Cycle New Zealand: Alps to Ocean
from $2695
Duration: 6 Days
If there’s a land made for cycling, this is it. After a visit and short hike in the Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park follow the path of the bright blue waters of Lake Pukaki near Twizel as it flows down from the Southern Alps, twisting through valleys, passing through lakes, and rolling out into the open Pacific Ocean at Oamaru. Jump on the saddle and you’ll flow down descents from forested summits, twist along roads squeezed between peaks and shores, and roll along backroads, side trails and the official Alps 2 Ocean trail. With an expert leader directing the pack, the only directions you’ll need is when to detour to the best trails and special stops only the locals know. With memorable accommodation and tastes of New Zealand along the way, this is a real gateway to some seriously great outdoors.
  • The South Island scenery will take your breath away in more ways than one – enjoy a short hike in Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park then cycle mostly traffic-free trails from the majestic Southern Alps to the shores of the Pacific Ocean.
  • Taste some of New Zealand’s best produce, from trying lake-caught salmon to sampling drops from the country’s newest wine region before the rest of the world discovers them.
  • Experience firsthand the famous hospitality of the locals, with memorable stays from lakeside lodges to unique, historic huts.
  • Experience the best New Zealand scenery has to offer – from peaks and gorges to turquoise-coloured lakes – with nothing but fresh air separating you.
  • 1-2 Hour Hike
  • 6 Days Bicycle Hire
  • 5 Days Guided Cycling
  • Day 1 Location: Christchurch - Aoraki (Mt Cook) NP - Twizel
    Kia-ora! Welcome to Christchurch. This cycling adventure from the Alps to the Ocean kicks off with a pick-up at 8am. After the meeting you’ll jump in a private vehicle to head past Lake Tekapo (approximately 4 hours), and on to the southern shores of the turquoise-coloured Lake Pukaki. With the stunning peaks of the Southern Alps and the towering Mt Cook close by, it’s a truly remarkable sight. Continue to nearby Twizel for a quick bite for lunch then be fitted with your bike. After lunch drive north (approximately 1 hour) to the iconic Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park and swap your biking shoes for hiking shoes and enjoy a short hike in the national park along part of the Hooker Valley Track. The views of Mt Cook are nothing short of spectacular. Afterwards return to Twizel and perhaps join the locals for dinner (the locally caught trout and salmon are amazing!) before settling in for a well-earned sleep.
    Day 2 Location: Twizel - Lake Ohau
    Enjoy breakfast at the cafe next door then take the short drive (approximately 20 mins) to the eastern shores of Lake Pukaki for your first ride, a flat and leisurely 24 kilometre cycle back down to Twizel, arriving in time for lunch. From here set off on a longer ride (approximately 38 kilometres) from Twizel to the western shore of Lake Ohau, where the clear waters of the Hopkins and Dobson Rivers flow directly off the Southern Alps. While longer in distance this is an easy ride as you make your way in the shadows of the Ben Ohau mountain range along flat sealed road beside the Pukaki canal and past Loch Cameron and the Ohau canal. Leave the tarmac and take the smooth gravel road that skirts the south shore of Lake Ohau, passing a property known as Maori swamp. Re-join the tarmac and enjoy some stunning views of the crystal-clear lake on your right and the brooding mountains on your left – truly spectacular. Cycle on to your secluded home for the night, the locally owned and spectacularly located Lake Ohau Lodge.
    Day 3 Location: Lake Ohau - Omarama
    Today is a tougher and slightly more technical day as you leave Lake Ohau behind and enjoy an easy cycle to Freehold Creek (with stunning views back across to the Ben Ohau Mountain Range) before starting your first real climb of the trip. Test your fitness (or e-bike battery) among the native Beech forests as you cycle up (approximately 11 kilometres) to the highest point of the trail. At 900 metres above sea level the magnificent views over the Mackenzie Basin, Ben Ohau and Lake Ohau and Lake Ruataniwha make the climb worthwhile. As does the rolling descent to the historic woolshed at Quailburn Road where you'll pause for a well-earned packed lunch. From here it is a gentle ride on a quiet backroad and a short side trail to take you all the way into the small town of Omarama. Depending on the fitness and preferences of the group, there is an option to use the support vehicle for the harder parts of the trail. There is also an option today to cycle to the nearby Omarama Clay Cliffs. This side trip will add an extra 14 kilometres, but the sight of these surreal cliffs – tall pinnacles separated by narrow ravines – makes it a worthwhile diversion.
    Day 4 Location: Omarama - Kurow
    It’s your longest day in the saddle today – around 67 kilometres in total but not overly strenuous or technical – as you make your way through lake country along 30 kilometres of dedicated trail from Omarama. Ride east down the Waitaki Valley, past the Chain Hills Viewpoint, then follow the edge of Lake Benmore to the oddly named Pumpkin Point (seriously, we’ve never seen a single pumpkin here!). This section includes a new route through the Benmore Gorge onto the top of the dramatic Benmore Dam. After lunch enjoy the quiet sealed road from Otematata alongside the southern shore of Lake Aviemore, once again cycling right up to the Hydro-dam wall before enjoying the last 16 kilometres of dedicated trail, past the haunting Wharekuri ruins, mostly downhill to Kurow. On the banks of the braided Waitaki River which separates the Canterbury and Otago provinces, Kurow (birthplace of the legendary All Black Ritchie McCaw) is an ideal place to simply put your feet up at the end of a long day’s ride, and perhaps enjoy a well-earned drink from one of the local producers in New Zealand’s newest wine region.
    Day 5 Location: Kurow - Duntroon - Tokarahi
    Leaving sleepy Kurow behind you, enjoy a relaxed ride of 28 kilometres down the valley on the mostly traffic-free smooth shingle road alongside the Waitaki River. Pass vineyards (stopping at the River-T winery), the Takiroa Maori rock art site and Duntroon Wetlands, before arriving into Duntroon itself just in time for lunch (not included) at the charming and iconic Duntroon Hotel. No need to worry about your sweaty cycling clothes here as the local proprietors are incredibly welcoming to cyclists of all kinds. After lunch it’s back onto the bikes as you deviate slightly from the official trail and take an 19-kilometre side trip into Otago to your home for the night, the historic and welcoming Tokarahi Huts. Built by one of Oamaru's finest craftsmen using salvaged materials from the original building that once stood on the site, and with a welcome from the farm owner himself, this is one of the best examples of locally owned and operated sustainable businesses in the region, and one we’re proud to be associated with.
    Day 6 Location: Tokarari - Oamaru
    Today is your last day on the bike as you make your way to the South Pacific Coast and the charming seaside town of Oamaru. After a good early breakfast leave Tokarari behind and rejoin the ‘official’ trail, passing through the historic Rakis Railway Tunnel and following the old railway line to Windsor and all the way through to Enfield. Take an early lunch then enjoy your final ride of the trip with a last 12 kilometres into Oamaru via the Botanical gardens – the oldest such gardens in New Zealand – and Historic Victorian precinct, with a stunning finish at Oamaru Harbour and the shores of the Pacific Ocean itself.
    Dates
    Prices
    Availability
    Departure Date:
    23NOV2021
    Return Date:
    28NOV2021
    2695NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    14DEC2021
    Return Date:
    19DEC2021
    2775NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    04JAN2022
    Return Date:
    09JAN2022
    2915NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    18JAN2022
    Return Date:
    23JAN2022
    2860NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    01FEB2022
    Return Date:
    06FEB2022
    2860NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    08MAR2022
    Return Date:
    13MAR2022
    2775NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    22MAR2022
    Return Date:
    27MAR2022
    2775NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    19APR2022
    Return Date:
    24APR2022
    2775NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    03MAY2022
    Return Date:
    08MAY2022
    2775NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    30AUG2022
    Return Date:
    04SEP2022
    2775NZD
    available
    Last modified (date)

