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Ride Rating System

The BAC has a Ride Rating system that can tell you what to expect while on one of our rides. Learn more...

New Zealand Westland & Tasman Off Road 2024

  • Arrival
  • 3/6/2024
  • Departure
  • 3/20/2024
  • Ride Coordinator
  • Grant McAlister
  • Tour Company
  • NZBicycletours Ltd
  • Starting Location
  • Christchurch, NZ
  • Finishing Location
  • Christchurch, NZ
  • Estimated Cost †
  • $5200
  • Deposit
  • $2200
  • Number of Riders
  • 9 (min. 7 /max. 17)
  • Space Available
  • 8
  • No. of Pending Riders
  • 0

Ride Rating


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† Explanation of BAC Ride Fee – This fee is not included in the Estimated Cost and is non-refundable once submitted. The Ride Fee for US and Canada is $85 and $100 for all other countries, both are per participant.

Ride Description

The South Island of New Zealand is one of the most amazing places to ride your bicycle and I think the best ways to enjoy this cycling is by using dedicated bike trails, gravel roads and quiet paved country roads. This tour is designed to showcase the best off-road cycling on the West Coast and upper region (Tasman) of the South Island.

After a short shuttle from Christchurch to Hilltop on the Banks Peninsula, we ride along the crater rim of the caldera formed by the Akaroa volcano 9 million years ago. Here we descend down to Okains bay with a gravel road climb back to the crater rim before descending down to Akaroa. We shuttle back to Hilltop to the Little River Trail and then across the Canterbury Plains to ride up the foothills of the Southern Alps where we get to spend a night at a wilderness lodge in the Arthurs Pass mountain area. 

We then make our way to the fabulous Western Wilderness Trail where you ride through the West Coast’s lush rainforest, pristine rivers, tranquil lakes and rugged beaches, with the snow-capped peaks of the Southern Alps as a truly sublime backdrop. The trail retraces old packhorse tracks, tramlines, railways, water races and historic bridges.

We have a rest day in Hokitika with many optional activities including a visit to the pounamu /Jade studios, taking scenic flights, a treetop walk, eco rafting or the Hokitika Gorge Walk.

The ride then heads north east on a combination of quiet paved & gravel roads including traversing through the wonderful dense beech forests of the Matakitaki Valley in the Buller River region. We then continue north, cycling on quiet country roads to join the Tasmans Great Taste Trail where we ride through the historic Spooners railway tunnel on our way to the Nelson area. From there it’s onward to the stunning coastline around Tasman Bay with fruit orchards & vineyards leading to our final destination overlooking the golden sand beach of Kaiteriteri, on the edge of Abel Tasman National Park. On your last full day of the tour, you may choose to spend the day cycling or on one of the excellent hiking, kayaking and water taxi options in the park area.

To give you a better idea of the stunning scenery on the tour I’ve created a short photo/video compilation from a previous visit.

This tour can be combined with the New Zealand Canterbury & Otago Off Road 2024 for those wanting to do back-to-back tours in NZ.

To avoid busy roads we have an initial shuttle of 60 minutes and short shuttles (30-50 min) at the start of day 3,5, 9 & 10   We have a 40-minute shuttle at the end of day 3 and an optional 5 min shuttle in the middle of the day 11.

Participants should be vaccinated for Covid and be prepared to present vaccination documentation for viewing by the Ride Leader, if requested.

Participants are expected to come to the tour in good health and ready to ride. Prior to the final payment for the tour, an infectious disease plan will be developed and communicated. The plan will identify possible actions for dealing with persons with an infectious disease on the tour that could affect their ability to ride or the health of others in the group. The plan will include items such as isolation protocols, testing, masking, distancing, and leaving the tour.

The tour has 11 required riding days with an average mileage of 42 and 2075 feet of climbing but due to the off road nature of the ride and that there are 4 days rated at 3B the overall ride rating is 3B. The cycling will be on purpose built Grade 1 & 2 (31%) cycle trails and  a small amount of Grade 3 trails (2%), gravel roads (13%) and paved roads with light traffic (54%). There are road or shuttle options available for those who prefer not to do the Grade 3 trails. A day-by-day itinerary with RWGPS links, daily mileage, elevation, mix of surface and type of cycle paths is available by contacting the Ride Coordinator.

While NZ Bicycle Tours will transfer luggage and be available for emergency support due to injury, illness or mechanical problems, it is expected that riders be willing to cycle the entire ride, except for group transfers or Grade 3 trails. On a number of days there will be portions of the trail that cannot be accessed by the support van. Rental bikes will be supplied with flat repair kits.

The temperatures in early March, at the end of NZ summer, are typically 55 – 70°F during the day and cooler at night but may be higher inland and lower near the coast. The weather is unpredictable in New Zealand including rain in the summer, so you will need clothing for a wide range of conditions including warm and water-proof clothing for cycling and walking.

If you bring your own bike, we recommend it be equipped with wider tires (min 42mm, 45+mm recommended) due to the off-road nature of the tour as well as sub 1:1 gearing as there are some sections with steeper grades. Your bike boxes will be stored in Christchurch at no additional cost. A limited number of E-Bikes are allowed on a case-by-case basis - contact the ride leader prior to signing up for the ride. Gravel E-bikes are a great option and have been used on this route with the participants noting that it made the tour feel like a 2B rated tour. This ride is not suitable for Tandems due to the nature of the off-road route.

