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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...

Ride Info

Ride Overview

New Zealand East Coast South Island 2025

  • Arrival
  • 1/18/2025
  • Departure
  • 2/1/2025
  • Ride Coordinator
  • Grant McAlister
  • Tour Company
  • NZBicycletours Ltd
  • Starting Location
  • Christchurch, NZ
  • Finishing Location
  • Christchurch, NZ
  • Estimated Cost †
  • $5440
  • Deposit
  • $2300
  • Number of Riders
  • 8 (min. 10 /max. 16)
  • Space Available
  • 8
  • No. of Pending Riders
  • 0

Ride Rating

2C  Warning - Read the Description Carefully

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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

This tour showcases the often overlooked East Coast of NZ South Island which holds some stunning scenery, fantastic riding and an abundance of quiet country roads. The tour travels through open sheep grazing country, farmlands, coastal roads and sections of native bush with great views of the coast and mountains. We will stay in a mix of small rural towns and tourist hotspots while winding our way down the east coast, turn inland to the Southlands to a finish in the Fiordland, home to the famous Doubtful & Milford Sound. 

The first day of the 15 day tour begins in the afternoon with bike assembly, a test bike ride around Hagley Park followed by tour review, happy hour and then dinner. The next day in Christchurch we cycle up and along the Port Hills overlooking the Canterbury Plains and Southern Alps with stunning panoramic views of the city, harbor and bay. We shuttle by van to Kaikoura, with a stop along the way for a farm tour to watch a sheep dog at work moving sheep and learn about farming in New Zealand  In Kaikoura you have the opportunity to explore the famous coastal scenery with a short ride or optional whale watching/kayaking/hiking.

From Kaikoura we ride inland and uphill along the foot of the inland Kaikoura range to Culverdon. Out of Culverden we cycle along gentle terrain passing through small farming communities on quiet country roads on our way to Oxford. Leaving Oxford we ride along the foothills of the Southern Alps before crossing the Rakaia gorge with sweeping views of the Mid-Canterbury high country on our way to Methven, our destination for the day. We shuttle to Geraldine to cycle through the scenic Pareora Gorge finishing the day in Oamaru, a well preserved Victorian town with a famous Blue Penguin colony, home to the world's smallest penguins. We head south out of Oamaru on lovely coastal roads with a short transfer to avoid busy Highway 1 and then back to a mainly coastal route through the pretty seaside village of Karitane with an optional climb over Mount Cargill followed by a descent into Dunedin. We have a rest day in Dunedin with plenty of activities to choose from including an optional ride on the Otago Peninsula with its marine wildlife center. 

Following our rest day, we transfer down to Balclutha again skipping Highway 1 to the start of the Southern Scenic Route making our way through Papatowai with its idiosyncratic Lost Gypsy automata gallery and then onward to McLeans Falls taking in the lovely coastal vistas on the way. The next day depending on the tides we may have the opportunity to walk to Cathedral Caves.  Afterwards we cycle through undulating country and native forests that transition to open farmland on our way to our destination of Invercargill where you will have the option to visit Transport World, a very large private automotive museum. Heading west we cycle through Riverton, an eclectic and quirky coastal town surrounded by stunning natural beauty on the way to our destination for the evening, Tuatapere, claimed to be the “Sausage Capital of the world” and the center of the Southland farming community. Having arrived at the south west end of the island we head north from Tuatepere through Clifden with an opportunity to view a 19th century historic suspension bridge and then a nice climb over Blackmont hill to Te Anau, the gateway to the Fiordland National Park which is home to the world famous Doubtful and Milford Sound. On our last full day we explore Doubtful Sound by first taking a boat across Lake Manapouri and then a 3 hour cruise of the Sound. We will spend the night in Te Anau before finishing with breakfast the next day and transfer to Queenstown airport or back to Christchurch.

Where possible we have selected quiet roads to maximize your enjoyment and will transfer around the busier roads. NZ Bicycle Tours will support our ride. This company is based in Christchurch and the owners are experienced cyclists and guides.

