Queenstown is a real show-off and you will experience it all.
Your tour starts at Lake Hayes and spends 2 days on the Queenstown Cycle Trail under the soaring heights of the Remarkables mountain range and framed by the meandering coves of Lake Wakatipu.
The surrounding Central Otago region is known for its Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vineyards, and we cycle the Roxburgh Cycle Trail and the Clutha Gold Trail followed by 2 days in the spectacular and tranquil Wanaka region riding the cycle trails alongside the mighty Clutha River and Lakes Wanaka and Hawea.
Your tour then continues on the world famous Otago Rail Trail. Trains typically travel through hills, around hills but (if it can be avoided) not uphill (the maximum gradient is 2%).
The Rail Trail runs for 150kms between Clyde and Middlemarch (close to Dunedin), passing through the towns of Clyde, Alexandra, Chatto Creek, Omakau, Lauder, Oturehua, Wedderburn, Ranfurly, Waipiata and Hyde.
7-12 Day Tour
9 days / 8 nights
An average level of fitness. Walk 12kms, Bike 25kms. Well formed tracks and roads with average incline.
We can build a tour especially for your group, please enquire for dates available.
Queenstown and Lake Hayes
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.
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.
Arrowtown to Alexandra
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.
Roxburgh Gorge Trail and Clutha Gold Trail
Modern Lakeside Lodge
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.
Lake Dunstan Cycle Trail to Wanaka
Lake Dunstan Cycle Trail – You will be amazed at the skills of trail builders with sections built out around sheer rock faces.
You will cycle at the base of the stonework faces of the Cairnmuir slide, a unique feature high on the slopes above the lake. It was designed to protect the river from a major land slide, which could overwhelm the Clutha Dam, a short distance downstream. Also look out for the drainage tunnels dotted along the length of the gorge. There are 13 tunnels (total 18.5km of tunnels) drilled into the hillsides of the gorge in the mid 1990’s. These tunnels are also used to mitigate against landslips into the Clutha River.
A dominant feature at the Clyde end of the trail is New Zealand’s third largest hydro-dam, the Clyde Dam. This was one of the ‘’Think Big” projects driven by the Muldoon led Government to diversify the economy and drive growth. Started construction 1977. The first power was generated in 1992
As the trail continues past Cornish Point it passes by vineyards and olive groves – with views back across to Cromwell and the Heritage Precinct. Along the way there are sections where the land has been reshaped in the search for gold and then again when the lake was formed.
Following the Kawarau arm of Lake Dunstan to the Bannockburn bridge, you will have amazing vistas across the lake to Bannockburn vineyards and the next section of trail which loops back round on the opposite side.
The Trail then wends its way alongside Lake Dunstan from Cromwell via Pisa Moorings to Smiths Way the final stop of your Lake Dunstan Cycle Trail journey.
For the balance of the afternoon relax and explore the laid back town of Wanaka where stay tonight.
Lake Hawea and the Hawea River Trail
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.
Clyde to Lauder
Lauder Store Accommodation
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.
Lauder to Ranfurly
Dansy's Pass Inn
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.
Ranfurly to Hyde
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.
Hyde to Middlemarch
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.
Double or twin share. If single room accommodation is requested, an additional fee per person is payable to cover this requirement for the duration of the tour.
You will enjoy great local cuisine; continental breakfasts and hearty packed lunches during the day, and either restaurant meals or wholesome home-cooked fare prepared by your host/hostess in the evenings.If you have any dietary issues or food allergies, we are happy to cater for these, please advise the office of details when you make your booking. All meals are included in your tour cost except your evening meal on night Five. Wine and other beverages are available to be purchased during dinners.
Tuatara Tours transports all your luggage for the duration of the tour.
All you carry is a small day pack with your personal gear, drink and lunch. We do the rest
To ensure you get the very best out of your journey with the least of fuss, we provide you with a kit bag full of useful goodies.
This will be given to you at the start of your tour.
Our guides are very experienced, friendly walkers and bikers who love to share their knowledge of New Zealand’s flora and fauna and local history. They all hold current first aid certificates, passenger driving licences and are the very best people to ensure your experience will be one to remember.
To ensure maximum safety for all, our guides are certified first aiders and fully qualified drivers. Tuatara Tours operate under a Safety and Risk Management Plan which is regularly audited and approved by a qualified and independent auditor.