New Zealand Southland Express


March 2ND through the 15th 2013

(Sunday-Saturday) -- 14 days of stunning riding (many other tours are only 10 or 12 days for the same price)!

Second Summer Tours will be offering a ‘Down Under’ tour in March of 2013. Rob has traveled over two dozen times to New Zealand to search out the best cycling the Kiwi’s have – and he assures us that there are plenty of great roads to satisfy any two-wheel appetite! New Zealand is actually two countries in one: the North and South Islands.

Realistically, you would need a solid four weeks to experience both islands. Second Summer Tours realizes that your boss might not be that accommodating in giving you four weeks off, however. And since we’re not about a hectic schedule to see as much as we can in the least amount of time … we’ve focused this tour on what we think is the best of what New Zealand has to offer: a circuit that covers much of the South Island; allowing you to savor what we feel is some of the best riding in the entire world!


Rob has often joked that he isn’t sure whether Walt Disney or God created this amazing country – it’s that special. Every few days you will travel through a different ‘land’ so to speak. One day you’re in the tropics, another you’d swear you just pedaled into the European Alps. It’s the best ‘E’ cycling ticket going (for those of you too young to remember, Disneyland used to have a book of tickets that were used for each of their rides; the ‘E’ ticket being for the most exciting and challenging attractions).


The trip uses a combination of hotels and travel lodges to give you an intimate feel of the land, culture, and people. The tour is fully supported with follow vehicle, and rest stops are provided on those days where terrain or distance mandates it. But unlike a lot of tours, we really encourage our clients to interact with the locals and get a feel for what the country has to offer; attempting to avoid the ‘herd’ mentality of many tours where participants never expand their cycling horizons beyond their riding partners. Meals/dinners included on selected evenings.

Cost will be $5,490 PPDO. $1,550 Single supplement  

We’ll also be offering some options for those folks that can talk their boss into a few more weeks off … or they have the luxury of retirement! Options would include tours on the North Island or Tasmania before and after our Southland Express Tour.


Day One- 0 to 25 MILES


Arrive in Christchurch on Sunday (remember to account for the international dateline in your travels!). Of course, we'll meet you at the airport to pick you and your bike up; and transport you to tonight's accommodations. Sunday afternoon will give all an opportunity to put their bikes together, and roll under a few easy miles to make sure everything is running smoothly. If you can manage it, your crew at Second Summer Tours recommends arriving a day or two early to let your body adjust to "summer" in March ... as well as allowing for a more relaxed start to your two-wheeled adventure. (And, if you can arrive early, no problem. It's something that we actually encourage when it's a viable option for our tour riders). 

Christchurch is the South Island’s largest city, approaching a half million inhabitants. It is a manufacturing and commercial center, also a university and a cathedral town. There is plenty of classic, “English” architecture to check out – as well as dozens of parks and gardens. 

Tonight we’ll have a group dinner at one of Christchurch’s classic dining establishments; this will also give everyone an opportunity to get better acquainted.



Time to see how winter, and the off-season, has treated your legs … as we make the journey to the quiet, and deserted, ski resort of Methven (remember, this is New Zealand’s summer season!).    With the distant Southern Alps as our constant companion, we’ll ride as a group out of Christchurch – we’ve chosen the most scenic and car-friendly route out of town but it’s a complex route with a lot of turns, so we’ll ride together until we reach the outskirts of town.   Today’s highlight will include the spectacular Rakia Gorge – if the view of this chasm doesn’t take your breath away, a few of the steep – thankfully short – climbs will!

We should experience typical ‘Down Under’ summer weather, with temperatures in the high 70’s.  However, I have visited Christchurch when freak cold fronts have blown through that necessitated tights and windbreaker as part of the day’s cycling gear.   With a summer sunset at 9:40 p.m., you just might have to make some fun adjustments to your ‘winterized’ body and mind!    Don’t even get us started on the delicious, fresh summer fruit that can be found at the local markets …


We have an easy day today as we make our way to Geraldine, a ‘short’ jaunt of just over 45 miles to this quaint and picturesque town.   If the ride distance isn’t enough to satisfy your two-wheel appetite, there is a 10 mile option to the Peel Forest scenic area (where you might even want to take in a short hike, just let our staff know so we can accommodate you).    We have a special group dinner planned for tonight … we’re sure you’ll appreciate the unique Kiwi presentation of your meal!   There will be plenty of time in the afternoon to relax or do a walking tour of this charming community.     



