I plan to tour South Island by bicycle from mid January 2009 to mid February 2009 ending in Picton for a few days. I plan to use panniers and stay in cheap accommodation. I had thought of starting in Queenstown and cycling north. Which would be the best route? East or West coast etc. Is Queenstown a good starting place? I am 63 but quite fit and ride up to 200 miles per week and have done several other tours up to 2000 miles long. Any advice would be appreciated. There could be two of us on the trip.
I can tell you the roads on the West coast on the South Island are sometimes very hilly with lots and lots of bends. Some of the roads are not the widest, so you could end up in the ditch if a bus or coach had to pass another bus or coach.
There are also a number of one lane bridges, which can sometimes be shared with trains. It all depends of course on what you want to see. The West coast is beautiful. If you feel it maybe too hilly then you can head to up to Christchurch from Queenstown, then hop on the Trans Alpine train across to Greymouth.
I would recommend going to Kaikoura on the East coast as this is a really spectacular place to see sperm whales.
Hello Richard 😊
I moved this to the Oceania forum.
Thanks for info. I have decided to cycle from Christchurch to Queenstown, since I have friends to visit on this route and then up the West coast. So hope I can cope. My biggest worry is the bit between Wanaka and Haast which is 100 mls and is hilly with the Haast pass to conquer - a long day with panniers.
I have booked my flights and ferries now and am due to leave Manchester on 14th January 2009 and return on 16th February. I am travelling alone since all my riding companions cannot get enough time off work. I plan to ride 1000 miles. Christchurch, Ashburton, Fairlie, Lake Tekapo, Omarara, Wanaka, Queenstown, Wanaka, Makarora, Haast, Fox Galcier, Ross, Greymouth, Reefton, Murchison, St Arnaud, Wairu Valley, Picton. The Pendle steel touring bike I will be riding has been geared down to 28,38,48 with a 13,37 cassette to give me lower gears to help with load. After a few days in Picton with a friend I will catch the ferry to Wellington and then fly to Melbourne to stay with my son for a week in Geelong. I am looking forward to the trip and hope to fill in the blog regularly with news and photos.