West COAST OF THE SOUTH ISLAND Tour #2 | QUEENSTOWN to NELSON

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Via the Crown Range, Haast, Franz & Fox, Hokitika Gorge, Arthurs Pass & the Buller Gorge

01 - 12 April 2022 (12 Days / 11 Nights) | 2 rooms remaining


New Zealand's West Coast is without doubt spectacular. And, COVID gives us the unique chance to ride roads that are normally filled with tourists from all over the world. We're expecting only locals and visitors from Australia will be here in April 2022. We plan to take advantage of that.

Normal Ride Holidays conditions apply. Fully supported. 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.

Team Mac (non-riders). Please be aware that on this particular trip we do need a minimum number of 5 to have a separate program like we do on the March trip. You are of course very welcome to join us however at this stage we are only aware of cyclists booked. Please have a chat to Karl.

There will be many highlights. Earlier this year we rode Haast Pass and it's as good as any European ride you'll ever do. On this trip we combine that with Arthurs Pass and many other unforgettable days.

It's not all about the bike - we eat and drink at the best restaurants, wineries, and cafes. How many Whitebait fritters can you eat??

A note about bikes. This is suitable for road bikes, cross bikes and e-bikes. 99% of the trip will either be on the road or grade 1 trail. Those who want to ride the West Coast Wilderness Trail will have the option to hire mountain bikes.

This could quite possibly be the only time we have this amazing scenery to ourselves. Let's make the most of it.

Thank you for considering this trip,

Cheers Karl









West Coast Tour #2 | Tour Details


Tour Inclusions & Highlights

  • 4- star accommodation where possible. 1 night in Queenstown, Wanaka, Franz Josef, Arthurs Pass, Lake Brunner, St Arnaud & Nelson. 2 nights in Haast and Kumara.
  • Highlights being - Arthurs Pass, West Coast Wilderness Trail, Hokitika Gorge, Franz and Fox Glacier, Haast Pass and Crown Range.
  • 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)
  • Airport transfers for those arriving, departing day 1 and departing on day 12
  • Safety is key - if we see risk then we will have official traffic management vehicles following us.
  • This trip is designed around 25 cyclists. We also encourage Team Mac to join us however a separate program will only be put in place when we have 5 non-riders. There will be 6-7 staff.
  • Because of our group size we will have a wide range of ride options for varying abilities. We will also have 2-3 vehicles at time to allow plenty of flexibility.
  • Bikes - road, cross or e-bikes are encouraged. This is not a mountain biking trip. We will hire mountain bikes for the West Coast Trail if you decide to do that option.
  • RIDE Holidays cycle jersey as well as a RH Merino jersey. Souvenir tour booklet also included.
  • GPS routes available for upload to personal devices

    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

    • 12 days / 11 nights NZD$5850.00 per person
    • Team Mac - because we don't have a separate program on this particular trip your cost is reduced to $4850.00
    • NZD $1150.00 extra for your own room.

    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

    Mountain bike hire for the West Coast Wilderness Trail $90.00 or $150.00 for e-bikes.

    Payment terms…

    There is a $750.00 deposit for this trip. Which is refunded if we can't travel due to Covid. (Less $200.00 fixed costs like clothes etc etc) Balance will be due 90 days prior to departure. We will monitor the COVID situation and keep you posted if things change.





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      Day 1, Friday 01 April

      Arrive Queenstown

      We suggest you arrive mid to late morning if you can. We'll meet you at the airport and transfer you to our central Queenstown 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 30km. We'll build things up slowly as the tour goes on.

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

      Tomorrow we tackle the Crown Range. If that's not a good reason to eat up then I'm not sure what is. You can tick it off as energy food.

      / Accommodation: Peppers Beacon, Queenstown
      / Meals Included: Welcome dinner

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


      Day 2, Saturday 02 April

      Crown Range to Wanaka

      After breakfast we throw the luggage in the vans and hop on our bikes. First stop is Arrowtown for coffee. We then head towards Lake Wanaka. Lakes, lakes and lakes. I've just had a very rough count and I believe we'll encounter over 15 different lakes on this trip. So, it's important that we start with a lake.

      Hmmm - The Crown Range. One of New Zealand's best rides 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.

      Nelson is only 1000km away. Our support plan for the next 12 days looks like this: We'll have a vehicle in the front and another yoyo-ing back and forth. Basically, there will always be 2 vehicles and up to 4 guides around you at all times. On the occasional day where we expect heavier traffic then we'll also have an official pilot vehicle join us. All vehicles will have water, bananas and some very basic muesli bars.

