New Zealand: The South Island

9 days
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4.9/5 Excellent
100+ reviews  
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Group Tour
Delve deep into the heart of New Zealand’s celebrated wilderness on dedicated bike paths and scenic dirt trails through the woods—far from car traffic. As you pedal along the shimmering coast of the Tasman Sea, you’ll catch glimpses of distant mountain peaks and vibrant local bird life. We’ve designed this tour to let your hiking boots take you places two whe...
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Trip type
Group Tour
Lodging level
Premium - 4 star
Physical level
Trip pace
Full schedule


    • Prepare to be dazzled by the staggering beauty of the South Island’s glittering lakes, lush forests, fertile farmlands, and alpine peaks.
    • Hike up a valley carved by the retreating ice of Franz Josef Glacier.
    • Spend a day at a wilderness resort, enjoying kayaking, canoeing, hiking—and perhaps strolling to a colony of glowworms.
    • Experience life on a working ranch and savor a home-cooked meal during a visit to a sheep and cattle station.
    • Sample local vintages during a wine tasting at a local estate.

What's this trip about?

    Delve deep into the heart of New Zealand’s celebrated wilderness on dedicated bike paths and scenic dirt trails through the woods—far from car traffic. As you pedal along the shimmering coast of the Tasman Sea, you’ll catch glimpses of distant mountain peaks and vibrant local bird life. We’ve designed this tour to let your hiking boots take you places two wheels can’t—including the Franz Josef Glacier, a wilderness seacoast walk, and a nocturnal glowworm adventure. With VBT’s deep roots in the region, you’ll have unique opportunities to meet the locals during a visit to a traditional Kiwi sheep farm and a guided rainforest walk. Best of all, VBT’s charming local trip leaders will be delighted to introduce you to the many cultural traditions and natural wonders of the island paradise they call home.


Itinerary focusActive and Outdoor Sports
Group sizeSmall Group - max of 20 people
Age range13 to 80 years
Flights and transportAll internal ground transport included
Start CityChristchurch
End CityQueenstown

Travel Themes

  • Culinary & Wine
  • Cultural
  • Cycling & Biking
  • Hiking & Walking
  • Nature & Wildlife
  • Rafting, Kayaking, Canoeing


  • New Zealand


  • Auckland
  • Christchurch
  • Queenstown


  • Adventure & Adrenaline
  • Canoeing
  • Culture
  • Cycling
  • Hiking
  • Historic sightseeing
  • Kayaking
  • Mountain Biking
  • Nature
  • Wine Tasting
  • Guided Group

Trip includes

    • Custom VBT Bike and Helmet
    • Two Local, Bilingual Trip Leaders
    • Support Vehicle
    • Luggage Transportation
    • Ride with GPS and Daily Route Notes
    • Welcome Reception
    • Facilitated Cultural Experiences
    • Your Choice of VBT Branded Gear for Your Adventure


Travel Map
DAY 1: VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacation begins / Christchurch / Warm-up ride

Please plan to arrive at your Christchurch hotel by 9:00 a.m. for a safety clinic and bike-fitting session. If you are unable to arrive before 9:00 a.m., please contact the hotel so the staff may advise your trip leaders.

Trip leaders will be wearing VBT staff ...

DAY 2: Cross Southern Alps by train / Cycle to the seaside / Hokitika

After an early breakfast, shuttle with your trip leaders to the Christchurch train station to board the 8:15 a.m. TranzAlpine for one of the world’s most scenic rail journeys. Your train takes you through the vast Canterbury Plains and traverses the scenic gorges and ...

DAY 3: Cycle the West Coast Wilderness Trail / Dine beneath a canopy of ancient Rimu trees

Today, you will enjoy the best of the West Coast Wilderness Trail on an enchanting ride that leads you from the hills above Hokitika to the shores of the Tasman Sea. After breakfast, shuttle a short distance to Lake Kaniere and hop on the West Coast Wilderness Trail, ...

DAY 4: Discover Franz Josef Glacier / Walk Okarito Lagoon

This is New Zealand’s Glacier Country, and if the weather allows, your morning walk presents an opportunity to witness their majesty up close and learn a bit about glaciology along the way. After breakfast, walk up the valley carved by the retreating ice of the Franz ...

DAY 5: Fox Village / Lake Matheson / Cycle from Gillespie’s Beach

Begin the day with a short shuttle to the Fox Glacier area, where you may walk around Lake Matheson, the pristine body of water left behind during Fox’s retreat millennia ago and an important food-gathering place for the Maori. The lake’s excellent mirror-like reflect...

DAY 6: Explore Lake Moeraki

Set your own pace today as you take advantage of the lodge’s many outdoor activities. Several complimentary 60- to 90-minute excursions are available for you to choose from. Perhaps you will join a rainforest walk, learn about the inhabitants of the Moeraki River with...

DAY 7: Mt. Aspiring National Park / Blue Pools / Hawea River Track / Outlet Track / Wanaka

After breakfast, board a two-hour shuttle (the longest drive of the trip) to Hawea, on the southern shore of Lake Hawea. En route, you’ll stop for a short but memorable walk to witness the amazing water of the Blue Pools and stop again at a classic roadside café for l...

DAY 8: Glendhu Bay / High Country Station visit / Wine tasting

Experience the very best of Wanaka and New Zealand’s famed Otago region today, marveling at sweeping wilderness views and visiting with locals at their charming ranch. After breakfast, lace up your hiking boots and walk directly from the resort, following the winding ...

DAY 9: Arrowtown / VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacation ends / Departure

After an included breakfast, shuttle to nearby Arrowtown, a quaint “wild west”-style village with a rich gold-mining past. There’ll be time here to walk along the banks of the Arrow River, getting a picture of life in the days of the pioneers who settled here during t...