    08 Sep 2021

    Trip title

    Cycle New Zealand: Alps to Ocean

    Trip code

    PHXA

    Validity

    Validity: 01 Jan 2021 to 31 Dec 2022

    Introduction

    If there’s a land made for cycling, this is it. After a visit and short hike in the Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park follow the path of the bright blue waters of Lake Pukaki near Twizel as it flows down from the Southern Alps, twisting through valleys, passing through lakes, and rolling out into the open Pacific Ocean at Oamaru. Jump on the saddle and you’ll flow down descents from forested summits, twist along roads squeezed between peaks and shores, and roll along backroads, side trails and the official Alps 2 Ocean trail. With an expert leader directing the pack, the only directions you’ll need is when to detour to the best trails and special stops only the locals know. With memorable accommodation and tastes of New Zealand along the way, this is a real gateway to some seriously great outdoors.

    Style

    Original

    Themes

    Cycling

    Transport

    Bicycle (e-bike available,subject to availability),minivan

    Physical Rating

    3

    Physical preparation

    PHYSICAL PREPARATION There are regular rest breaks each day, however it is important to note that you will be riding over multiple and consecutive days in a climate and terrain that may be unfamiliar. While it can be tempting to start out riding as hard and fast as you can (we get it!) we recommend taking it easy on the first few days while your body gets used to the rides and the climate. As a general rule, the more preparation you can do for this type of trip, the more you will enjoy it. Prepare for the trip by doing aerobic type exercises before travelling - jogging or swimming are some options, though cycling is best. If possible take some extended day rides before travelling, or spend time on exercise bikes in the gym. The more your muscles (and bottom) are prepared for the riding on this trip the more you will be able to enjoy the wonderful countryside and people you meet while riding. Note that an enthusiasm for bike riding and adventure is essential! It is also important that you are both confident and competent in riding a bicycle, both solo and in a group environment. CYCLING DISTANCES: The information listed in the itinerary is a guide to the approximate distances and terrain cycled each day. However, this may vary depending on the physical capabilities of the group, and changes to local conditions. For safety reasons we only cycle during daylight hours, so there may be some early morning starts. We take regular rest breaks throughout cycling days. This is one of Intrepid's least physically demanding cycling itineraries, and is suitable for anyone that can comfortably ride a bike. The daily distances are comparatively short (averaging 30km per day with the longest day just 43 km) and the terrain is relatively flat (due to the trail being a former train line)

