Your tour begins! This morning you have the option to explore the extinct volcanic crater of Banks Peninsula, with a drive around several stunning lookout spots recommended by us. Next you will venture north via the alpine village of Hanmer Springs where you could enjoy a soak in at Hanmer Springs Thermal Reserve and a nice lunch at a nearby cafe. Following this you will head into the wilderness of the Lewis Pass, where you will spend the night at Maruia Springs, a Japanese style onsen nestled in the mountains, surrounded by natural hot springs.
This morning you will leave your alpine surroundings and head North towards the coastal city of Nelson! Pass through the gorgeous town of Murchison and alongside the stunning Buller River before heading up and over the Hope Saddle. Once you reach the city of Nelson the afternoon is free to explore. Perhaps walk up Botanical Hill to the very centre of New Zealand, laze the day away at Tahunanui Beach or enjoy the region’s stunning wineries. The cycling adventure starts tomorrow!
Today you start the Great Taste Trail Coastal Route from the centre of Nelson. You will head towards neighbouring Richmond. You’ll head up and over a gentle slope and pass by Waimea Inlet which is home to many different species of sea bird, including the Australasian bittern, royal spoonbill and white heron. You’ll turn off to the North as the trail splits into two tracks, crossing the Waimea river on a suspension bridge and heading for the golden sandy beaches of the Abel Tasman area. Next up you’ll cycle through the pine forested and beachy parts of Rabbit Island/Moturoa, before catching the 200m ferry over to Mapua. Mapua is a very happening place with some cool shops and cafes and also the Golden Bear Brewing Company down near the wharf. Rest up for another day of cycling tomorrow!
Back on yer bike! This morning you’ll roll along the coastline of Ruby Bay and then veer off inland towards rolling green hill country. You’ll climb up a gentle slope to a stunning viewpoint looking out over the Western Ranges and the sparkling blue waters of Tasman Bay. Soon you’ll descend down towards Motueka, a very charming small town surrounded by fruit orchards and hop gardens. Sample some of the area’s finest brews at one of the many local breweries and perhaps enjoy dinner at The Smoking Barrel – A local institution showcasing the area’s delicious produce.
Today you’ll again enjoy a great mix of coastal scenery and rolling green hills. Cross the beautiful Motueka River and reach the small town of Riwaka, famous for its (you guessed it) breweries, fruit stalls and meat pies! Following your time in Riwaka, you’ll cycle along some gorgeous coastline, crossing many bridges over rivers that have come to meet the sea. Climb up once again to a stunning viewpoint out over Tasman Bay and descend down towards Kaiteriteri Beach, first cycling under an underpass which joins up with Kaiteriteri Mountain Bike Park, leading to the beautiful seaside village. Here can enjoy golden sandy beaches and beautiful blue waters, as well as enjoy a delicious meal at Kai Restaurant & Bar.
Today you’ll explore the best of Abel Tasman National Park by enjoying a stunning half day kayaking trip that covers part of a marine reserve. Abel Tasman is New Zealand’s smallest National Park and is famous for its golden beaches, turquoise waters, native bush and spectacular scenery. Enjoy a guided paddle between Marahau and Observation Beach where you will be provided with an early lunch. Observe the marine reserve’s playful inhabitants – dolphins, fur seals, penguins and sea birds, then return by Water Taxi for a scenic cruise back to Marahau. The rest of the afternoon is free to spend at leisure. Tonight you will dine at your resort, overlooking the ocean.
This morning you farewell the sunny North Coast and head southwest, to the lush rainforest of the West Coast. En route you will stop in at Underworld Adventures in Charleston. Here they will kit you up for the trip of a lifetime through their glowworm caves. The journey starts with a trip on their rainforest train, a walk through the rainforest and a journey into their large limestone cave. Following this you will lie on a tube and drift under the light of thousands upon thousands of glow worms on the cave ceiling. This particular cave has more glowworms than any other cave in NZ and the experience is truly cathartic. Upon arrival in Punakaiki you have the option of enjoying a true blue New Zealand pub meal this evening before calling it a night.
In Punakaiki this morning you can explore the pancake rocks and blowholes situated right next to the village; a bizarre, rugged, rocky landscape which impresses thousands of visitors each year with its powerful forces of nature. Next up, check out the beautiful Truman Track down to the beach, or a section of the Pororari River Track. Following this you will drive South to Greymouth where you will ride the magnificent Tranz-Alpine Train through the Southern Alps to Christchurch. This was voted one of the most scenic train journeys in the world. Keep a look out for the Bealey River with the towering Alps above and try to spot our native parrot; the Kea, along the way. The scenery is truly breath-taking. Upon arrival in Christchurch you will conclude your tour, we hope you’ve had a fantastic time in the top of the South!
“If you are contemplating visiting NZ and signing up with The Road Trip, don’t hesitate! It will be one of your best vacations!”
Vani Koduru – USA, December 2017