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Dates & Availability

Price From $5,045
Price per day$561
Last Updated: 5/17/2024
Departure Date
End Date
Shared Room
Single Supplement
24 Oct 2024
01 Nov 2024
Private Group
31 Oct 2024
08 Nov 2024
14 Nov 2024
22 Nov 2024
21 Nov 2024
29 Nov 2024
28 Nov 2024
06 Dec 2024
05 Dec 2024
13 Dec 2024
12 Dec 2024
20 Dec 2024

Check Current Availability, prices, specials with VBT Bicycling Vacations.

The total tour cost includes the tour price (regular or promotional) and the compulsory local payment. The promotional price is subject to change. Check directly with the operator for the latest price offer. The tour operator requires you to pay only the tour price to purchase your travel. The compulsory local payment will be paid when you join the trip. All prices are based on double, twin or triple share occupancy. Solo passengers will be accommodated in a double, twin or triple room according to availability with a passenger(s) of the same gender. Single supplement only needs to be paid if the passenger does not want to share and requests their own room. Discounts can only be applied at the time of booking and cannot be added at a later date, regardless of any changes made to the original booking.

Prices may vary due to local taxes and trip seasonality. Click "Request Info" to inquire directly with the tour operator for the final trip price.

VBT Bicycling Vacations Reviews & Ratings

4.9/5  Excellent


Oct 2023

Written on

New Zealand's adventure - a Rousing Success

Unexpected wildlife and plant growth, and land features constantly, with breathtaking beauty, and with an air of untouched freshness. Oh, and the cycling was excitin...



Oct 2023

Written on

Wonderful and Varied Adventure

This is an excellent trip with a great variety of activities and adventure. A train into the mountains, biking, hiking, kayaking, glaciers, ocean, rainforest, and po...



Oct 2023

Written on

Wonderful and Varied Adventure

This is an excellent trip with a great variety of activities and adventure. A train into the mountains, biking, hiking, kayaking, glaciers, ocean, rainforest, and po...



Oct 2023

Written on

New Zealand

Guides were terrific and NZ is beautiful. The biking on t...



Oct 2023

Written on

Really fun trip

New Zealand is a beautiful country with really fun and interesting people. But the trip leaders made this an exceptional experience. The trip was well organized and ...

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Nov 2023

Written on

The best vacation ever

This was the first organized tour my husband and I have ever joined, so we were not sure what to expect , but it turned out to be the best vacation we've ever had. T...



Nov 2023

Written on

Spectacular, Cycling the Dolomite Valleys

This trip is unbelievably fantastic. Two of the best rides of my life, were on this tour. The guides were very good and this was just the start, when we met them, at...



Nov 2023

Written on

life at its fullest

Unlike tours where you gaze at world class natural and historic wonders in another culture, this tour put us in intimate touch with them through cycling, eating, dri...

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Tour Operator

VBT Bicycling Vacations

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Since 1971, VBT has crafted immersive and authentic biking vacations for active travelers. When you travel with VBT, you’re not just another tourist—you’re a traveler. With us, you’ll experience your destination with the help of a local, bilingual trip leader with a passion for sharing their home with you. You’ll eat in local restaurants, stay in accommodations that have been family-owned for generations and cycle through vineyards, olive groves, and medieval villages. 

With VBT, you won’t just visit a place—you’ll immerse yourself in it. You might follow a centuries-old pasta recipe while taking a cooking class in Rome—or learn a folk dance in Croatia, followed by sharing a bottle of locally-produced Grk wine with your new friends. Exploring the world on two wheels lets you experience your surroundings on a deeper level.


VBT offers exceptional value without compromising on quality. Simply put, no other US-based active travel company offers an experience this rich for such a reasonable price. On our tours, you can see more sights, have more local experiences, and enjoy more delicious, authentic meals—all while staying in high-quality, boutique hotels and charming, family-run inns.


All you have to do is show up at the airport—we’ll handle the rest! From tour consultants who help you find the perfect vacation to expert local trip leaders who show you the best place for gelato, we take care of all the little details that make your trip memorable. We book your flights, arrange all your transportation and accommodations, and move your luggage between hotels. Our support vans are available to give you a lift up a hill or quickly fix a flat tire. VBT takes care of your travel details and creates unique itineraries so you can relax and enjoy your small-group vacation from start to finish.


Friendly camaraderie, cultural immersion, and casual comforts are the hallmarks of our vacations. Discover delightful people, beautiful hotels, foreign cultures, and fascinating lifestyles that will enrich your life and provide memories for years to come.

Why we love this operator
Their unique emphasis on immersive cultural experiences combined with active exploration with personalized cycling experiences.
What they’re known for
VBT Cycling are renowned for offering exceptional guided and self-guided bicycle tours worldwide.


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,8 nights in comfortable lodgings
Travel Insurance
We strongly recommend purchasing travel insurance alongside your travel package to safeguard against unforeseen circumstances such as medical expenses, trip cancellations, and other contingencies. It offers you peace of mind and ensures you are prepared for unexpected events that may occur before or during your journey
Visa requirements
Visa requirements vary depending on your country of origin and your country of destination. It is your responsibility to familiarize yourself with the relevant requirements. For a handy tool that can help you quickly find the requirements, please visit this link .
Meals Included

18 meals: 8 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 5 dinners

Age Requirements
13 to 80 years
Additional Information

The majority of rides and all walks on this tour are on purpose-built trails (the Kiwis have it figured out!). Trails are packed gravel, regularly maintained, and away from motorized vehicle traffic, and allow access to the beauty of the country. The roadways that we ride are secondary, quiet, and mostly paved. The VBT support vehicle is available for a head start, catch-up, or shorter options.

Daily Mileage: 7 - 37 miles| Biking: 1 - 5 hours| Group Size: 20

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