    Joining point

    Canterbury Museum

    11 Rolleston Avenue

    Christchurch

    NEW ZEALAND

    Joining point instructions

    Your pickup point is the Canterbury Museum at 8am. Your driver will be meet you at the main entrance on Rolleston Avenue, next to the Christchurch Botanic Gardens. Please ensure you are on time.

    Finish point

    Oamaru

    Oamaru

    NEW ZEALAND

    Important information

    1. This trip starts at 8am in Christchurch and finishes on arrival into Oamaru on Day 6 (approx 1pm) 2. Please note we do not currently offer pre/post trip accommodation in Oamaru . 3. To complete this trip it is important that you are both confident and competent in riding a bicycle. 4. On this trip we have a single leader that rides with the group. 5. This trip includes a support vehicle and your luggage is transported for you from accommodation to accommodation each day. 6. Our riding is done mostly on a well graded and maintained gravel cycle path, however there are a few short but rough sections of trail. We recommend those not confident descending on this terrain should walk these sections or use the support vehicle. 7. As accommodation on this trip is multi-share, single travellers will share a room with other travellers of the same gender. If you’d prefer not to share, a single room supplement (excluding night 5 at Tokhari) is available at an additional charge. Please ask your travel consultant for more details. 8. An e-bike option (at additional cost) may be available on this trip. We have limited numbers of these bikes available and they are on an 'on request' basis only. A request does not guarantee an e-bike, only a confirmed booking. Please ask your agent for more details at the time of booking.

    Group leader

    All Intrepid cycling group trips are accompanied by one of our cycling leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders. Our cycling leaders are all passionate cyclists, as you’d expect, but they also go through some pretty rigorous cycle-trip specific training. Each one has undergone on-road training and supervision and knows how to do safety checks, basic repairs and emergency first-aid. And at the end of the day they’re still regular Intrepid leaders, which means they will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip. On this trip we have a single leader that rides with the group, and another that drives the support vehicle (acting as a back marker where needed) There may be times when a client is asked to be the back marker, ensuring no one else rides behind them, if the vehicle cannot travel directly behind the group. Your leader will discuss this at the initial group meeting.

    Safety

    Most national governments provide regularly updated foreign travel advice on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all destinations and activities on your trip. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trips here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/travel-alerts We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, flight tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however, during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests or relax and take it easy. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Intrepid's operational safety policies can be viewed on our website at the link below. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how safety is being managed on our trips.

    https://www.intrepidtravel.com/safety-guidelines

    We take safety seriously on all our trips, but cycling tours deserve a few special considerations. HELMETS: Helmets are compulsory and we do not allow anyone to ride without one (including our own staff!). You can bring your own, or purchase one that meets international safety standards on the ground. Your leader can assist with this. FOOTWEAR For safety reasons we strongly recommend that you wear shoes that cover the toes while riding. SUPPORT VEHICLES We usually have a support vehicle following us if first-aid is ever necessary or people are feeling too tired to ride. BIKES: Our bikes are serviced regularly, and we get them checked by experts before each and every trip. Should you choose to bring your own please note that while we are happy to assist where we can with repairs you are responsible for the safety and suitability of your own equipment. TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD: Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware! There are times when traffic conditions make sections of our planned riding route unsafe – in this instance we will use the support vehicle. WEATHER Due to inclement weather posing a serious health or safety issue there may be times when we use the support vehicle instead of doing the planned ride. We will endeavour to reroute if possible but at times may have to cancel the planned ride.

    On this trip we have a single leader that rides with the group, and another that drives the support vehicle (acting as a back marker where needed). Where the vehicle cannot travel directly with the cyclists (e.g. a cyclists-only path) your leader will assign a person from the group to act as a back marker to help ensure that the group stays together.

    Communications

    Wireless (wi-fi) is common across accommodation in New Zealand. Some properties may charge a fee for use.  Cafe's and pubs across NZ may have wi-fi for a fee, with those in more tourist area's offering it for free. Shopping centre's, airports and other public spaces offer limited free wi-fi access.   If you are spending longer in New Zealand, it might be a good idea to purchase a local SIM card for data and your mobile device.

