NZ CYCLING TOURS AND HOLIDAYS | WEST COAST, SOUTH ISLAND 2023

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Our bike tour includes: Arthurs Pass, West Coast Wilderness Trail, Franz & Fox, Haast & the Crown Range. Nelson to Queenstown

26 March – 07 April 2023 (13 Days / 12 Nights)


New Zealand's West Coast is without doubt spectacular. In fact, after 2 trips in 2022 I’d say the scenery is the best in the country. Which is why we can’t wait to get back there in 2023.   

Normal Ride Holidays conditions apply. 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. Staying in great hotels and including as many meals as possible.

This trip has been designed around riding from hotel to hotel however some of the distances are challenging so we'll certainly have a plan B on offer.

There will be many highlights. Haast Pass is as good as any European ride you'll ever do. On this trip we combine that with Arthurs Pass and many other unforgettable days. Concluding with the one and only - Crown Range.

It's not all about the bike. We've factored in free time in Franz Josef and a spare day in Haast. More importantly - we eat and drink at the best restaurants, wineries, and cafes. How many Whitebait fritters can you eat??

This is suitable for road bikes, gravel, (CX) and e-bikes. 95% of the trip will be on the road. When we ride the West Coast Wilderness trail, we’ve hired mountain bikes for you.

It’s a big call however I’m happy to make it - join us for the best scenery and riding that New Zealand has to offer. 

Look forward to cycling with you,

Cheers Karl

West Coast NZ bike tours & holidays 2023


West Coast NZ bike tours & holidays 2023

West Coast NZ bike tours & holidays 2023
West Coast NZ bike tours & holidays 2023
West Coast NZ bike tours & holidays 2023
West Coast NZ bike tours & holidays 2023


West Coast NZ Cycle Tour Overview


NZ Bike Tour | West Coast NZ Tour Details

  • 4- star accommodation where possible. 1 night in Nelson, St Arnaud, Lake Brunner, Lake Moeraki, Wanaka and Queenstown. 2 nights in Kumara, Franz Josef and Haast.
  • Highlights being - Arthurs Pass, West Coast Wilderness Trail, Franz and Fox Glacier, Haast Pass and Crown Range.
  • Stay in the Wilderness Lodge at Lake Moeraki. Absolutely stunning.
  • 95% of your meals are included as per the itinerary. Your on-road cycling snacks are also included. This includes bananas, muesli bars, electrolytes etc. (not gels, power bars - if you want these then please BYO)
  • Ride Holidays coffee cart will follow us on some days.
  • Airport transfers for those arriving, arriving day 1 and departing on day 13
  • Safety is key - if we see risk then we will have official traffic management vehicles following us.
  • This trip is designed around 30 cyclists. We also encourage Team Mac to join us. There will be 7 staff.
  • Mountain Bike hire included for West Coast Wilderness trail. Also included is the jet boat up the Waiatoto River. (which is a must) Also included is the Nelson Lakes cruise.  
  • Because of our group size we will have a wide range of ride options for varying abilities. We will also have 3 vehicles at time to allow plenty of flexibility.
  • RIDE Holidays cycle jersey for cyclists. RH Merino jersey for Team Mac. Souvenir tour booklet also included.
  • GPS routes available for upload to personal devices
  • Team Macchiato will have a separate itinerary to the cyclists. You will more than likely be guided by Geoff. We also have a budget to include a lot of the entry fees, extra coffee, wine tastings etc.

The Tour Price Excludes

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

    The Tour Cost

    • 13 days / 12 nights NZD$6995.00 per person
    • NZD $1400.00 extra for your own room.

    Discount - if you are prepared to share a 2-bedroom apartment in a couple of places then we can offer a $200.00 discount per person. Please let Karl know and he'll give you the specifics.

    Single travellers - if you want to share a room then we will try and find someone for you to share with. We can normally do this 95% of the time. In the unlikely event that we can't then the single room rate will apply. Sorry but it is a physical cost that we simply can't absorb. We don't put a margin on the single room rate as that would be unfair.

    OPTIONAL EXTRAS

    Franz Josef – various activities on offer for our rest day. Ranging from guided treks, Helicopter Glacier tours to fishing. Karl will organise these in advance, so we don’t miss out.  

