Our ‘Weka’ trip combines the very best of New Zealand’s cycling and hiking trails into an action-packed two week adventure. We’re keen bikers here at Active, so we wanted to create the ‘dream itinerary’ for fellow biking enthusiasts! We’ve escaped the traffic by crafting a trip that maximises New Zealand's amazing network of gravel cycling trails. There’s plenty of flexibility and freedom if you want to ride a little further or a little less, we’ve got you covered! Our new ‘Weka’ trip will suit both road cyclists and mountain bikers alike.
Activity level: The ‘Weka’ is an active cycling and hiking trip, so it’s important that you have a base level of biking and hiking fitness. You don’t have to be young or ready to take on the Tour de France (although if you are super fit and raring to go, you won’t be bored), but you should be in the habit of doing at least some riding and be comfortable in the saddle..
Bike with full vehicle support:
West Coast Wilderness trail
Hawea River track
Queenstown Cycle trail
Cental Otago Rail trail
Alps 2 Ocean trail
Franz Josef Glacier
Routeburn track and Key Summit
Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park
Cruise Milford Sound
What's included in our NZ trips?
- All guiding services
- Two experienced guides per trip. In New Zealand you'll have a lead guide and a co guide.
- All accommodations
- A range of hotels, lodges, chalets, inns, sheep stations and backcountry huts, depending on which trip you choose.
- All meals
- Breakfast, lunch and dinner on all days, except where indicated on the itinerary (usually 1 day per trip is a free day, allowing you to choose your own dining location).
- All activities
- Hiking, kayaking, biking, rafting, scenic flights, jet boating and more!
- All transport
- Airport transfers.
- When you're not travelling under your own steam, they'll be comfortable air-conditioned vans to stretch your legs.
Interactive Trip Map
Most people leave the Northern Hemisphere on a Friday evening, arriving into Auckland early Sunday morning. You’ll lose a day crossing the dateline – but you get it back on the way home! It’s a short flight from Auckland to Christchurch on the South Island where we’ll meet you. Christchurch, New Zealand’s second largest city, is framed by the Canterbury Plains and Southern Alps to the West and the Pacific Ocean and Banks Penisula to the East. After fitting our bikes and taking a warm up ride at McLeans Island, we’ll get the chance to explore this beautiful city on one of the many local tracks nearby. Depending on where you’re coming from, you’ll probably find jetlag is no big deal – for instance, it’s a 12 to 13 hour direct overnight flight from Los Angeles to Auckland, and there’s only a 3 hour time difference between New Zealand and US Pacific time. If you’re coming from further afield, you’ll appreciate the gentle start to your New Zealand adventure.
Merivale Manor, Christchurch (Lunch, Dinner)
This morning we’ll head west to Kuru Tawhiti Conservation Area in the heart of the Southern Alps. We’ll take a gentle one-hour walk among the imposing limestone tors of Castle Hill, which were once a meeting place for moa hunters of the Ngai Tahu tribe. The Dalai Lama visited this area and described it as a ‘spiritual centre of the universe’. Aftwerwards we’ll continue on to the West Coast via Arthur’s Pass, one of New Zealand’s impressive alpine passes - look out for the Otira Viaduct. After lunch, we’ll take an afternoon ride on a section of the West Coast Wilderness trail from Taramakau River into Greymouth and then we’ll head up the coastline to Punakaiki. This small coastal town is famous for its Pancake Rocks and blowholes. These limestone formations, sculpted by the relentless pounding of the Tasman Sea, are truly mesmerising and offer a great afternoon walk.
West Coast lodgings, Punakaiki (All meals)
We’ll journey down the coast this morning and inland to the small settlement of Kumara and the start of our next ride along another section of the West Coast Wilderness Trail. This trail offers contrasting cycling along water races, tramways and railway lines and through dense, lush rainforest. Passing by the Kapitea Reservoir, we’ll head inland towards the Great Southern Divide and the raging Arahura River. We’ll find a nice spot for a picnic lunch before continuing along the trail back towards the Tasman Sea and Lake Kaniere. The bike ride today will get your heart pumping and the excitement levels rising, in anticipation of all the trails you’re soon to experience. Later we’ll carry on down to Franz Josef, nestled in the rainforest-clad foothills of the Southern Alps, where we’ll stay for the next couple of nights.
