Bikers in New Zealand
Flowers in New Zealand
Panoramic view of the landscape in New Zealand
Waterfall in New Zealand
Backroads guests and leaders enjoying a glass of wine in New Zealand
Backroads trip leader preparing a snack in New Zealand
New Zealand Bike Tour
New Zealand Bike Tour
Sheep on Backroads New Zealand Bike Tour
Herd of llamas in a field in New Zealand
Multi-Adventure
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New Zealand Multi-Adventure Tour

South Island from Christchurch to Queenstown

Scenery doesn't get any more incredible than in New Zealand. On a bike and on foot, you're in the middle of it all. Ever-changing natural beauty through your sunglasses. Ocean mist in your face. Island-fresh air in your lungs to complement that bit of sweat on your brow. The sheep have it made here. This week, they aren't the only ones.

THIS ITINERARY: 9 days, 8 nights

ACCOMMODATIONS: Casual Hotels*

FROM: $4,999 pp dbl occ
($820 for sgl occ)

Bike
Walk/Hike
Raft

New Zealand

Start Christchurch / End Queenstown

Start/End locations may vary. Do not book flights until your trip details are confirmed.

Highlights
  • Marvel at verdant rain forests, wild rivers, crashing waves and rugged coastline on the beautiful Tasman Sea
  • Travel across the South Island, getting a good look at the Canterbury Plains and the magnificent Waimakariri River Gorge
  • Bike and hike through dramatic varied scenery and mountain ranges, finishing in a Pinot grape-growing wine region
  • Discover the many charms and secrets of Queenstown, the adventure capital of New Zealand
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Meet Our Leaders
The Backroads Experience
The Backroads Experience
Backroads Multi-Adventure Trips
Itinerary
Accommodations may vary based on departure date.
9 Days Casual Hotels*
Accommodations may vary based on departure.
Day 1

Gear up for awe-inspiring activities in one of the world's greatest outdoor playgrounds | Travel to Arthur's Pass, soaking up views of the diverse landscapes | Lush native flora lines our trail in this iconic hiking area | Settle in at our charming wilderness lodge.

Wilderness Lodge Arthur's Pass
Wilderness Lodge Arthur's Pass
Arthur's Pass
| Casual Hotel

A welcoming mountain retreat and high-country sheep station surrounded by a beech forest and frosted peaks.

Days 2-3

Take in glaciers, rain forests and the dramatic Tasman Sea | Bike along tranquil roads to historic Hokitika, famous for its crafts and jade carvings | Venture through old-growth forests to Westland National Park, with the receding face of the Franz Josef Glacier, one of New Zealand's natural wonders, off in the distance | Cycle to the quaint coastal village of Okarito, once a gold-mining boom town | Opt for a scenic helicopter ride over the glacial terrain | Dine on fresh local cuisine at our luxurious forest retreat.

Te Waonui Forest Retreat
Te Waonui Forest Retreat
Franz Josef
| *Premiere Hotel

A luxurious hotel that provides for every comfort—even offering a pillow menu. (spa)

Days 4-5

Walk around small but mighty Lake Matheson, where the region's legendary peaks reflected on serene waters create a stunning tableau | Sip a post-hike cocktail by the river at our stylish rain forest hideaway | Kick back at Munro Beach or go exploring with a lodge naturalist.

Lake Moeraki Wilderness Lodge
Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki
Lake Moeraki
| Casual Hotel

This riverside lodge offers cozy guest rooms and excellent cuisine in a remote rain forest setting.

Days 6-7

Bike along a pristine rugged coastline to the sleepy fishing village of Jackson Bay | Discover the waterfall-laced Haast World Heritage area, home to some of New Zealand's highest mountains, longest glaciers and wildest rivers unmatched anywhere in the world, according to UNESCO | World-class bike routes and foot trails in the mountain playground surrounding Lake Wanaka are yours to explore | Opt for an excursion to scenic Milford Sound.

Edgewater Resort Hotel
Edgewater Resort Hotel
Lake Wanaka
| Casual Hotel

On the shore of Lake Wanaka with views of the magnificent Southern Alps. (spa)

Days 8-9

Admire the spectacularly varied scenery on a ride in Pinot Noir country | Follow the Clutha and Kawarau Rivers past vineyards in a burgeoning wine region | Stay in picturesque Queenstown, New Zealand's adventure capital | Raft down the Kawarau River with expert guides who provide a unique perspective on the flora and fauna along the way.

Hotel St. Moritz
Hotel St Moritz
Queenstown
| Casual Hotel

This boutique hotel is located in the center of Queenstown with magnificent views of Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables mountain range.

