Auckland - Dunedin

Fly total time: 10 days

Clients can combine cycling with scenery in an 11 day trip that includes two of New Zealand’s most popular heritage rail trail cycle paths.  Time off the bike will be well spent enjoying the sights and activities of Auckland, Coromandel and Dunedin.

To ensure your clients are well rested after their flight, we recommend they stay a night or two in their arrival city before collecting a rental vehicle. Driving in a new country can be challenging and will be even worse if the driver is tired. The driver should always be well rested, take regular breaks during the journey and plan to drive for only 1-2 hours at a time.
 
New Zealand has unique road rules and driving conditions that your clients may not be used to. For a safe and enjoyable journey make sure your clients know where to find information on New Zealand’s road rules before they depart for their holiday.
 
Here are some suggestions:
  • Day 1: Auckland

    Drive Fly

    Arrive Auckland and enjoy a leisurely day exploring the CBD or head out on the water and explore one of the islands on the Waitemata Harbour such as Waiheke Island.

    Recommended activities:

    • Hit the shops in the CBD including the Britomart Precinct and find quality local goods as well the best international brands
    • Visit the Sky Tower for stunning views.  For an adrenalin rush book a Skyjump or Skywalk
    • Learn more about New Zealand’s history and people at the Auckland Museum
    • Experience New Zealand’s marine life up close at Kelly Tarlton’s Sea Life Aquarium in nearby Mission Bay
    • For an unforgettable experience, walk the Auckland Harbour Bridge or do a bungy
    • Head out on the sparkling waters of the Waitemata Harbour from the Viaduct area in the heart of downtown Auckland.  Take a cruise, go sailing or zip around by jet boat
    • Take a short ferry ride across the harbour to the charming seaside village of Devonport.  Browse the specialty shops and cafes or walk up Mt Victoria for great harbour views  
    • Head further afield with a half day boat trip to fascinating volcanic Rangitoto Island or have a full day trip to the laid back vineyards and beaches of Waiheke Island or West Auckland
    • Guided cycling is available on Waiheke Island  with Hike Bike Ako
  • Day 2: Auckland – Coromandel Peninsula

    Drive Fly 2 hours 26 minutes (by car) 191 KMS 118 MI
    2 options to get to Thames from Auckland.
     

    Option 1: Rent a car in Auckland and drive to Thames, at the  base of the Coromandel Peninsula.  Bird lovers can check out the birdlife via the Miranda Coast.

    Option 2: Take the ferry from Downtown Auckland to Coromandel Town and take a connecting bus to Thames.
     

    Recommended activities:

    Discover the local history or enjoy scenic walks in and around Thames. Choices include:
     
  • Day 3: Day 1 of Hauraki Rail Trail from Thames to Waikino via Paeroa, 47 kms

    Drive Fly 1 hour 47 KMS 29 MI

    Enjoy panoramic views of the bush clad Coromandel Ranges as you cycle past the farmlands of the Firth of Thames and along the tidal Waihou River.

    Go to the Hauraki Trail website to find out more.

    Recommended activities:

    Stop for a tasty snack at the Cheese Barn in Matatoki before cycling on to Paeroa for a lunch stop and quick browse in the antique shops.
     
    A head torch will light the way as you cycle through the historic 1.1km Karangahake mining tunnels spotting the glow worms along the way.  Take a well-deserved break at Ohinemuri Winery, The Talisman or The Falls Bistro later on.
     
    For energetic clients, arrive at Waikino by 2.30pm and take the historic train to Waihi, 7 kms away and explore this mining town. Or check out some local cycle trails such as :
     
    • The easy riverside trail to the old Victoria Battery where iron ore was processed.  Enjoy views of the Owharoa waterfall en-route
    • Cycle over a bridge and through a tunnel to the Waikino Station and climb aboard a scenic 7km journey to Waihi by vintage train
    • Ride the 4km Waihi Pit Rim Trail around an open gold mine pit
  • Day 4: Day 2 of the Hauraki Rail Trail from Waikino to Te Aroha via Paeroa, 35kms

    Drive Fly 40 minutes 35 KMS 21 MI
     
     

    Recommended activities:

    • Return to Waikino Station Café in style on board the Goldfields Vintage Railway. Fuel up with lunch at one of the cafes in Karangahake Gorge such as The Falls Retreat, 25 Waitawheta Road, Ohinemuri Winery & Restaurant, Moresby Street or The Talisman Café
    • Cycle 14km back to Paeroa beside  the Ohinemuri River through the scenic Karangahake Gorge.  Take a break at Paeroa or carry on 21km to Te Aroha.  Relax and refresh with a soak in the hot pools, a massage or beauty treatment at Te Aroha Mineral Spa
    • Return to Thames with the bike on the Sherpa Shuttle Bus or have a relaxing evening then overnight in Te Aroha
  • Day 5 and 6: Queenstown

    Drive Fly
    On the morning of day 5, your clients will drive from the Coromandel back to Auckland. This drive will take approximately 2.5 – 3 hours. They can drop their car off at Auckland Airport and take a domestic flight from Auckland to Queenstown.
     
    Base your clients in the spectacular alpine village of Queenstown for the next two or three days. This all year round lakeside resort is the gateway to experiencing a scenic region that offers a fantastic range of recreational and lifestyle activities to suit every client. 

    Recommended activities:

    Queenstown is outdoor adventure heaven.  Most activities can be enjoyed all year round with the snow sport season from June to early October.  There’s also plenty of opportunities to relax with top quality local food and wine experiences.
     
