New Zealand Cycling – South Island
- Cycle from the Southern Alps to the Pacific on New Zealand's South Island.
- Ride on New Zealand's original great ride, the Central Otago Rail Trail.
- Explore the university town of Dunedin and the beautifully located Queenstown.
- Taste award-winning wine and Kiwi cuisine.
- Extend your stay with an optional overnight cruise on Milford Sound.
New Zealand's quiet country roads and bike trails offer abundant opportunity to see the country’s amazing landscapes and laid-back lifestyle up close.
The snow-capped peaks of the Southern Alps and turquoise blue glacier-fed lakes provide the perfect backdrop as we begin our cycle tour. Ride through the Mackenzie Basin as majestic Mt. Cook sits high on the horizon. We pass lush green pastures, sandy beaches, rugged hills, and volcanic landforms en route to the Pacific Ocean.
Continuing, we cycle our way through the historic port city of Oamaru and the vibrant university town of Dunedin on its scenic harbor. Pedal inland through the Central Otago region’s rolling hills, award-winning wine, and original great ride—the Otago Central Rail Trail.
Our tour ends with a heart-pumping finale summiting the Crown Range as we enter beautiful Queenstown. Along the way, our nightly accommodations let us visit with locals and gain insight into Kiwi culture.
Extend your cycle tour with an optional Milford Sound Overnight Cruise extension for an exceptional Kiwi adventure.
Important Notice: Day 1 is the day you should plan to arrive at the meeting point for the trip. This may require departing your hometown one or more days in advance and traveling on an overnight flight.
New Zealand Cycling – South Island Itinerary:
Day 1 Begin with a short but challenging ride on the Banks Peninsula.
Day 2 Pedal along braided rivers and pastoral landscapes.
Day 3 Cycle past New Zealand's highest peak, Mt. Cook.
Day 4 Elephant Rocks, Steampunk headquarters, and otherworldly sightings.
Day 5 Explore the coastal cities of Oamaru and Dunedin today.
Day 6 Cycle the Otago Peninsula, home to Yellow-Eyed Penguins and Albatross.
Day 7 Ride into the impressive Central Otago region, home of award-winning wine.
Day 8 Glimpse New Zealand's gold-mining past and taste today's "gold"—wine.
Day 9 Ride to Wanaka, a hub for winter and summer outdoor activities.
Day 10 Cycle New Zealand's highest paved road before cruising into Queenstown.
Day 11 Depart for home or extend with an optional tour to Milford Sound.
Explore even more with an optional Milford Sound Overnight Cruise Extension.
Although we do our very best to adhere to the schedule listed above, this itinerary is subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control.
Our trip price includes bicycles perfectly designed for the terrain we encounter during our two-wheeled tour of New Zealand's South Island: High-quality, reliable Trek 7500 aluminum-frame hybrid bikes. Bikes are equipped with a rear and/or front rack bag, odometers, and a collapsible "Create Space" side flags. Should you wish to bring your own seat and pedals, your guides will gladly mount them on your bike at the beginning of the trip.
All accommodations; meals as noted in the daily itinerary; cycling guides; support vehicle; bikes (Trek 21 speed hybrid touring bikes, equipped with a small handlebar bag); sightseeing as noted in the itinerary.
Round-trip airfare, airport/hotel transfers, 1 dinner, travel insurance, excess baggage charges, alcoholic beverages and items of a personal nature. Please bring your own bike helmet.
Please check with us before purchasing your airline tickets to ensure your trip has the necessary minimum number of participants required to operate.
If you are traveling alone and specifically request single accommodations, you will be asked to pay the full single supplement noted on the trip itinerary. If you wish to share accommodations, we will assign you a roommate if one is available. If a roommate cannot be found, you will be asked to pay a reduced single fee which is one- half of the full single supplement. Please be advised that there are a limited number of single accommodations available.