Dates & Prices

The earlier you book, the more choice you'll have and the lower your price. And you can always change your mind — you won't be charged to transfer to a different trip before your final payment is due. View cancellation policy

Click on dates for pricing, itinerary variations and to book your trip. Price is per person, double occupancy.

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Activity Level: 1-3

Every Backroads trip is designed to appeal to a wide variety of interests and fitness levels. We know your pace may vary from one day to the next—and your traveling companion's may differ somewhat from yours. So we present a range of mileage options, and each day you decide exactly what and how much you want to do. LEARN MORE.

Day 1
Biking
Level 2 | 20 miles | 900 ft. gain
Day 2
Biking
Level 2 | 20 miles* | 1000 ft. gain
Level 3 | 29 miles | 1400 ft. gain
Day 3
Biking
Level 2 | 14 miles | 700 ft. gain
Walking & Hiking
Level 1 | 3 miles | minimal elevation gain
Other
Optional Activities in Franz Josef
Day 4
Walking & Hiking
Level 1 | 3 miles | 200 ft. gain
Level 2 | 6 miles | 800 ft. gain
Day 5
Other
Munro Beach Walk (1.5 hours)
Optional Activities at Lake Moeraki
Day 6
Biking
Level 3 | 30 miles | 1200 ft. gain
Walking & Hiking
Level 1 | 3 miles | minimal elevation gain
Day 7
Biking
Level 1 | 12 miles* | 700 ft. gain
Level 3 | 24 miles | 1300 ft. gain
Other
Optional Activities in Wanaka
Day 8
Biking
Level 2 | 22 miles | 500 ft. gain
Day 9
Rafting
Kawarau River (half day)
* Includes shuttle.

What's Included

Available Bike Options

The key to a stellar day's ride is a bike that's perfectly in tune with your cycling style… Backroads has you covered with the best bike fleet in the world! Read on for your available bike options for this trip.

Performance Road Bike

This custom-designed titanium bike is lightweight and responsive, featuring Shimano Ultegra Di2 electronic shifting, 11-speed compact gearing, a premium Mavic Ksyrium Pro wheelset and a full carbon fork. 

Touring Bike

A proven classic, our most popular custom-designed titanium bike is suited for a wide range of cyclists. It features a comfortable ergonomic seat and a long wheel base that add to the bike’s control and stability.

NEW! Electric-Assist Bike

Our newly redesigned titanium e-bike is a lightweight yet powerful machine unique in the world of e-bikes. It provides plenty of power to flatten the hills and more than enough battery range to cover the distance.

Also Included

  • All breakfasts, 7 lunches, 7 dinners
  • Expertise and services of our experienced Trip Leaders
  • Snacks and beverages between meals
  • Additional guides and experts from the region on many trips
  • Van shuttles to support a variety of route options
  • Comprehensive Travel Planner with detailed pre-trip information
  • Private guided tours at museums, historic sites, wineries and other select attractions as noted in the Travel Planner
  • All gratuities at hotels and restaurants
  • Special events, including wine tastings and other select attractions as mentioned in the Travel Planner
  • On biking and multi-adventure trips, use of fully equipped Backroads titanium bike plus helmet and accessories
  • Trailercycles, carriers, and kid-sized helmets for Family Trips
  • Equipment and experienced guides for kayaking, rafting, snorkeling, sailing and canoeing as described
  • Park and other entry fees
  • Fares for trains, ferries and other modes of travel as listed in the Travel Planner
  • Select coach transfers
  • Baggage transfers and porterage

Straight talk

We want to make sure you're on the right trip and that you have the best experience possible. Every Backroads trip is unique and this one is no exception.

Shuttle Time

In order to access the most scenic routes and significant points of interest on this trip, strategic shuttles are incorporated into several days of our itinerary. Most will be limited to an hour or so at a time, but on some days you can expect to spend a bit more time in the shuttle. We've planned our itinerary to make the most of our time in this spectacular area, so sit back and relax, knowing that someone else is doing the driving, and enjoy the beauty of the journey.

Bike Routes

Due to a significant rise in tourism in New Zealand, the South Island has seen an increase in car traffic along its western coast. As a result, our guests no longer experience the safety and enjoyment they once did riding along the iconic State Highway 6 (SH6). We've replaced all riding on those stretches of road with alternate scenic bike routes to ensure your safety while still delivering as much of New Zealand's grandeur and scenery you'd experience along the SH6.

Ask a trip expert

Have a question and need expert advice? Our team of Trip Consultants is here to help! You can also visit our FAQ's.

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