Wouldn’t it be awesome to ride all the South Island’s iconic trails in one 10-day period? Ride the A2O, Otago Central Rail Trail, Clutha Gold & Roxburgh Gorge, Lake Dunstan Trail & Around the Mountains in one continuous, fantastic adventure. Save your annual leave and the cost of multiple flights to and from the South Island and do them all on one trip.

At a Glance…

Price: NZD $5,750 inc GST. BYO bike.
If you did all these trails with other operators it would take you 21 days and cost over $11,000, so why so cheep? The daily stages are longer: 75-100 kms versus 55 kms on average. Longer day stages reduces the number of meals and hotel nights. Let your legs do the saving.
Next dates: Monday 10th February to Wednesday 19th of February 2025 | Saturday 5th April to Wednesday 14th of April 2025.
Please use the book now button to register your interest.
Time commitment: 10 days (10 days riding, fly into Christchurch and out of Queenstown, or return by road to Christchurch. If coming from the North Island, arrive the night before.)
Who is it for: Seasoned cyclists & ebikers, capable of averaging 85 kms of varied terrain riding each day
Ride starts at: A2O start from Tekapo
Ride ends at: Queenstown or Christchurch Airports
Total kilometres: approx. 860 kms, maybe longer depending on group choices.
Accommodation styles: include farmstay, lodges & motels. Best we can find to suit our day stages and number of riders (see accommodation tab below)
Best bike: hard tail mountain bike, full-suspension mountain bike, gravel bike. Wider, gravel tyres are best.
Ebikes – three options:
1. hire in Christchurch or Twizel (allow up to $125 per day) OR
2. freight your bike & battery using a freight forwarding company, see Wisemove
3. post your battery forward and fly with your bike.
Max number of riders on the trip? 11

I joined Track & Trail on a South Island Omnibus 10 Day Tour, the trip was absolutely fantastic.
All the logistics were sorted so that I could just concentrate on riding. The accommodation provided was very good (which can be difficult in remote areas). Bike storage and laundry facilities were made available.
The food was delicious. What more could you need??? I will definitely be back for another adventure with Track & Trail.

Ellie, Tauranga
ten day bike ride, lower south Ialnd

Alps 2 Ocean

What Track & Trail provides…

  • All accommodation (9 nights)
  • Breakfasts and dinners. Lunches are own care
  • Water, riding snacks and sunscreen
  • Daily ride information, map files for your phone, route notes
  • Basic mechanical support and first aid
  • Carry your luggage forward
  • Support vehicle (in some places the van cannot be on the route)
  • Airport pick up and drop offs
  • Carbon offsets for the van and your travel to the start
  • Bike hire if needed
  • … what you provide: you ride, have fun, be awesome

The South Island Omnibus Bike Ride

  • A total distance of ~860 km spread over 9 days of riding.
  • Daily riding distances have been planned to be challenging but achievable, allow the riders to ride in and out of the accommodation most days, and to allow plenty of time for photo stops, to explore the local towns, stop at cafes and points of interest along the way.
  • 75-100 kms riding per day on well-formed, grade 1-2 scenic riding routes. Occasionally grade 3.
  • NZ cycle trails have variable terrain and generally slow, average riding speed.
  • The trail surface is mostly gravel. Riding on public roads is sometimes required.

Sample Ride Data

a chart of time, distance, elevation and effort
Daily stage information

South Island Omnibus Itinerary

This section may be subject to small changes right up until the start of the tour.

Day one is part transit, part ride. Leaving Christchurch’s Spitfire Square at 9am we drive to Geraldine for lunch. Then at Fairlie we untrailer the bikes for a short afternoon ride of 50km or 2 hours 15 mins from Fairlie to Tekapo via Bourke’s Pass. We arrive into Tekapo in time for a hot swim, Mt John Observatory walk or a visit to the Church of the Good Shepherd.

After a big breakfast, we head out past the Tekapo A Power Station (built between 1938 & 1951) hydro station at Tekapo and ride beside the canal system, past the salmon farms, over to Lake Pukaki. Here we will get our first view of Aoraki/Mt Cook. Then the beautiful lakeside ride to Lake Pukaki dam, down across the flats to Twizel (a Lord of the Rings film set), more canal system to the Ohau, where, and then stopping in Ohau Village overnight.

The day starts with a good uphill ride of around 9 km and up to 900 m to the top of the Tarnbrae Track. From here you do a careful grade 3 descent to the Quailburn wool shed and then out to Omarama. After a cup of coffee and good country scone, you head off east down the top of the Waitaki Valley taking a turn at Sailors Cutting to ride beside Lake Benmore and over the dam itself. Your afternoon is spent riding beside the north edge of Lake Aviemore, over the dam at Aviemore, and then down into Kurow to motel accommodation and a hearty pub meal.

Day 4 is a big day and we will be up and at it directly. We start the day in the Waitaki Valley and end by the sea in Oamaru. Heading east down the Waitaki Valley and the first stop of the day at the Takiroa Maori Rock Drawings just west of Duntroon. There is an important and interesting fossil museum in Duntroon that is well worth checking out. After mid-morning refreshment at the Flying Pig Cafe in Duntroon, we cycle on a short distance to Elephant Rocks then through another movie set (Aslan’s camp, Narnia), through to Enfield and Oamaru.

Start of the Otago Central Rail Trail (OCRT) in Middlemarch, passing through Hyde and Ranfurly to Wedderburn. The original and possibly the most well known of all NZ cycle trails, the OCRT is 150kms long and passes through beautiful valleys, crosses bridges, rivers and goes through tunnels. It has a slight uphill gradient on the first day and a slight downhill gradient on the last day. It also has a planetary trail to help us understand the distances between planets in our solar systems.

