Cycling holiday in New Zealand

“An eight day cycling trip along South Island’s Otago Rail Trail, with the company of a small group of like minded travellers and experienced guides.”


Queenstown | Clyde | Alexandra | Historic gold mining towns of St Bathan's and Ophir | Poolburn Gorge | Ida Valley | Naseby | Ranfurly | Manioto Plains | Taieri River | Taieri Gorge Tourist Train | Dunedin

Description of Cycling holiday in New Zealand

This New Zealand cycling holiday takes you to the country’s South Island - well known for its stunning landscapes, friendly locals and outstanding wines. Here you’ll explore some of the country’s best scenery along with a small group of travellers and with the help of expert guides.
Your journey starts in Queenstown, the country’s adventure capital, where you’ll have to chance to bungee, kayak or jet boat to your heart’s content, or just check out the local dining and drinking scene, before your trip begins in earnest.

On this tour you’ll be following the Otago Central Rail Trail. One of the country’s best-loved rides, this 152 km trail was once used to transport supplies to and from the Gold Fields and cycling along it you’ll be introduced to small gold-mining towns such as St Bathan’s, Ophir, Wedderburn and Hyde, enjoying a warm welcome in local cafes and taverns. Along the way you’ll pass through farmland, valleys and vast open plains and meander along rivers and gorges.

You’ll cycle between 16km and 48 km a day, and will be accompanied by a support vehicle. We only use local staff and you’ll stay in locally-owned hotels and guesthouses and eat locally grown fresh produce.

Travel Team

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Responsible tourism

Cycling holiday in New Zealand

Carbon reduction

Your holiday will help support local people and conservation. We must also reduce CO2. Learn about the CO2 emissions of this holiday and how to reduce them.


On cycling trips it’s easy to use plastic excessively through single-use plastic bottles (e.g. bottled water and isotonic), especially in hotter climates and during the summer months. Rather than use single-use plastic bottles we refill our reusable water bottles using tap water from the small towns we pass through along the way. We also encourage people to snack on fresh, seasonal fruits rather than processed ones in plastic wrappers. As well as taking their rubbish to larger towns which have suitable waste management and recycling facilities.

Our greatest contribution to minimising our transportation's impact on the environment is to travel by bike, avoiding the use of any energy or fuel. When we do use a vehicle we are committed to providing local experiences and as part of this philosophy during this trip we use local forms of transport wherever possible. Where we use private transport we stick to the small back roads which minimises the impact on locals using the main roads for daily routines. Where we do use a support vehicle, we will always ensure that it is an appropriate size to suit the cyclists it supports – no using a 16-seater minivan if we only have five people travelling. We also use a local train at the end of the trip rather than a private vehicle, helping to minimise our carbon footprint.

On this trip we have joined up with a local New Zealand-based supplier who shares our commitment to responsible business, from waste and water management to ensuring we are leaving as minimal a foot (or rather tyre) print as possible. We ensure they are educated on all aspects of responsible business and supported in making any changes they need to improve in this regard. We are also proud to work with members of the 'The Rail Trail Operator’s Group’ who work alongside the Otago Central Rail Trail Trust, the New Zealand Department of Conservation and the local community to ensure the upkeep of this unique cycling destination.


An important part of travel is mixing with the locals and experiencing “real life” in your destination. On this trip, along with staying in locally-owned hotels/guesthouses, we visit small cafes and restaurants and buy locally produced crafts and locally grown fresh produce. This gives locals the opportunity to earn money directly and our travellers the chance to interact with local people in their everyday environment.

We also use only New Zealand cycling guides and support staff, as well as local guides in many destinations.

We source local activities which we believe are sustainable to the economy in that they allow the flow of income from visitors to be distributed to a greater audience, rather than remain concentrated with tourism providers. This could be as simple as spending time in a local café, to cooking classes in a local home and shopping at small local stores. On this trip you have the opportunity to visit and stay in a variety of small towns that owe much of their existence on cyclists riding the rail trail, learn about the areas fascinating history and contribute to the preservation of this unique cycling environment.
The role of females in cycling has often been that of support staff. To help combat this we try and ensure as many of our cycling trips as possible have a head female cycling guide.

All aspects of this trip (on the ground) are operated by New Zealanders (most of whom live locally) including all our cycling guides, support vehicle drivers, local site guides, and accommodation providers. We provide our cycling leaders with a formal 4-day cycling training course so that they are up to speed with the needs of our travellers as well as building their skills.

Locals know where the best food, souvenirs, local crafts and entertainment can be found. This trip is operated by local New Zealanders and we ensure any shopping opportunities, from the larger centres like Queenstown and Dunedin to the tiny towns such as Chatto Creek, offer authentic experiences that showcase New Zealand's rich and unique food, culture and crafts.

New Zealand also has a rich arts and craft culture, with a special emphasis on Maori arts such as greenstone and wood carving. Rather than shopping in larger tourist shops we recommend checking out the small village morning markets that often feature the work of local craftspeople.

Food and wine is often a highlight in New Zealand and especially in the Otago region, and we offer a variety of opportunities to sample the full range, from the renowned pinot noir reds to the crisp Chardonnays. Fresh food is abundant and delicious in New Zealand with of course lamb and trout being perennial favourites. But, for a truly local experience we also recommend lunch at the historic Chatto Creek Tavern for some classic New Zealand food and hospitality.

Our cycling trips usually have a maximum group size of 16 to minimise our impact on the smaller communities we cycle through in New Zealand. We believe this is the perfect size for a cycling trip in this region while respecting the capabilities of the destinations we visit, especially along the smaller rail trails we cycle on. Overtourism is an issue we are very conscious of and we are taking measures to ensure our impact on the communities we visit and their environment is our top priority.

As part of our commitment to responsible travel a portion of your trip cost will be donated to Bicycles for Humanity – a not-for-profit, volunteer run, grass roots charity focused on the alleviation of poverty through sustainable transport – in the form of a bicycle. In the developing world a bicycle is life changing, allowing access to health care, education, economic opportunity and wider community. A bicycle means you can travel twice as far, twice as fast and carry four times the load, providing a profound and lasting positive effect for the individual as well as their community. Bicycles for Humanity collect donated (used or new) bicycles, repair them if needed and send them to Africa. Along with donated bicycles each of the 40ft shipping containers that Bicycles for Humanity sends becomes a bike workshop, providing employment, skills, training, business, opportunity and economic development for the community in which it's placed, helping the community to move away from aid dependence.

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