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Cycling New Zealand's South Island

Listed under Cycling in Christchurch, New Zealand.

  • Photo of Cycling New Zealand's South Island
  • Photo of Cycling New Zealand's South Island
  • Photo of Cycling New Zealand's South Island
  • Photo of Cycling New Zealand's South Island
Photo of Cycling New Zealand's South Island
Photo by flickr user SqueakyMarmot
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While all of New Zealand offers amazing cycling the majority of cycle tourists prefer the South Island for its scenery, less traffic and easier cycling. One of the best cycling trips in New Zealand is along the West Coast of the South Island. In six or seven days you'll pass through rainforests, along the edge of both rocky and sandy coastlines and see the highlights between Christchurch and Queenstown. There are less cars on the road of the South Island and there is plenty of great routes and challenging riding. Towns tend to be just the right distance apart for comfortable cycling so you have the option of camping or finding rooms to stay in and you don't have to carry huge amounts of supplies if you don't want to.

If you have more time you can do a whole loop of the South Island which will take you between four and six weeks, depending on exactly what you want to see. This kind of longer road trip can offer you a good mix between adventure and solitude and you can take side trips and walk up Mount Cook or do a days seakayaking for example. You have heaps of choice about which route to take and outfitters offer many guided or self guided trips if you need help deciding.

Written by  Hedley Wilton.

Other expert and press reviews

“Cycling New Zealand”

A legendary destination for cycletourists. The South Island is prettier, but more challenging, with worse weather. The West Coast route here is a popular and highly scenic route but VERY rainy. Pedal over surprisingly short Haast Pass towards Wanaka a… Read more...

Written by  BikeBrats.

Comments, reviews and questions by other travellers

Thanks Hedley Wilton for presenting a nice post on cycling. Here you have mentioned a nice place of South Island of New Zealand for its beautiful scenery. It has also many other things like less traffic, easier cycling. It is a very enjoyable place for cycling I think. If I will cycling in future I will go there definitely. I think Hedley is very much like cycling. If you want more on cycling you may visit

lonely biker

what tour is more scenic and less challenging

the christchurch to quenstown or nelson to queenstown

through the west coast?

how many days for these routes?

Feasible Cycling New Zealand South Island in Winter?

Is it feasible to cycle at South Island during June-August? Will it snow? How cold can it be? What's special gears for the bike? How worse the weather can be?

1 Reply

It does snow, but not everywhere, so there are still plenty of options for cyclists who don't mind the cold. Temperatures get pretty low at night so you might be less inclined to want to say in a tent, but there are lots of nice, clear, sunny days so in other respects this is a good time for it.

South Island Cycling

From the far north of the North Island to the far south of the South Island, there is an amazing range of stunning scenery. The two islands are dramatically different, each deserving a separate leisurely holiday.

The South Island offers some of the best cycling in the world, with spectacular alpine scenery, rain forest, glaciers and fiords and wild deserted beaches – all this with a population of just 900,000.

If you would like help planning a ride in New Zealand, let me know:

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