8 Day / 7 Night tour: Christchurch – Lake Tekapo – Twizel – Lake Ohau – Lake Hawea – Lake Wanaka – Clyde – Clutha River – Lauder – Naseby – Kokonga – Dunedin
This tour features the world famous Otago Rail Trail in Central Otago and other wonderful cycle trails alongside splendid South Island Lakes from Tekapo to Clyde. We begin our adventure cycling past mountain lakes on the Alps2ocean cycle route, following canal roads and cycle trails. We then travel further south in the Lake District and cycle the trail between Lake Hawea and Lake Wanaka before moving on to Clyde where we cycle beside the Clutha River and begin the Otago Rail Trail. The tour leaves from Christchurch and ends in Dunedin.
$3,850 per person, share twin
$990 single supplement
18 – 25 April, 2021
Introductory to Moderate
Remember E-Bikes take the strain and pain. 🙂
• 7 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 7 evening meals
• Accommodation as listed in the itinerary
• Curling at Naseby
• E-Bike rental and helmet
• Private transport for you, your luggage and the E-Bikes
• Services of Tours Direct Tour Leader, Mandy Page
• Cycle guide & technical support, Brian Farrant (with over 30 years experience as cycle tour guide)
• Bring your own E-Bike (price adjusted accordingly)
• Domestic airfares
If you are flying into Christchurch airport please get a taxi to the Orari Bed and Breakfast.
We meet at 2.00pm at our accommodation for bike fittings followed by a short ride around Hagley Park.
The Orari Bed and Breakfast is very close to the shopping and cultural heart of Christchurch, with the Art Gallery literally at your doorstep. The Christchurch Arts Centre, museum and botanical gardens are all less than 5 minutes walk.
Dinner at 5th Street Christchurch
Accommodation at Orari Bed and Breakfast
We depart Christchurch early at 8.00am by minibus, take a short break in the attractive township of Geraldine, and arrive at our destination at Lake Tekapo, site of the much photographed lakeside chapel and dog sculpture, by late morning. We begin our cycling at Tekapo township, the start of the Alps2Ocean cycle trail. We will pick out the highlights of the trail, past beautiful Lake Tekapo, with spectacular views towards Mt Cook, and stopping for a picnic lunch on the trail where the road crosses the canals. We’ll then continue on a slightly downhill ride along the Ohau hydro canal, to the country town of Twizel. Dinner at Shawtys Restaurant, Twizel
Accommodation at The Lakes Motel, Twizel
We cycle from Twizel to Lake Ohau Lodge picking out another highlight stretch of the Alps2Ocean trail. We follow the road out of Twizel and then cycle canal roads for the first 18 km to Lake Ohau. A gravel cycle trail takes us around the beauty of the lake foreshore, with the last 10 km back on the road to Lake Ohau Lodge. Dinner at the very comfortable Lodge, enjoying excellent lake and mountain views.
Accommodation at Lake Ohau Lodge
We spend today in the dramatic Upper Clutha area, following the mighty Clutha River from its origin in Lake Hawea to Lake Wanaka, another of the splendid southern lakes, then on down past Lake Dunstan and the town of Cromwell. After our van transfer to Hawea, we cycle the pleasantly undulating bike path from Lake Hawea through to Lake Wanaka. Following a late lunch in Wanaka, where there are plenty of options for a café lunch or a picnic with a lake view, we drive through to Dunstan House at Clyde for the night, passing through the dramatic Cromwell Gorge and the Clyde High Dam, one of Rob Muldoon’s “think big” projects. We can enjoy a walk through the beautifully preserved historic township before dinner at The Old Post Office.
Accommodation at Dunstan House
Today we have two options, the longer (56 km) starting at Alexandra and cycling on a lovely riverside track on the west bank of the Clutha River back to Clyde (12km). After a short ascent on the north bank, we get an impressive view of the river from an historic bridge, then it’s through town to our much anticipated start on the Otago Rail Trail, and the first stamp in your passport.
The second option (44 km) is a shorter version of option 1, for those who would like a leisurely start to the day, and the chance for a further stroll in historic Clyde and starts from our accommodation at Clyde. It’s only 25km to Chatto Creek where we will stop for lunch. Have a look at the tiny Post Office, and the hotel will be open by then for lunch and drinks. Your support van will be waiting if you need it. The 12 km trail to Omakau climbs gradually and in the warmth of the afternoon takes longer than you’d expect. Then on to Lauder, where we are staying at the Lauder School Bed and Breakfast. We have dinner at the Lauder Hotel.
Accommodation at Lauder School Bed and Breakfast (most rooms have shared facilities)
In the morning back on the rail trail we enter one of the most scenic sections of the trail. We climb gradually above the Poolburn gorge, through two tunnels, and over the Poolburn viaduct with its striking schist stone piers. Descend into the Ida Valley, famous for ice skating and curling in the winter. Just after passing the skating rink and before reaching Oturehua, look out for the windmill of the Hayes Engineering workshop on your left, and take the turn-off to this fascinating example of the history of the area run by the Historic Places Trust. Enjoy lunch at Hayes Engineering café and take time to wander through the restored workshops and dwellings of the settlement, before heading off to climb another hill before the downhill to Wedderburn where we load our bikes onto the van for our transfer to Naseby for the night. At 6pm we’ll wrap up warmly to learn the art of curling at New Zealand’s only indoor curling rink, and then the chance to have fun, having a go ourselves at sliding the stones down the ice.
Accommodation and dinner at Naseby Trail Lodge
In the morning we are in the van and back to Wedderburn, made famous by Grahame Sydney’s watercolor. We have a lovely relaxed day downhill all the way today, first to Ranfurly with its Art Deco architecture for morning tea and then across the expanse of the Maniototo Plain to Waipiata for lunch at the local tavern. After passing the remnant of Taieri Lake we enter the Upper Taieri River Gorge and travel down the gentle green valley to Kokonga.
If we get to Kokonga early, and the weather conditions are in our favour, we will cycle to Hyde, or Middlemarch for the last stamp in your souvenir passport and the end of the trail. Once again the trail passes through tunnels and over dramatic high bridges. The wide open plain of the Strath Taieri opens up as we leave Hyde with the Rock and Pillar Range towering high above us out to the west and gradually descend into Middlemarch. Transfer back to Kokonga for the night.
Accommodation and dinner at Kokonga Lodge
Depending on our success in cycling through to the end of the rail trail the previous day, we will have lunch at Middlemarch (after cycling from Kokonga to Middlemarch) and congratulate ourselves on completing this deservedly famous trail. Time permitting, we will visit the historic stone sheep yards and/or the salt lake, at Middlemarch.
We then transfer through to Dunedin airport, where the tour ends at 2.00pm (book flights for departure after 3.00pm) or you can be dropped off at 3.00pm at your Dunedin hotel if you have decided to stay on. A free transfer back to Christchurch is available if you prefer.
Mandy lives in Auckland and is a walker and cyclist. She has led 58 tours for Tours Direct over the last 18 years, and just loves travelling with its adventure and fun. Believing that most of the delight of travel is in the journey, Mandy likes to make tours flexible for different levels of fitness and experience. In 2019 she was tour leader for a Danube Boat & Bike tour. Mandy discovered the joy of E-Biking by accident and is now an enthusiastic devotee.
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