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cycling for 10 days on South Island NZ

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cycling for 10 days on South Island NZ

Hi there

We are planning a 10 day cycling trip to south island NZ next March. We have decided to take our mountain bikes and are presently thinking of doing the Otago and the Round the Alps trails. We fly into Christchurch on the 27 th Feb and then need some help on the best way to get to the beginning of the Otago. We need to leave our bike bags somewhere as well,can anyone offer us some advice?

We are open to any ideas with regards to cycling,only just exploring routes etc. Gosh so much to choose from,wish we had a month ( or 2!!)

We are so excited to be visiting beautiful NZ. Any advice or ideas on how to make the most of our time would be much appreciated.

Cheers Rob and Amanda

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Hi Rob

Hi Rob

Are you going to visit the lakes? a popular route is ride from Christchurch towards Queenstown use inland route through the lakes, ie, Darfield, Fairlie, Tekapo, Twizel...etc. then cross the Queenstown lake to ride to Mavora lakes. or you could ride up Cadrona range to Wanaka, then Hawea, Haast, the Glaciers, Greymouth. then catch a train or ride back to Christchurch

I have toured south Island twice, both of them more than 12 years ago... (2003 and 2006) let me know if you need any advice

Albert

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Personally, I would not cycle

Personally, I would not cycle the Otago Rail Trail from past experience. A lot of it is rather boring riding. I would suggest travelling a little more south and cycling the Clutha Gold Trail. At the end of the trail, you can either pay for a jet boat ride to pass a section where there is no trail yet, or take to the road and cycle to Alexandra. If you do the Otago Trail, you pass through Alexandra anyway and the Clutha Trail is more interesting and winding.

From Alexandra, you can cycle to Clyde along the south bank of the river instead of cycling the very boring section of Rail Trail. You then need to get to Omarama to hook into the Oceans to Sea. The more interesting section would be to head towards Tekapo rather than head to the coast section. I wouldn't bother doing the section to Mt Cook as it is a dead end and you have to pay for a helicopter to cross the river to Mt Cook village. I can give you some links to my journals of riding some of the sections of these trails if you want.

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10 days cycling tour of the South Island

I have not done Round the Alps (yet!!) so cannot comment on that. I did not find the Otago Rail trail to be  boring at all.  I cycled it in 2 days - Alex to ranfurly on day 1, then to Middlemarch the next morning. You might like to take an extra day to do a bit more site-seeing etc on the way. From there, I continued along the main road, turnning in to go through ake Mahinarangi and on to Lawrence on that second day. Eeer..... that was a  long day from ranfurly - definietly take at least 3 days to get that far. From there I cycled up the Cyde river trail to the dam on day 3. Lovely ride, beautiful river views. No way was I going to pay the high price for that short jet boat ride, but I didn't have time to do the road section back to Alex, so I hitch hiked. NB: It was a very busy rad and I would not have been that comfortable riding it, though I now far less expereinced cyclists than me have done so.  The other bike ride to consider is all,, or part of the Alps to Ocean.  You do not need to take that helicopter to the start. INstead, I would suggest that from Christchurc, you take your bikes on the pubic bus to MT Cook village. Cycle back down the road to Twizel ( beautiful scenry)) then continue on that roue to Lake Ohau ( there is very cheap camping there, you don't have to pay for the expensive lodge)  then continue on the trail to Omarama. At that point decide whether to continue all the way to the coast ( lie in your sleeping bag at the beach side campground and listen to penguuins under the cam building) or reconnect with the bus to get you to the start of the Otago Rail trail......  or further south for the aound the ranges ride. Let me know if you need somewhere to stay in Christchurch at the start or end of your trip. :-)

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10 Day South Island trip

I have just looked at the photo of you both. You both look very fit. I think you could just manage all three routes in 10 days, subject to the timing of buses for connecting.   :-)  The bike hire operator in Twizel does bike/people shuttles between Oamaru or other points of the Alps To Ocean, at very reasonable rates with prior notice. you don't need to be on one of their bikes. 

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10 Day South Island trip

I have just looked at the photo of you both. You both look very fit. I think you could just manage all three routes in 10 days, subject to the timing of buses for connecting.   :-)  The bike hire operator in Twizel does bike/people shuttles between Oamaru or other points of the Alps To Ocean, at very reasonable rates with prior notice. you don't need to be on one of their bikes. 

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As you only have short time

As you only have short time consider getting a connecting flight to Dunedin or Queenstown whatever is closest to your start. The flights are cheep enough booked ahead and they take bikes for same fee as a bag. check Airnz website https://www.airnewzealand.eu/oversized-items

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As you only have short time

As you only have short time consider getting a connecting flight to Dunedin or Queenstown whatever is closest to your start. The flights are cheep enough booked ahead and they take bikes for same fee as a bag. check Airnz website https://www.airnewzealand.eu/oversized-items

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South Island in 10 days

A connecting flight from Chch to Queenstown would work if their first ride was Around The Mountains,  but would miss the nice bus ride down through Tekapo. IF staring with either Alps to Ocean or the Otago rail trail., then a bus would still be needed to get from either Dunedin ( or the train to Middlemarch)or from Queenstown  to the start of either route (or for the Clutha.) Taking the bus from central Christchurch is a much more straightforward option - one day and a look at some ovely , varied country scenery lpus a little look at Christchurch. 

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If you prefer the bus option

If you prefer the bus option check here  the bus time table and see if it connects to your arival time https://www.intercity.co.nz

You will still need to get from airport to bus station in town centre. You easily can ride there, chch airport has even a place wiith bike stand where you can assemble your bike. Otherwise there is a bus from airport or shuttles/taxi. Shuttles have trailers so can take your bike in a bag not sure about the town bus. Might be a hassle with a bike bag. 

Dont know what your budget is but for maximum flexabilty and minimum logistics consider renting a car. I believe you can get something that you can fit both bikes in  for NZ$50 a day from minor rental companies. You can then drive to whatever trails you decide to do and  plus some sightseeing in between. And store your bike bags too. As it been said the drive south is very scenic and being able to stop where you want will make it nicer.  Quick look at this one for your dates: https://www.apexrentals.co.nz/reservations/vehicles I am not familiar with the trails you mentioned and how you get back to your car,  but one of you can stay at the trail end in some nice coffee place and it should be simpler for just single person to go and pickup the car. In the end it might even work out not that expensive as you will save on buses, shuttles etc