Otago Central Rail Trail

Today we complete the Otago Central Rail Trail, New Zealand’s most well-known and original cycle trail. We pass “superb ‘Central’ scenery, rich human history, character eateries & cafes”. Add tunnels and bridges and you get the picture. We end the day in Clyde and overnight in Alexandra.

Starting at Miller’s Flat and riding beside the Clutha River to the Roxburgh dam, then riding over the dam and down to Shingle Creek to meet a jet boat. The jet boat driver will point out many interestingly historical, botanical and geological features in the gorge. After the jet boat drop-off, ride on the Alexandra, and then Clyde via the 12 kms Alexandra Anniversary Track.

The Lake Dunstan Trail is a relative newcomer to the lower South Island trail network, but what a gift! It connects the Clyde Dam to the historic precinct of Cromwell. It’s completely car free and graded 2 and 3 with some fun downhill features and floating cafes. The Lake Dunstan Trail is 55km long with a vertical ascent of 580m. It takes between 4 to 5 hours to complete…. especially if you are waylaid at the Carrick Winery. After today’s riding we driver through the Kawarau Gorge and Gibbston Valley to overnight in Queenstown.

around the mountains

We start the day with a boat across Lake Wakatipu to Walter Peak Farm. The ride starts here. Shortly after you pass Mount Nicholas. We ride south beside the Von River (possibly two ford crossings) and under the gaze of the Bronte range to our left. We stop and lunch at Mavora Lakes. Before riding onto Mossburn to eat and overnight.

Last day, and nothing too challenging. Kick back and enjoy the ride into Kingston. Stop at Athol for a “hoagie” (smoked meat sandwich). Jane Peak and the Mataura River will be with you most of the day. From Kingston we head back to Queenstown airport and do drop offs there. The shuttle then returns to Christchurch.

ten day bike ride, lower south Ialnd

Lake Dunstan Trail

Bikes, Food & Accommodation

BYOB BYO bike is a great option. See this how-to blog post that will give you some helpful pointers: https://trackntrail.co.nz/2023/06/23/how-to-prepare-your-bike-for-a-flight/

Best Bike There are a few bike styles that are well-suited to the trip. In order:

  1. Hardtail mountain bike
  2. Full suspension MTB with rear shock pumped up
  3. Gravel bike with tyres that have a good volume.
  4. Touring bike …. whatever your bike, gravel tyres are best. Road bikes will not work on this trip.

Service Your Bike You are responsible for the fitness of your bike. Please get it fully serviced before you join the tour.

Your bike must be able to carry 1.5 litres of water, your rain jacket, snacks, phone, multitool, spare inner tube, derailleur hanger, speed link and sunscreen. Chamois cream is also recommended for back to back daily riding.

A handlebar bag, front roll or frame bag is recommended. Avoid backpacks as they put too much pressure on your sitting bones, affect your balance and are too hot in summer.

Your bike will be transported on a cycle trailer with a number of other rider’s bikes. Some adjustments, like taking a pedal off or rotating the handlebars 90° may be required to protect your bike – or another bike – from damage.

The cost is $125 incl GST per day to hire an e-bike, helmet and pannier bag for the tour. Contact Peter if you plan on hiring any type of bike.

The tour includes all breakfasts, evening meals and snacks. We may be able to cater for vegetarians and coeliac. If this includes you, it is crucial to advise us of this well before the tour begins.

Typical meals Include:

  • Breakfasts – fruit, muesli, toast and spreads, hot drinks.  Cooked breakfasts depending on the accommodation style.
  • Lunches – buy your own lunches.
  • Snacks – fresh fruit, muesli bars, chocolate and nuts.
  • Evening – local accommodation or nearby restaurant, pub or eatery.

Accommodation is included for all 9 nights of the tour. Our job is to explore and find the most fitting accommodation to work in with the riding route. The South Island Omnibus is a rural riding route and the availability of accommodation can be limited with often only basic options available. We will be staying in a combination of motels, farm stays, lodges and AirBnb. Where possible we choose accommodation with ensuite bathrooms, however it more likely bathrooms will be shared.

Accommodation is on a share twin basis. If you’re travelling alone, we’ll pair you to twin-share with another same gender biker. Single supplement may not always be available.

Safety comes first! The main threats are; rough or loose surfaces, getting lost, getting cold, running out of water & sunburn. We are here to mitigate as many of those risks as possible but care and attention will be required from you at all times. Please bring personal care items (epi pens, eyedrops, chamois cream etc).

This cycle tour includes rides of 90-125 km per day.

Preparing for your cycle tour should involve:

  • Riding on gravel and other unpaved surfaces
  • Riding hills, lots of them! In a day you may climb 1,500 to 2,000 metres in rises and falls.
  • Riding 2-3 times a week with rides of 50-80km in length.

The more prepared you are the more you will enjoy your adventure!

ten day bike ride, lower south Ialnd

Otago Central Rail Trail

Clutha Gold & Roxburgh Gorge

Around the Mountains

South Island Omnibus Trip Price

NZD $5,750 inc GST.

– If you’re travelling alone, we’ll pair you to twin-share with another rider.
– If you do not wish to share let us know early.

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The tour price does NOT include:

  • getting to and from the start ie. any flights
  • bike hire. Contact us if required.
  • optional activities
  • personal equipment (bags, helmets)
  • bike repairs
  • lunches, alcoholic drinks & random café stops
  • emergencies. The cost of emergency evacuation by ambulance or helicopter is at your own cost.

If you have to leave the tour we will we help you arrange transport back to Christchurch or Queenstown at your own expense. You may wish to take travel insurance.

Please read our Terms & Conditions carefully before booking.