    Visas

    PASSPORT You will need a valid passport to travel internationally. As a general rule, most countries require that your passport has a minimum of 6 months validity remaining. Your passport details are required to complete your booking. Please ensure the name on your passport matches the name on your booking and airline tickets exactly and contact us immediately if there are any errors. We recommend taking copies of the main passport pages and other important documents with you as well as leave copies at home with family or friends. VISAS Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time. It is important that you check your government's foreign travel advisories along with the consular website of the country or countries you are travelling to for the most up to date information specific to your nationality and circumstances. Please be aware that not all visa information found online from other sources may be valid while COVID-19 restrictions are in place. Visas can take several weeks to process, so make sure you research the requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for obtaining any necessary documents as well as the application and processing time. Your booking consultant can advise on a visa processing service or you can apply yourself directly through a consulate. COVID-19 Entry and Exit Requirements Below you will find general visa advice about the destinations on your trip. Due to constantly evolving COVID-19 requirements and restrictions, please refer to your government's foreign travel advice for the most up to date information.You may also refer to our travel alert page for more info https://www.intrepidtravel.com/en/travel-alerts Make sure you are familiar with the current border measures and entry requirements as these are quite complex and changing frequently without notice. Please also ensure you have a travel insurance policy that covers your travels as well as medical or COVID-19 related expenses within the country. RETURN TRAVEL Please ensure you stay up to date with any current testing or quarantine requirements for returning to your home country or transiting through other destinations after the completion of your tour. We are able to help facilitate taking a COVID-19 test while on trip. Please ensure you have funds available to cover the cost of this test which will be payable directly to the testing site. Your Intrepid Tour Leader will provide more details at the group meeting as well as assist with booking appointments for all travellers who need to be tested. Some passport holders are required to request a NZeTA ((New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority) prior to travelling to New Zealand. It's important that you check the requirements prior to travel. For the most up to date information on this and all visa requirements, we recommend you contact the New Zealand embassy in your country or visit http://www.immigration.govt.nz

    Why we love it

    The South Island scenery will take your breath away in more ways than one – enjoy a short hike in Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park then cycle mostly traffic-free trails from the majestic Southern Alps to the shores of the Pacific Ocean.

    Taste some of New Zealand’s best produce, from trying lake-caught salmon to sampling drops from the country’s newest wine region before the rest of the world discovers them.

    Experience firsthand the famous hospitality of the locals, with memorable stays from lakeside lodges to unique, historic huts.

    Experience the best New Zealand scenery has to offer – from peaks and gorges to turquoise-coloured lakes – with nothing but fresh air separating you.

    Is this trip right for you

    This trip is new to our range this year. And while we have thoroughly researched every detail of the logistics, new destinations and working with new partners can sometimes throw us some unexpected surprises. More often than not, it’ll be a great surprise. But every now and again there might be a hiccup. We like to think that’s what puts the ‘adventure’ in ‘adventure travel’. For Cycling trips these changes are usually around finding even better roads to ride on, which can alter the distance/time we spend riding on a day to day basis, but can sometimes even extend to accommodation or included activities if needed. Accommodation on the Alps to Ocean Trail can be booked out months in advance so there may be occasions where we stay in locations nearby to those advertised. Your leader will inform you at the initial group meeting if this is the case on your departure. Unlike many Intrepid Cycling trips this itinerary does not have a full-time support vehicle constantly following the group. As well as the short cycling distances making it unnecessary, no vehicles are allowed to drive along the vehicle-free trails we use. Your luggage is always transported for you (by vehicle) between accommodations. Due to the relatively small distances cycled on this trip we have a single leader that rides with the group. There may be times when the leader asks one of the group to act as a back marker.

    Health

    GENERAL HEALTH All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to manage and enjoy our style of travel. Please note that if in the opinion of our group leader or local guide any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, we reserve the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund. You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements as they may not easily be obtained while travelling. COVID-19 The safety and wellbeing of our travellers, leaders, crew, staff, and suppliers continues to remain our highest priority as we travel. You can read more about how we will keep you safe on our trips, including our COVID-19 Health & Safety Guidelines here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/safe-travels HEALTH SCREENING If you are unwell prior to travelling, please stay at home and contact us to make alternative arrangements. At the group meeting, you will be asked to complete a self-screening health form and report any COVID-19 symptoms as well as any close contact with someone who has suspected or confirmed COVID-19. If you are displaying any symptoms or have any health concerns at this time, we will follow the advice of local health authorities to determine whether medical assistance, isolation or further action is required. We ask all travellers to continue to monitor their health throughout their travels and report any relevant symptoms to their tour leader. TESTING & VACCINATION POLICY From 1st May 2021 we introduced new safety measures that apply on all of our trips, except for tours in Australia and New Zealand. On trips departing before 1st September 2021, you will need to show one of the below to your leader at the Group Meeting on Day 1 of your trip: - Proof of COVID-19 vaccination, or - Proof of negative COVID-19 test conducted no more than 72 hours before day 1 of your trip, or - Proof of recovery documentation In addition, if you’re aged 70+ or have an existing health condition that puts you at a higher risk of serious COVID-19 disease, you are also required to provide proof of vaccination before you can join a trip. MANDATORY VACCINATION POLICY From 1st of September 2021 we have introduced enhanced safety measures that apply on all of our trips, except for tours in Australia, New Zealand, and the Cook Islands. You will need to show your leader at the Group Meeting on Day 1 of your trip: - Proof of COVID-19 vaccination This policy is in addition to any specific testing or vaccination requirements for entry or exit to a destination or required by your airline. For more information, including a detailed FAQ about this policy, please visit https://www.intrepidtravel.com/covid19