    Payment terms…

    Deposit & Balance terms and conditions. The initial deposit is $500.00 per person. Full payment will be due 60 days prior to departure. Our Covid guarantee – if we have to cancel due to Covid (including inside 30 days) then the most you will lose is $500.00 which covers our fixed costs like the clothing etc. (which you would still receive).





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      West Coast NZ bike tours & holidays 2023




      West Coast NZ bike tours & holidays 2023
      West Coast NZ bike tours & holidays 2023
      West Coast NZ bike tours & holidays 2023
      West Coast NZ bike tours & holidays 2023


      Day 1, Sunday 26 March

      Arrive Nelson

      We suggest you arrive mid to late morning if you can. We'll meet you at the airport and transfer you to our central Nelson hotel.

      Early this afternoon we put the bikes together and head out for a short (about 3pm) spin. We'll have the support vehicles close by to catch up with those first day mechanicals. Today's ride is only 20km (we'll build things up slowly as the tour goes on) and the majority (if not all) will be on cycle paths.

      Team Macchiato head off for a nice wine with Geoff - your Team Mac (or should we say Team Sav) guide for this adventure. As you know - our Team Mac program will have structure however we are very open to suggestions, this afternoon is a good chance for you to share those with Geoff.

      Our only other obligation is a glass of champagne at 6pm. Our restaurant overlooks the beautiful Matai River. Keep an eye open for trout. We introduce the team and run through the plan for the next few days.

      / Accommodation: Trailways, Nelson
      / Meals Included: Welcome dinner

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

      Day 2, Monday 27 March

      Nelson Lakes

      Lakes, lakes and lakes. You will see a lot of them on this trip. So, it's important that we start with a lake.

      Coffee is important. Cycling is coffee. We start with coffee.

      After caffeine we start our journey south. Queenstown is only 1000km away. That's a big figure but remember - we aren't in a rush and there will always be vehicles around you. "Taxi please"

      Today's ride is a shade over 90km. Hotel to hotel. We've even included almost 15km of Great Taste cycleway. (which is absolutely fine on your standard road bike) And, just before I'm accused of telling lies, I can assure you our ride is not flat. We are after all riding in the Southern Alps. Let's call today undulating with a shade over 1300VM from A to B.

      Lunch is at the Waverley pie shop. Not an ordinary pie - one of the country’s best. Oh, and speaking from personal experience – the raspberry buns aren’t bad either. 

      Tonight's destination is the village of St Arnaud. Which sits at the edge of Lake Rotoiti - one of the 16 picturesque lakes that make up the Nelson Lakes National Park. We will try and arrive at a decent time. Late this afternoon we’ve organised a lake cruise for everyone.

      Team Mac - Team Mac –This is by far you best chance to visit a winery. Moutere Hills is our target for a wine tasting and lunch. Head chef - Alistair Forster is a New Zealand Lamb & Beef Ambassador and together with his wife Fiona they have created a stunning restaurant overlooking the vines and neighbouring hops.

      / Accommodation: Alpine Lodge, St Arnaud, Nelson Lakes
      / Meals Included: Breakfast, Pie and Dinner


      Day 3, Tuesday 28 March

      We Ride for 29 Men

      Today is the one day of the trip where we are going to ask you to all hop in the vehicles for a long drive. It’s about 2hrs to Reefton so we will need to get away reasonably early. Known as the town of light, Reefton was the first town in the Southern Hemisphere to have electricity.

      25km from our start is the extremely moving Pike River Memorial where 29 men perished in 2010.

      After we’ve paid our respects, we’ll ride up Logburn road until we hit gravel. Feel free to stop for a drink at the Blackball Hilton. Amongst other things – home to the Labour Party as we know it. We’ve asked Aunty Cindy to show us around. She’d like to but she’s a bit busy right now.

      It’s then about 50km on quiet roads to our hotel which overlooks Lake Brunner. Total mileage is approx. 90km. (those espresso riders who want more miles are advised to backtrack towards the tail end of the group after you’ve reached Lake Brunner.

      Team Mac – you join the riders at Pike and Blackball, before travelling to the limestone pancake-shaped rock formations of Punakaiki. Also - on most days we will arrange a walk of some description. We’ll see you in Moana later on this afternoon.  

      / Accommodation: Lake Brunner Hotel
      / Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner



      Day 4, Wednesday 29 March

      Arthurs Pass

      6am yoga. Just kidding.