Seasons in New Zealand are the opposite from those in North America. We operate our trips late spring through summer, which run November through the end of March in New Zealand. Daytime temperatures are in the 70s and nights cool off to the 50s. The weather is variable and changes often. Rain can be expected at some point on the trip; the west coast is notably damp so adequate rain gear is essential.
This trip is rated Moderate . Although a support vehicle will be available, participants should be experienced cyclists who enjoy spending much of the day (3-7 hours) on their bikes. Some stretches of road will have traffic, but those routes are kept to a minimum. The countryside in New Zealand varies from flat plains to mountainous so a regular conditioning program beginning at least three months prior to departure is strongly recommended. Cycling, walking/running and a daily stretching regimen are all great ways to prepare for this adventure. Some of the most important qualifications for any trip without standard tourist facilities are a spirit of adventure and a positive attitude.
This trip is subject to the booking information set forth in the current REI Adventures Reservation Information. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A full gear list and pre-departure information is sent upon sign-up. We highly recommend the purchase of travel insurance through REI Adventures. If coverage is purchased at the time of your initial reservation, the 'Pre-existing Conditions Exclusion' is waived (certain exclusions apply).
We look forward to having you join us for the trip of a lifetime! Why wait? Space is limited, reserve your adventure today.
New Zealand Cycling – South Island
The key to staying comfortable while on an active trip is layering. To get maximum comfort with minimum weight, you need versatile layers that mix and match to create the right amount of insulation, ventilation and weather protection. This gear list has been created to help you in choosing your equipment for the trip. Try to bring only what is necessary, as this will help you and the field staff.
- Trek 7500 hybrid bike, 21-speed
- Flat pedals (basket cages optional)
- Rear and/or front rack bag
- Safety side flags
- Water bottle cages (2)
- Valid passport
- Airline tickets
- One piece of luggage, wheels and a retractable handle are recommended
- Daypack or carry-on bag
- Luggage tags and locks
- Security wallet or money belt
- Sweater and/or light jacket and/or windbreaker
- Long pants
- Long sleeve shirt
- Sun hat
- Cycling jerseys, short and long sleeve
- Cycling tights or pants
- Cycling shorts
- Cycling raingear, jacket and pants, waterproof and breathable
- Cycling vest
- Arm and/or leg warmers
- Cycling gloves, both short and long fingered
- Headband, sweatband, beanie, etc.
- Cycling socks
- Cycling shoes (see "Things to Consider")
- Walking shoes or sandals
- Sport/cycling sunglasses
- Sunblock and lip balm
- Toiletry kit
- Personal first-aid kit
- Water bottle(s) or hydration pack
- Camera, memory, batteries, charger
- Electrical adapter plug/converter
- Ear plugs
- Reading and writing materials
- Watch with alarm or travel clock
- Laundry bag, cord and soap
- Bike rear view mirror
- Shoe and pedal system
- Heart rate monitor
- Saddle (without the post) or gel seat cover
- Favorite energy snacks / drinks
Things to Consider
- Always pack essential items such as your passport, REI Adventures trip final bulletin, money, eyewear, medications and a change of clothes in your carry-on baggage, in case your luggage is delayed.
- We recommend bright-colored bicycle clothing for visibility and safety.
- Always test your clothing layers before a trip. Your outer layer should fit easily over the inside ones without binding.
- If you are not bringing a shoe and pedal system (optional), you will need a shoe designed for cycling or cross training to be used with the provided flat pedals (toe clips are optional). Consider these features: lightweight, closed toe, designed with stiffer soles to provide more efficient energy transfer as you pedal. Stiff soles protect your feet while riding and support the full length of your foot to reduce cramping and fatigue.
- If you bring your own saddle, please bring only the seat and not the seat post. Seat posts are not universal and will likely not fit the bike you'll be riding. You are welcome to bring a gel seat cover for use on the provided saddle.
- Formal attire is not required at restaurants. Comfortable, casual clothes are appropriate for sit-down meals. We suggest bringing slacks, shorts that are mid-thigh or longer, skirts, or summer dresses in fabrics that are easy to wash and wear.