    Food and dietary requirements

    New Zealand is renowned for its fresh air and clean waters. Fresh food, including dairy (amazing cheese and milk), produce, seafood and meat - especially lamb. From high end restaurants and gastro pubs and cafe's to local restaurants and suburban dairies there is plenty of choice for all budgets. Wine is also done extremely well in NZ and not just sav blanc, but excellent pinot's and cool climate red's. Vegetarians and Vegans are well catered for in New Zealand and most restaurants and cafe's will have a good selection of vegetarian meals. Gluten and Lactose free diets are also well catered for.  Tap water is safe and delicious in cities and towns. Further out of town its best to check with your guide if in doubt. Please bring a reusable bottle and drink tap water where you can. You'll use less plastic, saving both the environment and money. New Zealand has strict laws regarding arriving with fruit and veg into the country. Please pay attention to signs when arriving internationally. Please budget approximately $15 per lunch, and $20 - $40 for each dinner, perhaps a little more if you intend to also enjoy a glass of wine or beer with your meal.

    Money matters

    SPENDING MONEY When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget an appropriate amount for things like optional meals, drinks, shopping, optional activities, and laundry. Make sure you have read the itinerary and inclusions thoroughly so you know what is included in the trip price and what you may need to pay for while travelling. The currency of New Zealand is the New Zealand dollar . For the latest exchange rate refer to www.xe.com  prior to travel. The most convenient and cheapest way to acquire money is via an Automated Teller Machine (ATM). This allows you to draw funds from your personal account at a superior exchange rate. Most ATMs will also give you a cash advance on your credit card but be wary of high fees imposed by banks for this service. Bank fees for these withdrawals can be either a flat rate or a percentage of the amount withdrawn. Check with your bank for information on their international fees. There are ATMs (which accept both Visa and MasterCard) throughout the main stops on our itinerary and these are also accepted by the majority of local service providers. When leaving home don't forget your PIN number and make sure you know the telephone number for cancelling your card if it is stolen. In New Zealand, tipping is not expected but for certain things you may wish to for good service. As a guide, tipping applies when you sit down in a restaurant for a meal (10% is a general rule). You may also like to tip for exceptional service such as when we use local guides. When using taxis or buying drinks at a bar, rounding up is acceptable. You may also consider tipping your leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however as a guideline NZ$2-5 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service. EMERGENCY FUNDS: We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you bring an extra USD500 for emergencies (e.g. natural disasters or civil unrest). Sometimes these things necessitate last minute changes to our itineraries, and we can’t guarantee there won’t be some extra costs involved.

    What to take

    LUGGAGE LIMIT Please keep your luggage size and weight to a minimum. One small soft-sided bag plus a day pack (no more than 15 kg in total per person) is essential due to limited space for luggage in our vehicles. We recommend against bringing hard/externally framed suitcases as they are difficult to store in the vehicle and can damage equipment and other travellers' belongings.