    • Cycle your heart out by mountain bike from the top of Bob’s Peak and catch a ride back up by gondola with your bike. Braver clients can check out Heli biking for a real adrenalin rush
    • Cycle the easy Queenstown Trail around the Franklin Arm of Lake Wakatipu from the township
    • Adventure activities include bungy jumping, jet boating, white water rafting and ziplining
    • For snow enthusiasts head up to Coronet Peak or The Remarkables skifields, just 30-40 minute by car or shuttle.  Further afield, Cardrona and Treble Cone ski fields near Wanaka are just an hour by car or shuttle (season mid June to mid October, varing by year and field)
    • Enjoy the pristine waters of Lake Wakatipu on a boat cruise and visit a high country station.Take a tour and check out some of the stunning locations featured in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies. (Have a look at our Middle-earth itineraries).
    • Enjoy world class golf courses including Jack’s Point, Millbrook and The Hills.
    • Take a wine tour to get a taste of the region’s 75 wineries
    • Grab a bike and go cycling – options are available to suit everyone, including cycling on the Queenstown Trail, mountain biking and heli biking
    • Ride the gondola and enjoy spectacular views from the Skyline complex on Bob’s Peak
  • Day 7: Queenstown – Omakau (part of the Otago Central Rail Trail)

    Drive Fly 1 hour and 23 minutes 112 KMS 69 MI

    Bus or shuttle

    This morning you will transfer out to the start of the Otago Central Rail Trail in Clyde with your chosen operator.  Arrive in time to cycle the first third of the trail in the afternoon.
     
    Day 1 of the Central Otago Rail Trail Queenstown to Lauder via Clyde, 44 km
     
    This stunning cycle way extends 150kms along the former railway line from Clyde to Middlemarch passing through rocky mountain landscapes, lush farmland, deep river gorges, tunnels, viaducts and historic goldmining towns.  
     
    Its wide gravel pathway is an easy 1 to 50 gradient, ideal for walkers, cyclists and horse riders.
     
    The Rail Trail is busiest from October to April when temperatures can reach 35 degrees Celsius or above. Autumn and spring is more moderate, but temperatures can fluctuate drastically during the course of a day, whatever the season. It’s best to prepare for all weathers.  
     
    The trail is open during winter (June-August), but few people travel then and fewer services operate. 
     
    Enjoy a fairly flat ride from Clyde to Alexandra, passing through orchards, vineyards and farmland covered with merino sheep.  
     
    Take a break in the bustling town of Alexandra before heading into the stark beauty of the unique Central Otago landscape with its schist rock.

    Recommended activities:

    • Take a detour from the Alexandra end of Galloway to see the Manorburn Dam.  It’s worth the 1km return trip
    • Take a 2km side trip from Omakau, across the Manuherikia River to the charming historic gold town of Ophir with its quaint stone buildings
    • Return to Omakau via the 1880 Daniel O’Connell Suspension Bridge (5km round trip)
  • Day 8: Lauder - Ranfurly

    Drive Fly 37 minutes 53 KMS 32 MI

    Day 2 of Central Otago Rail Trail from Lauder to Ranfurly, 48kms

    Ride a spectacular section of the Otago Central Rail Trail passing through landmarks with a fascinating history.  It took 300 workers, 3 years to build the 2 tunnels and bridges cutting through the rugged terrain. Keep a lookout for the rare Karearea, New Zealand’s native falcon.

    Recommended activities:

    • After walking through the tunnels, cycle across the 108m long spectacular Poolburn Viaduct. This impressive bridge is 37 metres high and features local schist rock
    • Cruise downhill to Oturehua and views of the Ida Burn Dam, which freezes over in winter so locals can enjoy curling, an ancient winter ice sport.  Get something to eat at Gilchrist’s, an olde world general store
    • Do a side trip to St Bathans with its picturesque old stone buildings, eerie landscape and manmade blue lake from either Wedderburn or Oturehua
    • Ride across the Maniototo Plains to Ranfurly, famous for its art deco architecture
    • Take a side trip to Naseby or Dansey’s Pass from Ranfurly or Wedderburn to experience more of the area’s historic towns
  • Day 9: Ranfurly to Middlemarch

    Drive Fly 49 mins 64 KMS 39 MI
    Day 3 Central Otago Rail Trail Ranfurly to Middlemarch, 60km
     
    The trail continues along the Maniototo Plain to the village of Waipiata.  Follow the river as it winds its way through the beautiful Taieri Gorge.
     
    End The Otago Central Rail Trail experience 400 metres before the historic Middlemarch Station open since 1891.
     
    Get transport from Middlemarch to Dunedin through the cycle tour operator or travel by train on the historic Taieri Gorge Railway for a memorable end to this cycle tour.  Check the seasonal timetable for availability.

    Recommended activities:

    • Check out the carefully preserved Cap Burn stone bridge at Tiroiti made of distinctive local stone
    • Enjoy the view as you cross the 91-metre long, 32-metre high Price’s Creek Viaduct
    • Spot the distinctive cone-shaped volcanic hills as you cross the Strath Taieri Plain with its rolling hills, low bridges and small streams
    • Stop for a photo of the dramatic 1400-metre high Rock and Pillar Range with its huge rocky outcrops
     
  • Day 10: Middlemarch -Dunedin

    Drive Fly 1 hour 79 KMS 49 MI

    Enjoy the southern hospitality of Dunedin with its historic buildings, arts and crafts culture and unique wildlife experiences.

    Recommended activities:

    Choose from a great range of options for all ages and interests:
     
  • Day 11: Depart New Zealand

    Drive Fly

    Today your clients will depart New Zealand.

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