We have a couple of long days ahead as we venture into the high country of the South Island.    This is grand territory with limited lodging and eating facilities, so you can be sure to count on the Second Summer Tours support team to provide plenty of rest stops between isolated towns.   We’ll also take some quiet and scenic backroads that many cyclists (and most autos) haven’t discovered.   Today’s journey includes a climb up Burkes Pass and a visit to Lake Tekapo (Gateway to Mackenzie Country).


Today will be another longish day in the saddle … and you’ll quickly realize why: there are few towns between here and tonight’s lodging in Wanaka.    With dramatic Mt. Cook as the backdrop for much of the day’s riding, you’ll find yourself with the pleasant ‘problem’ of not being distracted by a lot of man-made trappings … Mother Nature will be responsible for all the sights you’ll take in today.   Wanaka, tonight’s final destination, is the only real community of any size once you depart Twizel.    This lakeside holiday town, boasting just over 2,000 inhabitants, is one of New Zealand’s premier downhill ski areas.   We’ll spend two nights here, so there will be plenty of time to take in the resort-like ambience that the town boasts.  


Rest day in Wanaka … sort'a. Today offers several opportunities for some non-cycling fun. For those that just have to get in some extra miles, and are gluttons for punishing their legs early in the season, we'll offer the option of cycling to Queenstown (with a return trip provided by the support van, if needed). The cycling option traverses Cardrona Road, the highest state highway in New Zealand, to Queenstown. We'll offer the rest of the group the same road - only we'll take the easy way out in the support vehicle. When we arrive in Queenstown, some exciting and adventurous non-cycling options include bungee jumping or speed boating down some of the local rapids. Queenstown isn't known as the outdoor adventure sport hub of New Zealand for nothing! Or you could just relax with a walking tour of this former gold-rush town, with a lot of great shops featuring local crafts. Tonight we'll have a group dinner to celebrate the first week (almost!) of fun.



Today our group will journey over historical Haast Pass, the southernmost road crossing of the Southern Alps, to the township of Haast on the West Coast.   Most cyclists find the route a bit easier heading from East to West (yep, that’s the direction we’re going!).    Actually, you might find the pass at 564 meters (less than 2,000 feet) not all that difficult compared with the ‘traditional’, steep European Alpine passes found in France or Italy.   If the sun is shining and it’s clear out, you’re in for a real slice of delightful - and raw - New Zealand backcountry.    You’ll be glad that we did our homework, and found some great lodging for tonight’s overnighter in this wild backcountry. 


This will be a day to savor the West Coast at its best; and revel in the contrasts that make this country so special – and you’ll know exactly what we’re talking about when you arrive at your lodging at the Fox glacier.   It also is the start of two days of epic glacier viewing within the very tropical setting of New Zealand’s version of the ‘old west’.    


That’s right, only 15 miles today – but with good reason.    This is a short day to allow for full exploration of either the Fox and/or Franz Joseph glaciers.    And the 15 miles, by the way, are challenging – just so you know you’re not getting off ‘easy’.    



Hokitika, today’s destination, had its origins in the gold rush days of the 1800’s.    Another great day of cycling the tropical old west of New Zealand’s South Island.    Hokitika does offer some great stores featuring local crafts and products - especially if you want to take care of some of your holiday shopping for next year!   


Today we get an opportunity to scale Arthur’s Pass, as we journey back into the heart of the Southern Alps.   And to make up for the ‘easy’ climb up Haast Pass, Arthur’s Pass offers up some small chaining grades on the way to Arthur’s Pass township.   We’ll spend a second, easy day, in the Southern Alps to take in the magnificent scenery and hiking/walking opportunities.    Of course, you can just relax with a good book and relax in your surroundings ….

We have all day to explore the national park... whether on two wheels or walking.


Yep, this will be a long day … but we do loose a fair amount of elevation to take a bit of the sting out of the almost-century day, completing the loop begun some two weeks ago atChristchurch.   We drop from Porter’s Pass back into the plains of Cantebury and Christchurch.


Explore Christchurch … especially if you didn’t have the luxury of arriving a day or two early for the tour; and, sadly, it’s time to pack up the bikes for the journey home in the afternoon.    We’ll have a group farewell dinner to allow for last good-byes to new friends (and, maybe, share a few stories from a great two week adventure).    And we’ll make sure to get all to the airport in time for flights back home ….