    Packing for a cycling tour isn’t that different from any other adventure. But if you want to be comfortable and warm, here are a few bike-specific tips. • Helmet – these are compulsory, but if you don’t have your own you can sometimes purchase an approved and well-fitted one at the start of the trip (our leaders can assist you with this). There are some destinations where you are unable to purchase or hire appropriate helmets locally so you will need to bring your own - please check the 'Important Notes' section to see if this is the case. • Padded bike shorts • Quick-dry jerseys – you can definitely get away with a few cotton t-shirts but having a few light and breathable jerseys will make your cycling a lot more comfortable, especially in warmer/humid climates. • Quick-dry socks • Cycling gloves – not essential but recommended as padded cycle gloves will make your riding more comfortable and can help protect you in case of a fall. • Rain gear – pack a light poncho in case the weather turns when you’re out on the road • Light breathable waterproof/windproof – especially useful for those early mornings or downhill sections when the wind-chill becomes a factor. • Water bottle – we don't provide bottles but all our bikes have one bottle holder fitted (and a second one can be fitted if required). Please bring a cycling-specific water bottle as other types will fall out of the holders. A Camelbak will make drinking on-the-go easier. • Sunglasses – well fitted sports sunglasses help protect against dust, insects and (of course) the sun • Day pack – our support vehicle will carry your main bag, but a day pack for snacks and clothes is a good idea. • Suncream – please bring a high protection factor (e.g. SPF 50) sunscreen as long days in the saddle can really expose you to the sun • Shoes – normal sports shoes can be worn on all of our trips however you may want to consider a flat shoe with a relatively stiff sole as it makes pedalling a lot more efficient. Regular cyclists are welcome to bring their own cycling-specific shoes however we recommended 'mountain bike' style shoes that have grip on the sole rather than road bike' shoes as you will still be walking around while on the rides (cafe/photo/toilet stops, etc.). For safety reasons we require that you wear shoes that completely cover the toes while riding. • Saddles – are saddles are standard, unisex models –less experienced cyclists may choose to bring your own gel seat cover for added comfort. Regular cyclists are welcome to bring your own saddle – our leader will assist in fitting it to your bike • Pedals – all bikes come with flat pedals. Regular cyclists are welcome to bring their own pedals – our leader will assist in fitting them to your bike As space in our support vehicle/transport can be limited we request that you bring only a small luggage bag with you rather than larger bags or suitcases.

    BRINGING YOUR OWN BIKE If you would like to bring your own bike please see the 'Transport' section of your Essential Trip Information.

    ESSENTIALS: Layers! New Zealand has relaxed attitudes to standards of dress however there are a few practical considerations. New Zealand has a temperate climate but be prepared for colder temperatures (occasionally snow) even in summer months. Bring a waterproof jacket. The sunshine in New Zealand is harsh and a sunhat and sunglasses are a must. Closed-in shoes will help to protect your feet from cuts and scratches when walking through forest/grass-lands. A pair of jandals is good for the beach/shower. Sun protection - hat, sunscreen, sunglasses Water bottle. We recommend at least 2x 1 litre capacity bottes. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. RECOMMENDED: A Warm jacket and woollen hat are advisable for the colder months. Check the temperature at your destination before you travel. Personal medical kit. A larger kit will be on hand with your leader, but we recommend you carry items such as mild pain killers, electrolytes, Band-Aids and insect repellent. Camera with spare batteries. OPTIONAL: Sleep sheet. If you are travelling during the hot season you may wish to pack a sleep sheet so you will be comfortable no matter what the weather. Ear plugs A good book, journal and music player for longer drives. LUGGAGE LIMIT: Pack only your bare essentials. Due to limited space and strictly enforced road laws regarding weight limits, Intrepid travellers can carry a maximum of 20 kg. Please limit your luggage to one small to medium sized soft bag or backpack and a small daypack, which can be carried inside the vehicle. Intrepid cannot guarantee to carry overweight or oversized luggage. Please store bulky items at your pre tour accommodation. It may be necessary to freight excess luggage at your own expense. VALUABLES: Please try to avoid bringing unnecessary valuables. It’s also a good idea to purchase a money belt or pouch that is easily hidden. We strongly recommend that you photocopy all important documents e.g. air tickets, passport, vaccination certificate, etc. and keep the copies separate from the originals. While not valid, a photocopy makes it very much easier to obtain replacements if necessary. BATTERIES/POWER: Batteries may be recharged from hotel room wall sockets. Australian devices can be plugged into the wall in NZ. MORE! If you need some further tips for packing, you can always check out our ultimate packing list. https://www.intrepidtravel.com/packing-list

    WATER BOTTLE Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. Although it can be difficult to avoid bottled water when travelling, please use the water dispensers which are provided on some of our vehicles and at some of our accommodation. Your leader will advise whether tap water is safe to drink in your destination, if it is you can simply refill with tap water. When unable to avoid bottled water it is better to buy the largest available and distribute into your smaller bottle for the day.

    Climate and seasonal

    The average New Zealand temperature decreases as you travel south. January and February are the warmest months. July is the coldest month of the year. Check the Met Service website for forecasts prior to travel. We don't run trips on the South Island during winter due to potential road closures and poor weather. NZ can experience four seasons in a day, best to be prepared. Christchurch: Summer Average High – 22c (72F) Average Low – 12c (54F) Autumn Average High – 18c (64F) Average Low – 8c (46F) Spring. Average High – 17c (63F) Average Low – 7c (45F) FLEXIBLE ITINERARY: Our routes have been carefully chosen to include the best night stops and highlights. However, as road conditions, weather, local restrictions and group input may vary, no two trips will ever be the same. With the help of your tour leader and fellow travellers you may modify certain nightstops and highlights to give a truly unique experience!