Feel free to give us a call at (800) 622-2236 should you have any questions regarding the gear list. The staff at our stores and Direct Sales (800-426-4840) will also be happy to help you with gear questions. Or check out www.rei.com/learn. The Expert Advice section on our "Learn" page has great information to help you prepare for your trip.
New Zealand Cycling – South Island
Conclude your New Zealand Cycling adventure with an overnight cruise in iconic Milford Sound
Milford Sound Overnight Cruise Extension
Activity: Overnight Cruise
Following the New Zealand Cycling – South Island tour, continue your adventure with a relaxing cruise that showcases the natural beauty of Milford Sound. Highlights include:
- Spacious viewing decks and comfortable dining area
- Twin-share cabins with private bathrooms
- Three course evening meal and cooked breakfast
- Kayaking and tender craft (small boat) activities included
- Specialist nature guide on board
- Wildlife viewing
Price: from $450
Scheduled Trip Dates:
Scheduled Trip Dates:
REI member: from $450
REI member: TBA
- Total Days: 2
- Group Size: up to 60 passengers
- Activity Level:
* These dates are scheduled to coordinate with the ending dates of our New Zealand Cycling trips.
Alternative cruise dates are available for those who prefer more flexible scheduling. Space is limited. Call us for details.
For an ultimate Kiwi experience, no trip would be complete without a visit to Milford Sound. Spend the night aboard a cruise boat and wake up to the dawn of a new day in one of the most beautiful places on earth. The cruise style is relaxed, allowing plenty of time to view the fiord's spectacular waterfalls, rainforest, mountains and wildlife. You're bound to encounter seals and if you're lucky maybe dolphin and penguins.
For those continuing on to the Milford Sound overnight cruise, Milford Sound is about a 5-6 hours (one-way) drive from Queenstown. Through our travel partner, Real Journeys, you will board a comfortable coach from your hotel in Queenstown. Departure time is approximately 8:30a.m.The experienced coach drivers know all the right places to stop and take in the magnificent views of the Milford Road. Along the way, they will provide you with informative commentary about the region, its history and natural surroundings.
Upon arrival in the late afternoon, guests will check in and be notified of their embarkation time. Depart from the Milford Sound wharf in the late afternoon and cruise the full length of Milford Sound accompanied by a naturalist guide. They’ll explain the history and geology of the area and be on hand to answer your questions. The boat then anchors in a sheltered cove, where you can join the nature guide and explore in the vessel’s tender craft (small boat) and kayaks. Or, if you prefer, you can simply relax on deck and soak in the beauty of this amazing place or go for a swim if you’re brave enough.
This evening, enjoy a delicious buffet in the dining saloon, prepared freshly by our onboard chef. Then relax in the company of fellow travelers or indulge in some star-gazing before retiring to your private cabin. Dinner included.
Optional kayaking: 30 minutes to 1 hour; Driving: 5-6 hours
This morning dig into a hearty breakfast before heading back out to the Tasman Sea (weather permitting) and exploring more of the fiord. Guests will disembark the boat by 10a.m. The motorcoach will arrive back in Queenstown by 3:30p.m. A scenic return flight option (weather permitting - not advisable for customers with connecting flights or other restricted travel arrangements) can be arranged. Breakfast included.
Note on Itinerary
Although we do our very best to adhere to the schedule above, this itinerary is subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control including weather and terrain conditions.
All single travelers must pay the single rate.
Meals from dinner on Day 1 to breakfast on Day 2, accommodations, transfers and activities described in the itinerary; professional guiding services.
Alcoholic beverages and soft drinks; items of a personal nature; gratuities; insurance of any kind; international flights & airport departure tax; extra costs due to late arrivals and other circumstances beyond our control.
This cruise is rated Relaxed . This is a cruise itinerary with sight-seeing being the primary focus. This trip is perfectly suited for active people in good health with a spirit of adventure and an interest in learning more about the natural world.
Price: from $450