      This trip has been designed around riding from hotel to hotel as much as possible. Today's ride is only 80km 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.

      We've booked a Wanaka hotel that offers lake front views. Tonight, is a free night however the guides will no doubt be heading to the Speights Ale House. You are very welcome to join us. After the Crown Range (or Cardrona Hotel) you will be hungry.

      / Accommodation: Wanaka
      / Meals Included: Breakfast and Lunch (Dinner is your own arrangements)


      Day 3, Sunday 3 April

      Mount Aspiring National Park

      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. 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".

      145km for normal people would produce a bit of a frown but for your average whippet they'll be smiling and licking their lips. 145 is just a number to a true whippet.

      We did this ride twice in 2021. I have to say that in all my years of cycling I'd rate the Haast ride as one of the best. It is nothing short of spectacular.

      Let's break down the 145km because the cappuccino and latte riders can choose when to come to the party. You choose 60, 83 or 100km. Totally up to you.

      The first part of the ride explores the narrow peninsular that sits between Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea. The ride is prominently lake edge until we get to the Neck which is the 600m section in between the 2 lakes. There's an amazing lookout which would be the perfect team photo opportunity.

      Lunch is at the excellent Boundary Creek campsite. It's here that we'll have freshly made sandwiches waiting. Oh, and coffee.

      We then enter 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. After the Gates of Haast it's a gentle 30km (or van ride if you've had enough) down the valley to our hotel in Haast.

      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 cyclist's in pink lycra!!

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



      Day 4, Monday 4 April

      Crayfish 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.

      On that note - our New Zealand tours offer a lot of flexibility. We understand that our clients are mainly Kiwi's visiting their own country. If there's someone you want to catch up with or something you want to do then you only need to say the word. Flexibility is key.

      Our ride today offers very little pressure. Navigation wise - keep the blue stuff to the right on the way down and on the left when you return.

      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, 32 kilometres away. Even I can add that up - that means 64km in total.

      Jackson Bay is 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 crayfish - there's 1 spot for lunch and it's ironically called - The Craypot. Personally, I'll be opting for the Blue Cod.

      Tomorrow will be epic. You will see.

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



      Day 5, Tuesday 5 April

      Franz Josef

      We hope you enjoyed your semi-rest day. That's because the next couple of 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 a 4 day agenda we have lined up : Haast - Franz Josef - Kumara - West Coast Wilderness Trail - Arthurs Pass. Boom. 4 days we won't forget in a hurry.

      By now we will be well and truly in the groove. The whippets will all start grouping together. Talking about FTP, VO2max, EPO and all that sort of good stuff. The rest of us will huddle together and start to talk about where our first latte will be.

      Today's start is quite lumpy. In fact, we climb almost 400m in the first 30km. If you would rather avoid that then how about we run you up the road which means you have a nice gentle 100km to the hotel in Franz. So, total distance is 130km however we're picking a small handful of you will actually do this. The rest of us need to factor in time for the hot springs near our hotel.

      Tonight, 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.

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


      Day 6, Wednesday 6 April

      Hotel to hotel cycling is really relaxing

      All you need to do is eat, drink and ride your bike. We'll take care of everything else.

      Generally speaking - we don't see the need to start riding really early. In fact - we prefer to start about 9am so that all the school, work traffic is off the road.

      For the majority - we will pick the nicest 60 or 100km of the 160km on offer today. I'm doing a recce trip to this area later in the year so I'll decide then which segment offers the best coffee. Speaking of coffee - I don't believe we've seen the RH coffee cart yet. Keep an eye open because it's sure to make an appearance at some stage.

      Our hotel for the next couple of nights 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 bedroom cottages which aren't in the main building.

      It's not all about the food. Well, actually 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.

      Some of you will have sore bottoms. Tomorrow is a relatively easy day on the bike.

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








      Day 7, Thursday 7 April

      Road or 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. 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.

      So, 2 choices.

      1, we've talked to a local trail company who will bring mountain bikes to us. Our hotel is literally at the halfway mark so you can choose to do as little or as much as you want. We'll have a couple of guides join you on the trail section. You can then spend the day riding without any worry of cars, trucks or motorbikes. Sounds peaceful.

      Or 2, stick to the road and we'll head off to explore the Hokitika Gorge as well as Lake Kaniere. If you choose this option, then there is actually about 10km of gravel. It's not compulsory but it would be nice.

