The Route

The Route

Our plan was to spend a good amount of time in the south island rather than rushing to see both.  With this in mind we decided to take the roads encircling the island with a couple of detours along the way.  The trip covered 3000km which we spread over 40 days of cycling and we broke the cycling up with at least one non cycling day a week.  With an average of only 75km/day you can see we didn’t push too hard but we were carrying a lot of gear, with the trailer I guess about 35+ kg on my bike.  The longest day 114km and the shortest 27km.  Our average speed was between 15-20kph with 2-6.5 hours in the saddle each day.

Well that’s the stats out of the way!  The main things to consider on this island is the distance between towns, shops and campsites.  We always managed to make a town or campsite but this did mean a few long days, for instance Nelson to St Arnaud is 90km uphill with very few options to stop after the first 30km.  There are always places to wilderness camp but we aimed for a shower and although we did carry enough food for a day or so we did try to buy veggies when we arrived at the destination to save weight.  It is always best to ask a local what is on the way to your next planned stop as many townships shown on the map don’t even have a shop and if they do they may close early on Saturdays and not open on Sundays.

The route below is what we actually did.  I haven’t put a map up as it is generally self-explanatory.  We used the Lonely Planet Cycling guide which was helpful but could have been much better.  Peddler’s Paradise is a locally produced guide which is smaller and lighter yet still has all the info you need.  Both books need to be used as a guide only as shops open and close so do campsites, also the elevation graphs look daunting but this is mainly down to the scales they use so don’t get too scared!

Day 1 Christchurch – Wapiara Junction 65-80km

Day 2 Wapiara Junction – Hunuri Village 27km

Day 3 Hunuri Village – Hamner Springs

Day 4 Hamner Springs – Cheviot

Day 5 Cheviot – Kiakora 77km

Day 6 Kiakora – Peddler’s Rest (Ward) 77km

Day 7 Peddler’s Rest – Blenhiem 68km

Day 8 Blenhiem – Havelock 68km

Day 9 Havelock – Nelson 75km

Day 10 Nelson – St Arnaud 90km

Day 11 St Arnaud – Murchinson 68km

Day 12 Murchinson – Westport 101km

Day 13 Westport – Punakaiki 62km

Day 14 Punakaki – Greymouth 48km

Day 15 Greymouth – Hokitika 46km

Day 16 Hokitika – Hari Hari 77km

Day 17 Hari Hari – Franz Josef 67km

Day 18 Franz Josef – Fox Glacier

Day 19 Fox Glacier – Lake Paringa 72km

Day 20 Lake Paringa – Hasst 55km

Day 21 Haast – Makarora 82km

Day 22 Makarora – Wanaka 67km

Day 23 Wanaka – Queenstown

Day 24 Queenstown – Mossburn 114km

Day 25 Mossburn – Te Anau 65km

Day 26 Te Anau – Tuatapere 107km

Day 27 Tuatapere – Invercargill

Day 28 Invercargill – Papatowa 113km

Day 29 Papatowa – Balclutha 62km

Day 30 Balclutha – Dunedin 96km

Day 31 Dunedin – Palmerston 67km

Day 32 Palmerston – Oamaru 73km

Day 33 Oamaru –Kurow 73km

Day 34 Kurow – Omarama 54km

Day 35 Omarama – Twizel 35km

Day 36 Twizel – Mt Cook 69km

Day 37 Mt Cook – Lake Tekapo 105km

Day 38 Lake Tekapo – Geraldine 96km

Day 39 Geraldine – Methven 84km

Day 40 Methven – Christchurch 112km

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