      On the Tour de France they have what is called the Queen stage. As a tour operator we also like to have what we’d call a Queen Stage Day. Today is that day. Very early in the planning I wanted to make sure that Arthurs Pass featured in our itinerary. Riding over the Otira Viaduct is something I will never forget.

      Team Mac – you can relax this morning at Lake Brunner before joining the cyclists for lunch. You then have your own professional guide to show you Arthurs Park National Park. Please make sure you have good walking shoes.

      Cyclists -we'd like to leave Lake Brunner reasonably early. No time for fishing I'm afraid. The actual bike ride is only 60km. Ahh, 60km up and 70km down. That would make, ahhhh 130km in total. Lunch is at Arthurs Pass. It really is a magnificent, but challenging ride. We’ll have plenty of options for those wanting shorter options.

      Our accommodation for the next couple of nights is in the small town of Kumara. It isn't an ordinary hotel. The Theatre Royal is the West Coast`s only fully restored gold miners' hotel, and once world-renowned theatre. Each room is unique, with its blend of Victorian decor, antique furnishings, and modern amenities. Please be aware though that as the Royal is small, we have also had to book some 2 and 3-bedroom cottages which aren't in the main building.

      It's not all about the food. Well, yes, it is all about the food. The Theatre Royal has one of the best restaurants on the West Coast so that is where we shall dine this evening.

      / Accommodation: Theatre Royal, Kumara
      / Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner


       

      Day 5, Thursday 30 March

      West Coast Wilderness Trail

      Speak to any Tour of Aotearoa rider and they'll tell you that their off-road highlight was the West Coast Wilderness trail. Offering up to 120km off trail cycling. (we only ride the best 90km) Starting in Greymouth and finishing in Ross. You wind your way through ancient rainforests, along glacial rivers, around moody lakes and across some downright cracking wetlands.

      We all leave the hotel together. The trail starts about 1min away from the front door. There’s a fairly good climb straight out of Kumara. You’ll pass remnants of the gold rush before arriving at the Kapitea Reservoir. Pass the lake carry on to the Loopline Reservoir. Make sure you check out the stone face dam that was hand-laid in 1883 by miners during the gold rush.

      It’s then a descent through the ancient Podocarp Forest until you reach a sprawling suspension bridge through the trees. Lake Kaniere is exactly at the 50km mark which is where our support team will be waiting with lunch. It’s also your first opportunity to pull out if you’ve had enough.

      After lunch it’s a 20km ride to Hokitika along a very very quiet Lake Kaniere Road, enjoying some cracking views of the surging Hokitika River. So, 70km is your next option to hop off the bike. The full monty has you carrying on right through to Treetop Walkway. This section of the trail is the most scenic. You ride on boardwalks through wetlands, native forest and old mill sites, and give you some cracking views of Lake Mahinapua.

      So, the full monty provides 90km of stunning off-road riding, starting at our hotel and finishing at the West Coast Treetop Café.

      / Accommodation: Theatre Royal, Kumara
      / Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

      Day 6, Friday 31 March

      Franz Josef

      Today is one for the whippets. Let me describe a whippet for you. They're the cyclists who race up a hill without knowing they're actually on a hill. Often, they look like they could do with a good feed. "Here - have this pie".

      140km for normal people would produce a bit of a frown but for your average whippet they'll be smiling and licking their lips. 140 is just a number to a true whippet.

      Whippets - off you go. We'll see you later. Keep the green stuff to the left and the blue stuff to your right. Stop when you get to a glacier. Who could possibly get lost with those instructions?

      For the majority - we will pick the nicest 60 or 100km and that's your day.

      Speaking of coffee - Keep an eye open today for the RH coffee cart. It's sure to make an appearance at some stage.

      For the next couple of nights, we're staying in Glacier Country. Fox and Franz Josef Glacier offer the most accessible rivers of ice in the world. Plunging down through rainforest almost to sea level. Some of you will have sore bottoms. Tomorrow is a day off the bike.

      / Accommodation: Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier
      / Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner



      West Coast NZ bike tours & holidays 2023
      West Coast NZ bike tours & holidays 2023
      West Coast NZ bike tours & holidays 2023
      West Coast NZ bike tours & holidays 2023

      Day 7, Saturday 01 April

      Rest day. End of.

