Day 1 Arriving Queenstown
After settling in to the bustling adventure destination of Queenstown we headed out for a days exploring before heading off on the bike packing epic adventure. Stunning scenery wherever we looked which raised expectations big time of what might be ahead.
Day 2 Leaving Queenstown for Wanaka 77km @ 1062m
Our first stage took us through Arrowtown which is a great old mining town and a logical spot for the first coffee break before you head up and over The Crown Range. Quite a European climb with great views across the valley toward Arrowtown and beyond. Then a wonderful descent off the range and definitely stop for lunch at the Cardrona Hotel which has an historic bar and outstanding beer garden.
Mistake for the day was we did not realise there was a gravel track to Arrowtown.
Day 3 Wanaka to Haast 142km @ 1220m
After a great dinner in Wanaka with Romans’ friends we set out on our Queens stage which turned out to be the prettiest riding imaginable. 18km’s after leaving Wanaka we had a 35km section that first hugged lake Hawea and then after crossing The Neck we tracked Lake Wanaka and then refuelled at Makaroa. (this is the only spot with food so you must stop!!). Met a wonderful couple of bike packing brits who shared information on there NZ journey which was stored for another day. After refuelling it was a gentle and steady climb up and over Haast Pass cycling through beautiful rainforest, stopping at a couple of waterfalls and cruising with a light rain falling. A brilliant day and then stayed in Haast enjoying our first NZ pub meal.
Wanaka to Haast Route https://www.strava.com/activities/1990468102
Day 4 Haast to Fox Glacier 124km @ 994m
Once again, a very pretty start to the ride for the first half of the ride with snow capped peaks all to our right, had a quick stop at Lake Paringa and then salmon chowder at the salmon farm cafe at the 60km mark. Stop here for lunch before pushing on to the very pretty Fox Glacier.
Day 5 Fox Glacier to Ross 140km @ 1430m
Another very stunning day leaving Fox Glacier for Franz Josef Glacier. Coffee stop at Franz Glacier and a little gravel track to base of the glacier. very green undulating ride with a sensational lunch stop at first cafe as you come into Hari Hari. Terrific owner with delicious food. From here rolled into the old mining town of Ross with its water filled mine opposite one of the oldest pubs in NZ.
Day 6 Ross to Kumara 103km @ 770m
This stage was about 85% gravel on the West Coast Wilderness Trail. Super pretty trail using old rail lines and tracing water races created during the gold mining days 100 years ago. Stopped for water at Cowboy Paradise and chatted to the owner who is developing a stop for cyclists. There is accomodation here if an alternative stop to Kumara is preferred. Awesome views from his new balcony. For us it was off to Kumara for another great pub meal.
Day 7 Kumara to Bealey 83km @ 1230m
Today was the day we headed east toward Christchurch over Arthurs Pass. After leaving the Otira Stagecoach Hotel which is a simple lunch stop with a pretty fascinating hotel with all sorts of collectibles and historic photos. Definitely stop here before taking on Arthurs Pass with its challenging kilometre or so of plus 20% pinches in it. After cresting the top we spent the night at the Bealey Hotel. Stop for a night here as it is remote and gorgeous.
Day 8 Bealey to Christchurch 135km @ 996m
Our final day leaving Bealey started in rain. This hotel is a must as the location and views are stunning, meals are sensational with their own Aussie pastry chef. Burger is brilliant as is the apple strudel. Leaving Bealey we had a tail wind all the way to Christchurch which was a welcome assist on ur final day of this awesome NZ route.