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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 Canterbury & Otago Off Road 2025

  • Arrival
  • 2/7/2025
  • Departure
  • 2/21/2025
  • Ride Coordinator
  • Grant McAlister
  • Tour Company
  • NZBicycletours Ltd
  • Starting Location
  • Christchurch, NZ
  • Finishing Location
  • Christchurch, NZ
  • Estimated Cost †
  • $5360
  • Deposit
  • $2300
  • Number of Riders
  • 1 (min. 10 /max. 16)
  • Space Available
  • 15
  • No. of Pending Riders
  • 0

Ride Rating

2B  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

The South Island of New Zealand is one of the most stunning places to ride your bicycle and lucky for us New Zealand has built 23 amazing dedicated bike trails across the South Island. This tour is designed around the best parts of the six cycle trails in the Canterbury and Otago regions.

After shuttling to Gearldin in the South Canterbury Region , we start the tour riding gravel roads through rolling sheep farming country and across the MacKenzie Pass to arrive in Tekapo, the start of the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail (A2O). The A2O’s amazing vistas include views of NZ’s highest mountain - Aoraki/Mt Cook, Mackenzie’s turquoise hydro-lakes and golden tussock with braided rivers threading across broad glacier-carved valleys. As the name suggests, we ride our way down from the Alps to the Ocean including passing through the stunning Lake Benmore trail section finishing up the A2O in Oamaru for a rest day where you can explore its Victorian Precinct and visit the Blue Penguin Colony

We then transfer to Central Otago to cycle part of the oldest cycle trail in New Zealand, the Otago Central Rail Trail. This trail features spectacular railway bridges/tunnels/viaducts, abandoned gold diggings and the option to visit the Hayes Engineering & Homestead ‘the home of Kiwi ingenuity’. Next we cycle gravel roads amongst large standing rocks called Schist tors to the Poolburn Reservoir (Power of the Dog and Lord of the Rings movie location) and back onto the trail to finish in Alexandra.

From Alexandra we shuttle to Beaumont to ride the Clutha Gold Trail which starts with remote and beautiful Beaumont Gorge and continues with views of striking natural landforms from rocky gorges to bald mountain ranges. 

We continue onto the Roxburgh Gorge Trail by cycling over the impressive Roxburgh Hydro Dam for an out and back to Shingle Creek. This route takes travelers into a rugged and isolated landscape with stunning vistas across the Lake Roxburgh and secluded valleys with regenerating Ka-nuka (tea tree) scrubland.  After shuttling back to Alexandra there is the option to do the final piece of the Roxburgh Gorge Trail, an out and back to Doctors Point with views of stone-walled water races, and other remnants of gold mining activity.

Next, we get to enjoy the newest star of the cycle trails via the Alexandra river track, the Lake Dunstan Trail. This trail has fantastic views of Cromwell Gorge’s lake and mountain scenery with a world class trail that features boardwalk sections around craggy bluffs, a 282 foot suspension bridge, and impressive rock walls. 

We have a short shuttle to start the Queenstown trail that links Queenstown, Arrowtown and the Gibbston Valley.  Highlights include breathtaking views of the sheer mountain ranges, many lakes & rivers and the ability to view early settler history in buildings, bridges and gold mining sites along with many cafes/pubs & shopping.

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 East Coast South Island 2025 for those wanting to do back-to-back tours in NZ.

To avoid busy roads we have an initial shuttle of 2 hours, an additional 1.5 hour shuttle at the beginning of Day 9 and two days (12, 14) with short shuttles (30-60 minutes) at the beginning and end of the ride. 

The ride is rated 2B with 12 required riding days based on an average daily distance of 39 miles and 1820 feet of climbing. The ride includes 2 days above the 2B rating, day 3 (3B) with 43 miles and 3070 feet of climbing as well as day 7 (2C) with 51 miles & 1985 feet of climbing.

The cycling will mostly be on purpose built Grade 1 & 2 (50%) cycle trails and a small amount of Grade 3 trails (5%), gravel roads (15%) and paved roads with light traffic (30%). 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.

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.

The temperatures in February, late-summer, are typically 60 – 75°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 one level easier. This ride is not suitable for Tandems due to the nature of the off-road route.

Bike rentals are available through NZBicycletours ( NZBicycletours offers Specialized Roll Elite (230 NZD), Specialized Diverge (500 NZD), Norco Scene e-bike (750 NZD) and Specialized Creo e-bike (1000 NZD) .

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 7 dinners, as well as a daily happy hour with snacks and drinks featuring NZ wines and craft beers and non-alcoholic drinks.  Note there is no happy hour on the rest day in Oamaru. 

The tour begins Friday late afternoon, Feb 7th at the Grange Bed & Breakfast in central Christchurch with introductions, and a safety and 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 Feb 21st in Cromwell (Carrick Motor Lodge) 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 $5360 per person based on a currency exchange rate of $1 USD equals 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 covers vans to transport luggage and provide shuttles when required, 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 $3060 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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