      If ever a region warranted a rest day. This is it. There are literally hundreds of choices. Many of which I will arrange, book in advance. Here are but a few of your choices.

      1, Do nothing. Go for a walk. Support the local shops.

      2, You are certainly free to hop on your bike and go for a bit of an explore. Please note that the guides, vehicles won't be around today as even we get sore bottoms.

      3, Glacier Heli flight and landing - Approx $360.00 per person.

      4, As above but also includes a 2-hour hike $450.00 per person.

      5, 3-hour kayak tour on Lake Mapourika $120.00 per person. I have done this in a previous life and it's absolutely amazing.

      6, Yup, you could skydive Franz Josef glacier. $600.00 and a good travel insurance policy. Actually - make that a good life insurance policy.

      7, Personally - I'll be drinking coffee in the morning and then heading off to the Franz Josef Glacier Hot Pools in the afternoon. You are very welcome to join me.

      Speaking of giving back to your legs. Today would be your ideal time to book a massage. Our hotel has it's very own Amaia Luxury Spa.

      Tonight - SnakeBite brewery. That sounds interesting.

      / Accommodation: Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier
      / Meals Included: Breakfast and Dinner (Lunch are own arrangements)


      Day 8, Sunday 02 April

      Wilderness Lodge Moeraki

      Few places on earth can match the stunning natural setting of Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki, surrounded by lakes, rivers, rainforest and seacoast in the heart of Te Wahipounamu, the southwest New Zealand World Heritage Area.  This is a paradise for nature lovers, active travellers and wilderness seekers.

      Our bike ride from Franz is a shade over 100km. We will leave early, wanting to maximise our time at the lodge. Lunch is at a Salmon farm. Not kidding. The Sushimi is fresh.

      Team Mac - you can't visit the coast without a cruise on Lake Mapourika.The Jurassic rainforest fringed bays which reflect the surrounding Alps and Glaciers will leave you in awe of its beauty. Dale - your skipper has been guiding passionately in the region for the last 15 years! He'll take you on a scenic journey, through the Okarito Kiwi Sanctuary & much more. Enjoy a great cup of tea or coffee while you watch curious native birdlife in the surrounding rainforest shoreline. Lake Mapourika is a landscape photographers dream!

      Over the next 24 hours we let the lodge’s experienced naturalist guides show you their back yard. Explore rainforest trails, hike spectacular seacoast & enjoy tranquil lake kayaking. Learn New Zealand's fascinating natural history and see penguins, seals & other wildlife. All guided excursions are included.

      This evening would be the ideal time to sit back in the lounge bar with a single malt whisky. One of our guides - Abram is great on the guitar.

      This part of the world is also famous for its night sky due to lack of artificial lighting. Well worth joining the guided walk late this evening.

      Enjoy your 24 hours in paradise.

      / Accommodation: Wilderness Lodge
      / Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner


       

      Day 9, Monday 03 April

      More time at the Lodge

      There’s no point in jumping on the bikes early. We’ll spend the morning at the Lodge. And then it’s only a short 50km ride in to Haast.

      It’s a semi-rest day. That's because the next 3 days are pretty full on. Offering exceptional cycling and sightseeing. Given that it's winter in the Northern Hemisphere I'd say that we could be the luckiest cyclists on the planet over the next few days.

      What an agenda - Haast - Jacksons Bay - Wanaka - Queenstown. Boom. Over 300km of good times. 

      Haast is our home for the next couple of nights. It is absolute raw West Coast. The actual town is reasonably small. In fact - the last census shows it has a population of 84. Not thousand. Yes, 84 in total. 42 males and 39 females.

      I wonder if they'll notice 30 odd people in pink lycra riding through town?

      / Accommodation: Heartland Hotel Haast
      / Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

      Day 10, Tuesday 04 April

      Whitebait for lunch?

      We see today as a relaxed day ahead of 2 reasonably long days. You can choose exactly the mileage you want to ride. It's out and back on one road.

      Jackson Bay is the farthest south on the West Coast Road network. It is the end of the line. A small road that meanders along the coast from Haast, 35 kilometres away. Even I can add that up - that means 70km in total.