    A couple of rules

    Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden. Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol while travelling, we encourage responsible drinking and expect that you’ll abide by the local laws regarding alcohol consumption. The sex tourism industry is known to exploit vulnerable people and have negative consequences on communities, including undermining the development of sustainable tourism. For this reason, patronising sex workers will not be tolerated on our trips. By travelling with us you are agreeing to adhere to these rules. You must at all times comply with the laws, customs, foreign exchange and drug regulations of all countries visited, and you also agree to travel in accordance with our Responsible Travel Guidelines. The decision of the group leader is final on all matters likely to affect the safety or well-being of any traveller or staff member participating in the trip. If you fail to comply with a decision made by a group leader, or interfere with the well-being or mobility of the group, the group leader may direct you to leave the trip immediately, with no right of refund. We may also elect not to carry you on any future trips booked. If you feel that someone is behaving inappropriately while travelling with us, please inform your tour leader or local guide immediately. Alternatively, contact us on the emergency contact number detailed in the Problems and Emergency Contact section of this Essential Trip Information. For additional Conditions of Carriage regarding COVID-19, see here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/conditions-carriage

    Feedback

    Can’t stop thinking about your adventure? Tell us all about it! We read each piece of feedback carefully and use it to make improvements for travellers like you. Share your experience with us at: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback/

    Emergency contact

    For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/ While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip. We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager. You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. Please do be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is completed, so informing us while still travelling will give us the opportunity to resolve the issue in real-time. Our local staff: +61 406 382 597

    Responsible travel

    Our Responsible Travel Policy outlines our commitment to preserving the environment, supporting local communities, protecting the vulnerable, and giving back to the places we travel. All our trip leaders, suppliers, and staff are trained on these principles and are core to us delivering sustainable, experience-rich travel. Explore the different parts of our Responsible Travel Policy by visiting: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/responsible-travel

    The Intrepid Foundation

    Help us change thousands of lives by creating meaningful work and supporting skills training in communities around the world. The Intrepid Foundation is the not-for-profit for Intrepid Group. We work with local organisations around the world to improve the livelihoods of vulnerable individuals and communities through sustainable travel experiences. With our travellers’ help, we’ve contributed more than AU $6 million to over 100 community organisations since 2002. Did you know that tourism is one of the biggest contributors to the global economy, making up 1 out of every 10 jobs? That’s why we support local projects that create meaningful jobs and give people the skills they need to work in the destinations we take you to. And it’s why we exist – to make it easy for travellers to give back to the communities and places they’ve been in an effective and meaningful way. Intrepid Group covers all administration costs, every cent goes directly to the projects. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information about the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or visit our website: http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/ Intrepid and Bicycles For Humanity At Intrepid, we know a bike can changes lives. Provide a person in the developing world with a bike and it means they can travel twice as far, twice as fast and carry four times the load. The extra mobility and distance gained from using a bike can make all the difference when seeking medicine or trying to find work. This is why we’ve partnered with Bicycles for Humanity to help provide bikes to communities in Namibia, Africa. Bicycles for Humanity takes bikes we no longer use, repairs them, packs them up and ships them off to the African continent in 40-foot containers. These containers then become bike workshops on arrival – a place of employment, education and business for the communities who receive them. Each of these Bicycle Empowerment Centres are self-sustaining, micro-financed small businesses and a massive step towards financial independence for the community. We also help by donating a portion of each booking of our cycling trips directly to Bicycles for Humanity, as well as using our network of contacts to bring greater exposure to the amazing work the volunteer team do every day at Bicycles for Humanity. We are also proud to have Bicycles for Humanity as a partner of The Intrepid Foundation, where our financial support will go directly towards purchasing containers and shipping bikes to Namibia. Every donation to The Intrepid Foundation from our travellers is matched by us dollar for dollar. To find out more or to make a donation, visit The Intrepid Foundation website.

    Accommodation notes

    While we endeavour to stay in the same accommodation on each departure of this trip there are times when we may use alternate accommodation in different locations. We will always ensure that while the location may the slightly different the standard will remain the same.

