Bike The South
Queenstown Cycle Trail & Otago Rail Trail
Day 1 - Queenstown & Lake Hayes - 48km
We travel a short distance to Lake Hayes where your guide will fit you out with your bike. The first ride is an easy 8km circumnavigation of the lake.
From here we commence, a lovely easy grade cycle trail from Lake Hayes to the Shotover River past Queenstown Airport to Frankton. We then sidle beneath the willow trees alongside the Frankton Arm on The Kelvin Peninsula of Lake Wakatipu 24km.
Here we take in the views of the peaks surrounding Lake Wakatipu - the Remarkable Ranges, Cecil & Walter Peaks as well as Ben Lomond - which are stunning and provide a wonderful backdrop to this ride.
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On reaching the end of the Kelvin Peninsula we can either ride into Queenstown or travel in the support vehicle. (16km). We will have time to wander around Queenstown before departing to our accommodation in Arrowtown.
Day 2 - Arrowtown to Gibbston - 24km
Clyde to Alexandra - 14km
Today we cycle from our accommodation along the Arrow River. Cross over two very impressive suspension bridges and over the historic Kawarau Bridge to the AJ Hackett bungy centre (13km).
Take a break and watch tourists take their jumps, before we continue cycling into the Gibbston Valley, high above the mighty Kawarau River, to a boutique winery where we enjoy a picnic vineyard platter lunch (11km).
Enjoy a wine tasting in this lovely setting. After lunch relax on the bus for the scenic drive following the Kawarau River to Clyde.
The afternoon cycle is a 14km ride beneath the willow trees, from Clyde to Alexandra, following the Clutha River. We transfer back to the delightful village of Clyde and our accommodation where you can have a walk around the historic precinct to appreciate the gold mining history of the township.
Day 3 - Roxburgh Gorge Trail and Clutha Gold Cycle Trail - 47km
This morning we travel a short distance to Alexandra where the Roxburgh Gorge Cycle Trail begins. The trail through the Roxburgh Gorge is just stunning and will take your breath away. A 10km cycle is followed by a scenic jet boat transfer from Doctors Point to Shingle Creek, followed by another 10km cycle to the Roxburgh Dam.
At the Roxburgh Dam we start the Clutha Gold cycle trail to Millers Flat (27km).
This section features orchards as well as gold mining relics which makes for a very pleasant scenic ride.
At Millers Flat we finish for the day, and then travel to our overnight accommodation at Lake Roxburgh.
Day 4 - Lake Roxburgh to Wanaka - 33km
Today we travel from Roxburgh to Luggate where we start the ride along the Clutha River Outlet Trail from Luggate all the way to Wanaka (33km).
For the balance of the afternoon relax and explore the laid back town of Wanaka where stay tonight.
Day 5 - Lake Hawea and the Hawea River
Trail - 40km
Today we travel by bus to a point almost halfway up Lake Hawea (Some say Lake Hawea is the most picturesque lake in the region). We then cycle back along the shores of Lake Hawea to the sleepy settlement of Lake Hawea village.
Here we join the picturesque Hawea River Trail which ambles its way all the way to Albert Town. An excellent relaxing ride alongside this crystal river to finish our first 5 days of riding around this world renowned outdoor paradise.
We transfer back to the delightful village of Clyde and our accommodation for the night
Day 6 Clyde to Lauder - 44km
The actual Rail Trail ride starts today. We leave Clyde, crossing the flat rural countryside until Chatto Creek..... where we stop for lunch. The trail then starts to rise before levelling off at Omakau, where we briefly leave the trail and take a short ride around the quaint township of Ophir.
In the afternoon we make a side trip in the bus to the historic gold-mining town of St Bathan’s, and walk around the beautiful Blue Lake...... with a mandatory stop at the Vulcan Hotel!
The highlights of today are the wooden trestle Muttontown Viaduct; the Old Tucker Hill gold diggings; views of the Dunstan Mountains and Raggedy Range; and (hopefully) sighting brown trout in the Manuherikia River.
At the end of the day we drive back to Lauder, for a relaxing drink at the pub before dinner.
Our accommodation tonight is at the charming (converted) historic Lauder Store.
Day 7 Lauder to Ranfurly - 35km
On the third day we cycle through two tunnels and over two rail bridges. Below us at the time are a willow tree edged gorge and welcoming river pools. We finally emerge into the scenic Idaburn valley, and then have a last easy climb up to the summit of the trail. We then enjoy the descent down to the art deco township of Ranfurly
The highlights of today include the engineering marvel of the Poolburn Gorge Viaduct and tunnels; the vast wide open Ida Valley (made famous by the artist Grahame Sydney); the Idaburn dam (known for its winter curling); and a trip to Hayes Engineering Works (Hayes invented the wire strainer, pulley block and cattle stop at the beginning of the 20th century); and visiting the town of Wedderburn.
We also drive to Naseby, which is a small forestry township, and play a game of curling (if you can imagine bowls on ice then you are on the right track....they have the only dedicated curling rink in the Southern Hemisphere). We continue on to the famous Kyeburn gold diggings and the historic Dansy’s Pass Inn......... where we dine and stay at the end of the day.
Day 8 Ranfurly to Hyde - 46km
We head off from the Dansey’s Pass Inn to the Real Dog Equipment Company, to see the famous Antarctic huskies and Alaskan malamutes in action...... before starting the ride for the day (which has some of the best riding of the trip). We follow the trail from Waipiata to the edge of an old lake, before entering the Taieri Gorge. The trail then crosses through further tunnels and bridges......... before a fast downhill to the end of todays cycling at Hyde.
The highlights of today’s cycle include crossing the vast Maniototo Plains; following the Taieri River as it snakes around the Rock and Pillar Range; crossing the stone bridge over Cap Burn; and experiencing the 32 metre high Price’s Creek Viaduct, and the 152 metre long tunnel.
Tonight we return to Ranfurly where we stay for the night.
Day 9 Hyde to Middlemarch - 27km (all downhill)
The highlight of the final day’s ride includes views of the Rock and Pillar and Taieri Ranges; the Hyde Railway Disaster memorial; and dropping down into the Strath Taieri Plain.
We end at Middlemarch – which is a small farming town that is well known for the Easter singles Ball. Girls travel there to meet eligible rugged young Southern Men who come down to the ball from their hill country stations.
In the afternoon we make our way back to Queenstown.
Alternatively you can catch a shuttle back to Clyde or Queenstown, or extend your holiday with a ride on the historic Taieri Gorge Railway (additional cost) and finish in Dunedin.