      It’s also a working fishing port - boats are tied up at the long wharf that stretches out into deep waters. A popular fishing spot in summer. Speaking of fishing - there’s 1 spot for lunch and it’s ironically called - The Cray Pot. It is world famous and when I spoke with Dayna who owns the place she suggested the following…

      Lunch menu for Ride Holidays

      West Coast Whitebait sandwich

      Carrot Cake or Ginger slice

      Coffee of your choice.

      Amen!!

      Another highlight on our 2022 tours was the 2.5hr jetboat ride up the Waiatoto River. It was optional in 2022 however it’s that good that we’ve included it in the cost for 2023. You won’t regret it. It’s amazing.    

      Our guides will tune all the bikes while you head away on the river. We want to make sure they're in tip top shape as we take on the last 2 days.

      Tomorrow will be epic. You will see.

      / Accommodation: Heartland Hotel Haast
      / Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner



       

      Day 11, Wednesday 05 April

      Gates of Haast

      We'll have plenty of ride options today. Whatever you choose will be special.

      Please keep in mind that we won't be afraid to change the plan if the weather looks dodgy. People who risk bad weather in this part of the world usually get very wet and very cold. We'll be mindful of that throughout our whole trip.

      Right'o… Whippets - please gather over there. Thank you. On your agenda is 145km of possibly the best riding this trip will offer. We did this ride twice in 2022. It's O for awesome. Let's break down the 145km because the cappuccino and latte riders can choose when to come to the party.

      The first 50km leaving Haast is relatively flat. You pretty much follow the river at 1-2% gradient. The spectacular Gates of Haast sits at the half century mark and that's also where the sh*t hits the fan as far as climbing is concerned.

      It's likely that you'll feel pretty fit by this stage of the trip so I'd encourage you to take on this small hill which snakes on up through Mt Aspiring National Park. It's a spectacular 10km climb where you gain about 700VM. Spectacular if you are a goat I guess. But great fun regardless.

      Cappo's - feel free to skip the climb and start from the top. It's then exactly 80km to our lakefront hotel in Wanaka. The ride from Makarora to Hawea is my favourite part as we pretty much ride lakeside the whole way. Halfway is aptly named - the Neck which sits on a small 200m section in between Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea. From here it's a short 35km to Wanaka although there are a couple of hills. (having been accused in the past for not telling the truth or the whole truth when it comes to slight gradient increases)

      Team Mac - there are a large number of not-to-be-missed waterfalls. I'd suggest Geoff picks a couple of these and also shows you the blue pools on the Makarora River. You can then decide if you'll join us for lunch in Makarora or head off early to Wanaka. This afternoon is your only chance to hit the Wanaka shops, art galleries etc.

      / Accommodation: Edgewater, Wanaka
      / Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.

      Day 12, Thursday 06 April

      Queenstown via the Crown Range

      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 a bit lumpy although certainly easier from the Wanaka side.

      Speaking of lumpy - here's a useless fact for you. Of all the climbs in NZ there's only 1 that is considered Hors Category. And that's the Turoa access road in the North Island. Which pretty much means that the rest of our climbs are reasonably easy. Pretty much.

      Today's ride is only 80km 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.

      Wānaka to Cardrona is 25kms of false flat through farmland which eases you into the more challenging part of the climb, but which only starts to get steep in the last 5kms before the summit, which is at 1,121m altitude. It's then a roll down into Arrowtown and on to Arthurs Point before hitting the big smoke of Queenstown. I suspect that most of us will find a nice spot for an afternoon beer. It's then time to pack down the bikes etc.

      Team Mac – We assume that you will want to spend some time in Wanaka and this morning is your only time to do so. We were going to recommend the Cardrona distillery however we know the majority of you have already done this. Geoff will have a chat and see what you’d like to do. You’ll certainly join us for lunch at the Cardrona hotel. We could then run you straight to Queenstown if you don’t want to spend any time in Arrowtown. Another option could be a winery at Gibbston Valley. Actually, let’s do that as it’s a really nice way of finishing the trip.

      And that's a wrap. Tonight, we fine dine so bring some nice kit. Let's have a glass of bubbles and celebrate good times, new and old friends.

      / Accommodation: Peppers Queenstown
      / Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner


       

      Day 13, Friday 07 April

      Home James

      Let's recap - Starting in Nelson we've covered the entire length of the Sothern Alps. How many lakes, gorges, passes?? What a trip.

      More importantly - how many whitebait fritters?

      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.


       

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