Bike rentals are available through NZBicycletours ( NZBicycletours offers 24 speed Specialized Roll Elites (NZ$230), Norco Scene VLT E-bikes (NZD $750) and Specialized Creo E-bike (NZD $1000).

Accommodation is on a double room basis, with private facilities and are typically 3-4 star quality. Included in the tour price are 14 breakfasts, 9 lunches and 9 dinners, as well as a daily happy hour with snacks and drinks featuring NZ wines & craft beers and non-alcoholic drinks.  Note there is no happy hour on the rest day in Hokitika. 

The tour begins Friday late afternoon, March 6 at the Grange Bed & Breakfast in central Christchurch with introductions, and a safety & tour briefing. There are numerous transportation options from the airport to the hotel including public transit buses, Uber, taxi or Super Shuttle. The tour ends after breakfast on March 20th in Kaiteriteri (Kimi Ora Eco Resort) with free transfers to Nelson Airport or downtown Christchurch. 

Most participants will need a travel authorization to visit New Zealand for Tourism. Visa-exempt visitors (i.e. from the USA/Canada) entering New Zealand must obtain an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). Travelers can submit the eTA application online (23 NZD) or app (17 NZD), plus a IVL (Tourism Levy) of 35 NZD. Once the application is approved, travelers receive their eTA confirmation electronically which is then linked to a passport and valid for up to 2 years. 

The tour cost of $5200 per person is based on a currency exchange rate of $1 USD equals 1.48 NZD. The current exchange rate is currently more favorable but fluctuates. Depending on currency exchange rates, there may be an adjustment in the amount of the final payment. The tour price covers vans to transport us and luggage, bike box storage, cycling snacks, drinks and water, RWGPS routes (FIT, TCX, GPX, Cue Sheets, Maps) and happy hour expenses featuring NZ wines and craft beers. 

The price does not include airfare to Christchurch or any other flights, entry fees to any additional optional activities, all beverages at included dinners or everyday gratuities. Guide gratuities are at participant discretion but a standard range would be $100 to $150 USD for the tour. At the end of the tour, riders will receive a refund of any remaining money in the budget. The final payment of $3000 is due on Dec 1, 2023.

There are a very limited number of solo supplements available at $1757 based on the currency exchange rate of $1 USD equals 1.48NZD.  Solo supplement payments need to be sent to the BAC office by Sept 1, 2023. Checks should be made out to “BAC” with a notation of the tour name included on the check. They should be mailed to: Bicycle Adventure Club, PO Box 23998, San Diego, CA 92193.

We encourage single riders who are willing to share a room to sign up. We will assist with the search for a suitable roommate. Singles will be asked to stay on the pending list until they find a roommate. There will be a limited time frame to do so if there are more BAC members registered on the waitlist.

The BAC Ride Registration Fee and Payment Processing Fees are not refundable unless the entire tour is canceled because the number of participants registered is less than the minimum established for the tour. Refunds of tour payments will depend upon whether a replacement rider signs up, and on costs that can be recouped. The amount refunded will be based on the principle that the tour’s remaining participants will not incur any additional cost as a result of cancellations. If the canceling participant is replaced, a refund will be made at that time. If the canceling participant can't be replaced, any refund will be determined after the ride and final expense report are completed. If a single participant cancels and another roommate cannot be found, in addition to other costs that cannot be recouped the canceling roommate may also be liable for the solo supplement fee of the roommate remaining on the tour. BAC encourages members to purchase trip cancellation insurance.

Please remember that BAC Ride Leaders are volunteers, and that successful tours depend on participants providing much of their own support. Participants are expected to come to the ride well trained, in good health and ready to accomplish the required daily riding using well-maintained bicycles. All participants should accept responsibility for a safe and enjoyable tour. We encourage you to read the ride description carefully and respond to requests from the Ride Leader. While on the ride, support your Ride Leader with offers to help with various tasks such as happy hour preparation and cleanup. Please do not interfere with the ride by inviting non-participants onto any portion of the ride or tour. Please keep the Ride Leader informed of any special request you might have and respect the Ride Leader’s decisions.

Before participating in any BAC tour, you should assess whether your medical and travel insurance coverage is sufficient. BAC maintains insurance that covers expenses related to accidents, medical emergencies such as sudden and unexpected sickness, and repatriation. This coverage applies when touring outside the US and your home country, regardless of your nationality. It will cover you door-to-door for a maximum of 90 days but will expire if you make a side trip not related to the BAC tour for more than 7 days before or after. There is limited coverage for a family member to join a covered person in an emergency. The policy covers the cost of treatment for Covid and other unexpected illnesses, but not quarantine. You should ensure that your vaccinations are up to date. Coverage is subject to a $1000 deductible.

To register for this ride, use the sign-up links just above the Ride Description. After preliminary acceptance, you will be moved to the pending list and receive an email requesting you to go back to the BAC site to digitally accept the terms of the Release of Liability (ROL), and pay the Tour Deposit of $2200 and the non-refundable BAC Ride Registration Fee by credit card.. As soon as your deposit has been processed, your name(s) will be added to the Participant List. BAC members with questions may contact the Ride Director by "clicking" the name at the top of this Ride Description.

Bicycle Adventure Club
PO BOX 23998 San Diego, CA 92193
Telephone (858) 715-9510

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