    Transport notes

    On this trip we use the Avanti Discovery 3, perfect for the trail. The bikes have front suspension, 29" wheels, and 27 speed high spec Shimano components. These bikes come in a range of sizes – please provide your height at time of booking so that we can reserve the perfect sized bike for you. Note these bikes are subject to change but will always be of the appropriate standard. RENTAL E-BIKES This trip includes an option of a motorised electric bicycle (e-bike) featuring an electric assist motor up to 25kph, at an additional cost. Please inquire at time of booking. BRINGING YOUR OWN BIKE While we’re confident in the quality and suitability of the bikes we include, we do recognise that sometimes you just need the comfort of your own bike to enjoy the ride. If you are thinking of bringing your own bike on this tour please advise us at time of booking and take note of the below information. If you do choose to bring your own bike please note that we will not being carrying a spare bike for you. SUITABLE TYPE OF BIKE Although the surfaces of the roads we travel on is generally good there are occasionally gravel or potholed sections of road/track. As such, we recommend a 'mountain' or 'hybrid' style bike with plenty of gear selections for easy cruising. Please note that we usually cannot accept tandem bikes on our tours as often they are too large for our transport. In some destinations we are able to make an exception. Please ask your booking agent. For more details on the type of roads we’ll be riding on see the ‘Physical Rating’ information. Please contact your booking agent if you have any questions about the suitability of your bike. BEFORE THE TRIP We recommend that you have a full service of your bike performed by a trained mechanic, to help minimise any issues you may have during the trip itself. Please also ensure that you have specific and adequate cover for loss, damage or theft for your bike under your travel, home contents or a specialist insurance policy. DURING THE TRIP Your bike will be transported in the same way as our included bikes, usually in the bike support vehicle or on the bike trailer. While we endeavour to take the best care we can, you should recognise that transported bikes do get the occasional bump or scratch along the way. The same applies when we take other forms of transport, such as a train, where we are unable to pack the bikes ourselves.Your bike will also be secured in the same way as our included bikes. Please note this can occasionally be outside (where the bikes are locked together). While our mechanics can usually assist with minor repairs, you are responsible for the safety and upkeep of your own bicycle. This includes conducting regular safety checks of your bike during the trip and cleaning your bike. In addition, any parts that require replacing are your responsibility. Most destinations have access to only limited spares along the way, and access to bike shops can be days apart. Therefore, please ensure you bring any spare parts that you may require (especially specialist parts). In order to reach our destination it is necessary for us to travel via various modes of transportation, including planes and trains. Please be aware that any extra costs involved with transporting personal bikes are your responsibility. This includes (but is not limited to) additional transport costs and customs/import fees. TRANSPORTING YOUR BIKE TO/FROM THE DESTINATION Your preferred airline should have no problem carrying your bike, but many will charge an extra fee. Contact them before departing to discuss their arrangements for transporting bikes. A well-padded bike box obtainable from a bike shop is usually the best method of plane transportation. We recommend that you accompany your bicycle on the flight. Unaccompanied bicycles have been known to spend some extra days in the hands of customs authorities. Please also note that many taxis are not large enough to transport a bike box/bag so you may be delayed waiting for a suitably sized vehicle. INCLUDED OR HIRE BIKES: CONDITIONS OF USE You must not mistreat the bicycle and must return it in the same condition as when you received it (excepting ordinary wear and tear). You should immediately inform the supplier in the case of breakdown or loss. The provider is entitled to charge for any damage caused to the bicycle during the period of hire. You must also make sure that the bicycle is secured when not in use. If the equipment is lost or stolen you may be liable for the replacement value of the bicycle. The bicycle remains the property of the supplier and you may not sell, rent out or part possession with the bicycle. You must not use the bicycle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

    Travel insurance

    Travel insurance is compulsory on all our trips for those travelling internationally. We require that at a minimum you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. If you are travelling within your home country or region please confirm before travel that you are entitled to access the public medical system easily should an accident occur. We strongly recommend all travellers have a policy that also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage or personal effects. For international trips, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24-hour emergency contact number has been sighted by your leader. If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number, and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and your credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country. Travellers who reside within the European Union or Switzerland receive basic international health insurance, so travel insurance is not mandatory under European Union Law. However, as this does not cover situations such as emergency rescues, private health care, or repatriation to their home country, comprehensive travel insurance is strongly recommended. European Union or Swiss travellers who decline travel insurance when travelling outside of their home region must sign a Travel Insurance Waiver Form at the Group Meeting. For assistance with travel insurance or other services, please visit the link below: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/booking-resources/our-services Australians travelling to New Zealand are eligible for publicly funded health care whilst in New Zealand. This medical care generally covers emergency treatment and is free. Please note that Intrepid travellers still require comprehensive travel insurance to cover against emergency repatriation, personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.

    Your fellow travellers

    As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons, we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure. SOLO TRAVELLERS This is the beauty of our style of travel: many of our travellers join because they are travelling solo and want to meet and share experiences with like-minded people. We pair up solo travellers with another traveller of the same gender as per your passport or the information we have in our booking system, so if you identify differently from the gender marker on your passport, please let us know in advance. We also have a Single Supplement available on most trips for travellers who prefer to have their own room. Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour. Pre-trip and post-trip accommodation booked through us will on a single room basis. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on an open gender, multi-share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Essential Trip Information. SINGLE SUPPLEMENT A single supplement is available on this trip, please refer to your booking agent for further information. Please note the Single Supplement includes your own room for nights 1-4. It does not include Day 5 (Tokhari Huts).

    Itinerary disclaimer

    ITINERARY CHANGES Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you review this information prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays, or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in-country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any such changes once on tour. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability, and maybe on a join-in basis. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your leader know you are interested in the Group Meeting and they can assist. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high-risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.

    Accommodation

    Hotel/Guesthouse (3 nts),Lodge (1nt),Hut (1 nt)

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