruise. Actually - we start with a cruise (bring your bike) across lake Wakatipu to Walter Peak. We then join up with the cycle trail that features quiet country gravel roads down to Te Anau. A mere 112km away. No, you don't need to ride the whole way but some of you no doubt will. Please keep in mind that tomorrow is a big day.

      For those not keen on the gravel than you could miss the boat ride and stay on the concrete although the journey is longer and not as scenic. The smart money is to join us on the quiet gravel roads through to Mavora Lakes and then on to Te Anau. The picturesque town is the main visitor base for the glacier-carved wilderness that is the UNESCO Fiordland National Park and our home for the next 3 nights.

      Team Mac - we see the boat ride, gravel excursion as being something that you join us on. However, we'll have a plan that involves you not following cyclists at snail's pace and will certainly include a nice walk. On a daily basis we will have a Team Mac recommendation, plan however we are equally happy to listen to you.

      We've booked Italian this evening as there are a few logistics to talk through. And, you will need to fuel up.

      / Accommodation - Te Anau Distinction
      / Meals - Breakfast, lunch and dinner

      Day 4 - Sunday 07 February

      Fiordland Classic

      On every tour we like to have some sort of event to focus on. We then structure the whole itinerary around that day. Well - today is that day. We searched high and low and the closest we found was the Wanaka Challenge which involves a 2km swim, 90km on the bike and then a half marathon. Now, I'm not that smart but I figured this would turn the majority of you off….. So, a few phone calls later and we've decided to sponsor, resurrect an old event that hasn't been running the past few years due to increasing traffic. That won't be an issue in 2021 for obvious reasons.

      Boom. The Milford Sound to Te Anau Fondo is on baby. You can choose 120km, 100km or 70km.

      Let's talk you through the day. After breakfast we all (including Team Mac) pile in the vans and drive the 120km to Milford Sound. This morning is your best chance to discover this NZ highlight which normally attracts thousands and thousands of visitors daily. Today it will be pink and blue lycra on display. (closer to the time we may look at boat tours etc)

      Our actual ride doesn't start until 3pmish. That gives all the domestic traffic the chance to get off the road and our guides time to tune your bikes prior to the event start. At some stage today you'll need to pick up your event registrations and no doubt there will be press interviews for the likes of Parsons, Perry etc. Keep in mind that it doesn't get dark until after 11pm. Given that it's a late start, late finish - prize giving isn't until tomorrow morning so tonight we'll organise our own special inhouse celebrations.

      There are a few major bike events around the world.. Giro d'Italia, Tour de France and the Vuelta a España but I doubt none are as scenic as what you'll ride today. Bring it on. I can't wait. See you at the start line.

      / Accommodation - Te Anau Distinction
      / Meals - Breakfast, lunch and dinner

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

      Day 5 - Monday 08 February

      UNESCO Rest day

      The last 2 days have been pretty full on. Today is designed around rest and relaxation. Yes - it's a holiday. (kind of)

      We start with the official event breakfast where we watch Parsons, McKay etc collect their gongs. Well-deserved one would say.

      It's then a gentle recovery coffee ride. There's a good chance a few local legends will join us.

      Or…. we can arrange a 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.

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

      Tonight, is a free dinner. The guides will be heading to a local craft beer and burger joint. You are more than welcome to join us.

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

      Day 6 - Tuesday 09 February

      Road Trip!!

      Today we kick off the road trip portion of our holiday which sees us ride the Danseys and Lindis passes. Before we settle down again in Wanaka for 3 nights.

      It's a shade over 250km to Alexandra. (In France on occasion we've done 600km plus so I guess 250 isn't that bad)

      The plan is to arrive early afternoon and then pop out for a ride. Nothing major as the next 5 days offer over 500km for those who are keen.

      Otherwise - we take advantage of what this region has to offer. Wine. This region is one of the foremost wine producers in the country. Known to be the home of the world's best Pinot Noir. We'll pick a couple of vineyards prior to dinner. In fact - at this stage the plan is to eat at one of them.

      / Accommodation - Alexandra Avenue Motel
      / Meals included - Breakfast and dinner

      Day 7 - Wednesday 10 February

      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!!

      Getting to Danseys is half the fun. It's 80km on the road to Naseby and then 15km on the gravel to our hotel. Or… 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

      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.

      Team Mac - you're in for a treat. We've hired a local Danseys guide (and 4x4) to take you off road this afternoon. You'll see scenery that will stay with you for a very long time.

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

      Day 8 - Thursday 11 February

      Omarama hot pools...

      We start the day with locally bred bacon and eggs. It's then the 2nd half of Danseys Pass before we hit the tarmac. Lunch will be in Kurow as we follow the Waitaki Valley. The Waitaki River surges through the landscape, punctuated by three hydro-electric dams - Waitaki, Aviemore and Benmore. The Waitaki Dam was built with picks and shovels in the 1930s and Benmore is one of the largest earth dams in the southern hemisphere. In summer, its bright blue colour contrasts with the burnt-orange landscape that surrounds it.

      We'll be offering 60km, 90km and 122km rides which is hotel to hotel. Like all our rides we'll have plenty of support. For those that want more time we can easily start earlier or even run you up the road so you have a head start. There's always a solution and we never want you to feel pressured that you have to keep up with the Jones.

      Tonight, we've booked the world famous Omarama hot tubs. Bring your togs!! We'll go late so we can take advantage of the amazing night sky.

      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.

      / Accommodation - Omarama Heritage Gateway
      / Meals included - Breakfast and dinner

      Ps, Omarama is also known for its trout fishing… just saying!!

      Day 9 - Friday 12 February

      Tarras pies and Lindis Pass and..

      Originally, we looked at doing this entire trip in reverse however the scenery when riding the towards Wanaka is by far superior to the reverse direction.

      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. We do expect though that you will want to visit the Wanaka Market which is held every Thursday from 2pm until 6.00pm right in town centre alongside Lake Wanaka. Please grab me some fudge.

      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.

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

      Day 10 - Saturday 13 February

      Exploring Wanaka

      After a leisurely breakfast we ride lake front up towards Mount Aspiring National Park. There are lots of options today. 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. We'll then leave again for what locals call the Luggate loop. We'll see how you're feeling but we'd suggest lunch could be at the retro café located at Warbirds and Wheels museum.

      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.

      Team Mac - we've employed a local walking guide to show you a few secrets. Closer to the time we'll work out the fitness levels and plan accordingly. We'll then meet you at Warbirds for lunch.

      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 Edgewater
      / Meals included - Breakfast and dinner

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

      Day 11 - Sunday 14 February

      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)

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

      Day 12 - Monday 15 February

      Crown Range

      All good things come to an end as we say goodbye to our Wanaka home and head back towards it all started.

      After breakfast we throw the luggage in the vans and hop on our bikes one last time. 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.

      Today's ride is only 70km from door to door however we anticipate that a few of you may want extra km's which can easily be arranged. Lunch is at the historic - 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.

      And that's a wrap. Tonight, we leave town for a local winery. 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 - Peppers Beacon

      / Meals included - Breakfast, lunch and dinner

      Day 13 - Tuesday 16 February

      Home James

      Let's recap - Starting Queenstown we headed south to what has to be the most scenic fondo on the planet. ahh, 3 nights in Fiordland paradise. We then started our mini tour of Lindis and Danseys Pass. Staying in 1962 Danseys Pass Coach Inn. Before concluding in Wanaka for 3 nights. 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.

      All the best,

      Karl and the RH team


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