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 Canty and Otago Off Road 2025 for those wanting to do back-to-back tours in NZ.

To avoid busy roads we have an initial shuttle of 3.5 hours to Kaikoura, an optional 30 minute shuttle at the beginning of day 3 & 4. On day 7 there is a 60 minute shuttle at both the beginning and end. Day eight has a 30 minute shuttle in the middle of the ride and an optional 20 minute shuttle at the end. On day 10 there is a 60 minute shuttle at the beginning of the day to Balclutha.

The ride is rated 2C with 10 required riding days based on an average daily distance of 48.6 miles and 2385 feet of climbing. The ride includes 4 days above the 2C rating, three days at 3B (49 miles max & 3200 max feet of climbing), and the final day at 3C (62.3 miles and 2585 feet of climbing). Many days have additional routes for riders wanting longer rides and there are optional routes on rest days including rides up to a 3D rating. A day-by-day itinerary with daily mileage and elevation is available by contacting the Ride Coordinator.

As with most BAC tours, this tour is for independent experienced cyclists. We do not stay together as a group on the road and do not have a “guide” with us at all times. The luggage van is primarily a luggage transport vehicle but is available for injuries or illnesses. The luggage van is not a “sag” and riders should arrive for the tour ready to ride the distance and not expecting to be “sagged”, except for group transfers.

Participants must be vaccinated for Covid and will be asked to provide verification. Participants are expected to come to the tour in good health and ready to ride. Should someone's health become compromised and the group’s health and safety placed in jeopardy, a plan will be developed by the ride leader(s) and communicated to all individuals. The expectation is for the group to work together to mitigate any spread of infection or illness as a means to ensure the tour can continue as planned.

If you bring your own bike, we recommend it be equipped with wider tires for your comfort due to the chip seal roads typical of New Zealand. Your bike boxes will be stored in Christchurch at no additional cost. Tandems are allowed on a case by case basis - contact the ride leader prior to signing up for the ride. E-bikes are a great option with previous participants noting that it made the tour feel one level lower. Bike rentals are available through NZBicycletours ( and are equipped with lower range rear cassettes for easier climbing. NZBicycletours offers Specialized Roubaix (600 NZD), Norco Scene e-bike (690 NZD), Specialized Creo e-bike (900 NZD) or Cannondale T2 tandem rentals (600 NZD).

The temperatures in January, mid-summer, are typically 70 – 77°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, so you will need clothing for a wide range of conditions including warm and water-proof clothing for cycling and walking.

Accommodation is on a double room basis, with private facilities and are typically 3-4 star quality. Included in the tour price are 14 hotel nights, 14 breakfasts, 8 lunches and 8 dinners, as well as a daily happy hour with snacks and drinks featuring NZ wines & craft beers and non-alcoholic drinks. Note that there is no happy hour on the second night in Dunedin and the first night in Te Anau.

The tour begins Saturday late afternoon, Jan 18 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 ride ends on the morning of Feb 1 in Te Anau with free transfers to Queenstown airport or downtown Christchurch. 

Most participants (i.e. from the USA/Canada) will need to obtain an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA).  Travelers can submit the eTA application online (23 NZD) or via the NZeTA app which is available for free from both the Apple App store and Google Play (17 NZD). At the time you pay for the NZeTA you will be required to pay for the International VIsitor Conservation and 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 is $5440 per person based on a currency exchange rate of $1 USD equal to 1.515 NZD. Depending on currency exchange rates, there may be an adjustment in the amount of the final payment. In addition to the lodging and meal costs previously described, the tour price also covers departure transfers to Queenstown or Christchurch on Day 15, vans to transport  luggage and provide shuttles when required, Doubtful Sound trip (Day 14), cycling snacks, drinks and water, maps and route notes 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, 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. The final payment of $3140 is due on Sept 1, 2024.

There are a very limited number of solo supplements available at $1650 based on the currency exchange rate of $1 USD equals 1.515 NZD. Solo supplement payments need to be sent to the BAC office by Sept 1, 2024. 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. It is recommended that singles who want a roommate try to find their own.  We will assist as required 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 $2300 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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