Our Christchurch to Nelson Off Toad Tour showcases two of the best off-road cycle trails in the South Island, the Westland Wilderness Trail on the West Coast and the Great Taste Trail at the top of the South Island. NZBT have put together an itinerary that links these two visually and geographically diverse trail experiences with cycling on rarely used bush roads through stunning beach forests, 270 km in total.
February and March are great months for cycling in this area, and while the chance of rain is ever-present, it is more likely to be a passing shower, than an all day event at this time of year.
NB: B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner
Christchurch 20 March 2022 (D) 10km
NZBT guides will meet you at your accommodation, the Orari Bed and Breakfast, for bike fittings followed by a short ride around Hagley Park.
Your accommodation 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.
Accommodation at Orari Bed and Breakfast.
Enjoy dinner at one of Christchurch’s excellent restaurants.
Christchurch to Greymouth 21 March 2022 (B,L,D) 31km
Early breakfast before your pickup to catch the Tranzalpine train from Christchurch, reaching its Greymouth on the West Coast in just under five hours. Lunch in Greymouth before starting the Westland Wilderness Trail at Greymouth Railway Station, with an easy and flat cycle to Kumara, an old gold mining town. Accommodation and dinner at the historical Theatre Royal, Kumara.
Kumara to Hokitika 22 March 2022 (B,L,D) 72km
Today is a day of outstanding variety in both surroundings and cycling and generally an easy gradient. Cycle on gravel trails, boardwalks and passes remnants of bygone mining. Pass ancient Podocarp forests to Cowboys Paradise, a replica Wild West town, and on to Lake Kaniere, with a picnic lunch. Cycle to your accommodation at Beachfront Hotel, Hokitika, where you will stay for the next two nights. Dinner at Beachfront.
Hokitika to Ross 23 March 2022 (B,L) 33km
There are a couple of ride possibilities today, one way or return (66 km).
An easy cycle today on the southern section and final section of the Wilderness Trail from Hokitika to Ross. Pass through wetlands, native forest, past old mills and lagoons to the end of the Wilderness Trail at the historic gold mining town of Ross. After checking out the gold museum at the information centre, van transfer back to Hokitika. Enjoy dinner from one of the local eateries.
Maruia to Murchison 24 March 2022 (B,L,D) 36km
Our day starts with a two-hour van ride to the Buller region of New Zealand. Begin cycling at Maruia. Cycle down the Matakitaki Valley (Matakitaki means “to gaze at with admiration”) through thick beech forests, grasslands and farmlands, to the country town of Murchison. The earthquake-ravaged cliffs of Old Man Mountain provide a stunning backdrop and a sharp reminder that the Matakitaki Valley is on a fault line.
Accommodation is at Murchison Motels, and dinner at The Lazy Cow.
Murchison to Richmond 25 March 2022 (B,L,D) 66km
We cycle 27 km through farmland and beech tree forests from Murchison to Rotoroa via the unpaved Mangles Valley Road, Braeburn track and Gowan Valley Road to Gowan Bridge at SH6. Transfer to Kohatu where we begin cycling the Great Taste Trail to Richmond via Spooners Tunnel.
Accommodation at Parkside Motel, Richmond
Dinner at Three Rooms Restaurant, Richmond.
Kaiteriteri to Richmond 26 March 2022 (B,D) 62km
After a transfer from Richmond to Kaiteriteri, we cycle Tasman’s Great Taste Trail towards Nelson along the coast of Tasman Bay, with panoramic coastal and mountain views. We stop for lunch at the Mapua wharf to enjoy cottage-industry shops, cafes and restaurants. After lunch, catch a ferry to Rabbit Island and cycle on to the edge of the Waimea Estuary, home to a range of internationally significant bird species, including the white heron and royal spoonbill. We finish the Great Taste Trail at Richmond, a country town on the outskirts of Nelson.
Accommodation Parkside Motel, Richmond
Dinner at The Lemongrass, Richmond
Richmond 27 March 2022 (B) No cycling
All distances are in km. The quoted cycling distances for each day are based on our day maps and represent the maximum expected riding, but are likely to be decreased to suit individual needs and weather conditions on the day.
Breakfast and morning tea are provided each day and picnic lunches and dinner on most days. Included dinners are catered by NZBT. Snacks, fruit and drinking water are available at all times.
The accommodation for this trip has been selected to provide a comfortable nights sleep at the end of a long day. The accommodation is on a twin-share or double room basis, with private facilities. Breakfasts will be continental, however, because these are self-prepared, there is a degree of flexibility if you let me know a few days ahead.
Payment and Booking Conditions
The price in twin share accommodation for the above seven day, six night tour, is NZ$2700 per person.
All adventures, no matter how modest, involve an element of risk - that is their nature. However, throughout your vacation, safety is always the most important consideration. Our experienced and safety-conscious guides are there when you need them.
Health and fitness
This is an active holiday so you need to be fit and in good health. If you are taking medication not listed on the registration form please let your guide know. Fitness is difficult to define. However, as a general rule you should be able to comfortably cycle for up to 3 - 4 hours a day. The fitter you are the more enjoyable your trip will be.
The weather can be changeable with a trip like this, so will need to have suitable clothing for a wide range of conditions. We recommend you pack your luggage in a soft sports bag for easy stowing in the trailer.