      Both options finish back in Kumara. We were originally planning on staying tonight in Hokitika however 1-night stays are a pain and we've already had a couple of them. Spending 2 nights in one location means you have the chance to catch up on washing etc. Besides - the restaurant at the Theatre Royal is worth returning to.

      / Accommodation: Theatre Royal, Kumara
      / Meals Included: Breakfast and Dinner (Lunch is own arrangements because we will all be scattered)


      Day 8, Friday 8 April

      Arthurs Pass - Wilderness Lodge

      On the Tour de France they have what is called the Queen stage. As a tour operator we also like to have what we call a Queen day. Today is that day. Very early in the planning I wanted to make sure that Arthurs Pass featured in our itinerary.

      We'd like to leave Kumara reasonably early. The actual bike ride is only 86km however you are climbing 1200VM. For those who want more mileage there's certainly nothing stopping you carrying on past Arthurs Pass and down the other side. Turning around when you've had enough. If you take this option we will insist on testing you for drugs.

      For all the normal people - the reason for leaving Moana early is to maximise our time at the luxurious Wilderness Lodge. At over $500.00 per person per night I'm expecting big things. It's not your normal hotel. Our package includes guided walks on the 4000-acre farm & nature reserve. It really is the type of place you want to spend as much time as possible.

      In typical RH tradition we are also not likely to lose any weight on this trip. I'm very much looking forward (vegetarians turn away now) to meeting Flossy the Wilderness Lodge lamb. Flossy is a merino-hampshire cross lamb. Raised on the property. She (Flossy) will be joining us for dinner. (yes, there will be other options… in fact, we could also meet Peppa the pig although that's more than likely to be at breakfast)

      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 it's night sky due to lack of artificial lighting. Well worth a short walk once darkness hits.

      Enjoy your 24 hours in paradise. Even the Queen wouldn't be disappointed staying here.

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


      Day 9, Saturday 9 April

      Pretty much all downhill… Well it is!!

      Except for about 500m of uphill which doesn't seem like a very big number. If you get enough speed up on the descent, then you should be able to roll up the other side. (yes, I know)

      We don't see a need to rush this morning. Keeping in mind that the lodge is almost 1000m above sea level. Things could be a bit chilly first thing. Sleep in. Have that 2nd cup of coffee. Or - go for a walk back out on the station. Relax - it's a holiday remember.

      Our destination for tonight none other than another gorgeous Lake Brunner. At 40km² it's the largest lake in the northwester part of the South Island. It's also the warmest lake you will encounter so how about a compulsory swim prior to dinner.

      Door to door is exactly 79km although some of you may want to explore the rest of Lake Brunner by bike. Our hotel is lake edge. You all have lake views from your room. Tonight, we've asked for a BBQ on the lawn. If we arrive early enough then we may even be able to encourage a couple of the local trout population to join us for dinner.

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



      Day 10, Sunday 10 April

      Buller Gorge

      As nice it would be to say let's ride hotel to hotel - sometimes safety is more important. However, visibility in the upper gorge simply isn't worth the risk. Today we'll have our official traffic management vehicle behind us.

      Here's the plan.

      6am yoga.

      Just kidding.

      It's a relaxed start to the day for the cyclists. We will then offer the safest 100km of the approx. the 250km we have to travel. So, 150km in the toot toot. You could tick today off as a transition day. It's the only day where you can't ride hotel to hotel.

      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 so you can head off around the lake for a walk.

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



      Day 11, Monday 11 April

      Our last ride...

      Is a shade over 90km. By now that figure will seem really small. We've 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 a small country café near Spooners Tunnel. Originally built in 1891, the tunnel was dug by hand with two groups of men working at each end to meet in the middle and was a crucial connection between Nelson and Glenhope for 79 years. The intention was to eventually link Nelson with the West Coast, but the tunnel was never connected to the national rail network and closed in 1955, before reopening to cyclists and walkers a few years back.

      Let's celebrate tonight in one of Nelson's best restaurants. What an amazing trip. Let's recap - Starting in Queenstown we've covered the entire length of the Sothern Alps. How many lakes, gorges, passes?? More importantly - how many whitebait fritters?

      Seriously - could this have been any better!!! We doubt it.

      / Accommodation: Delorenzos Studio Apartments, Nelson
      / Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner



      Day 12, Tuesday 12 April

      Home James

      After breakfast we'll transfer you to the airport for your flight home. Thank you for travelling with Ride Holidays.

      We look forward to cycling with you again in the near future.

      Cheers,

      Karl and RH team

      Ps, we are happy to arrange accommodation for those wanting to depart Nelson later.





       

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