Rainforest Retreat, Franz Josef (All meals)
With some 140 glaciers making their way down from the Southern Alps, this area is fittingly known as glacier country. Few sights equal the spectacle of this giant frozen river (Franz Josef Glacier) imperceptibly grinding its way down through temperate rainforest to just 250 metres (820 feet) above sea level. We’ll spend most of the day near Franz Josef Glacier hiking up through the forest to either Alex Knob or Roberts Point, both of which give incredible views of the ice. This hike can be inaccessible in wet weather, so we may opt for an alternative hike in sheltered terrain.
Optional Heli-hike (add US$350 + tax)
An outrageously scenic alternative to today’s hike is to heli-hike on Franz Josef Glacier itself. After being fitted with crampons, ice axes and so on, you’ll board a turbine helicopter and fly towards the highest peaks of the Southern Alps, landing on the glacier at 1300 metres (4265 feet) above sea level. Led by specialist glacier guides, you’ll hike through the grand ice formations of the glacier, checking out its crevasses, seracs and tunnels – no previous experience is required! The constant movement of the glacier means every day is different, so your guides will cut steps in the ice to make the most of the conditions. At the end of your hike on the ice, you’ll take another helicopter ride out of the mountains and back to civilisation. The heli-hike is extremely popular, so we offer advance reservations with the helicopter operators and guiding company. At the time of booking, or up until one month before your trip, we can reserve a space for you, or you can leave your decision until the start of your trip and your guides will get you a spot if it’s available.
The heli-hike is extremely popular, so we offer advance reservations with the helicopter operators and guiding company. At the time of booking, or up until one month before your trip, we can reserve a space for you, or you can leave your decision until the start of your trip and your guides will get you a spot if it’s available.
After settling into our accommodation back in Franz Josef township, we can head out after dark with flashlights for a short night walk to search for the native glowworm while listening to some of New Zealand’s nocturnal birdlife, such as the morepork owl.
Rainforest Retreat, Franz Josef (All meals)
This morning we’ll hike around Lake Matheson, an enchanting icon of the region that, on a still day, offers impressive reflections of Aoraki Mt Cook and Mt Tasman (New Zealand’s two tallest peaks). After lunch we’ll travel down the coast through lush forest and then inland across the Haast Pass to Wanaka, ready to jump back on the bikes and ride the Hawea River Track, linking Lake Hawea township to Wanaka, via Alberttown. This is a nice, gentle ride with uninterrupted views of the clear Hawea River.
Wanaka Lodgings, Wanaka (All meals)
From Wanaka, it’s a short but dramatic journey over the Cardrona Saddle to the Gibbston Valley, an area best known for producing world-class grapes. You’ll be spoilt for vistas riding along the Gibbston River Trail - with the Kawarau River far below, impressive suspension bridges and iconic Central Otago landscapes. You’ll also pass through a rare pre-1900 fruit orchard and rock huts left over from the goldrush. Along the way there are plenty of award winning wineries to stop at and sample a drop if you’d like. We’ll have lunch in Arrowtown before continuing along the trails to Queenstown, with incredible views of the Remarkables mountain range and Lake Wakatipu.
Crowne Plaza Hotel, Queenstown (Breakfast, Lunch)
Queenstown is the adventure capital of New Zealand (if not the world!) and all the comforts of civilisation are packed into this tiny resort town: restaurants galore, stylish lounge bars, day spas, and boutiques. You’ll also find incredible optional activities here including horse trekking, a gondola, fishing, winery tours, an historic steamship, bungy jumping, jet boating and skydiving as well as some great hiking opportunities. Or you can just soak up the atmosphere at one of many local cafés. Your guides will happily share their favourite haunts and point you in the right direction for your free day today.
Crowne Plaza Hotel, Queenstown (No meals incl.)
This morning we’ll cross Lake Wakatipu on board the historic steamship TSS Earnslaw to Walter Peak Station. Here you’ll follow Mt Nicholas farm road to the isolated Mavora Lakes. You’ll bike alongside the lake before heading gently up through the head waters of the Von River, surrounded by the Livingston Mountains. This is a true wilderness cycling experience on a quiet back road, and after your time in Queenstown, you’ll appreciate the peaceful surroundings! From Mavora Lakes we’ll take a scenic drive through to Te Anau, our base for the next couple of nights.
Matai Lodge, Te Anau (All meals)
It’s worth the early start this morning as we set off for our largest and perhaps most spectacular national park, Fiordland. When we arrive we’ll be greeted with jaw-dropping views of Mitre Peak and the surrounding jagged granite peaks – quite possibly the most picturesque mountain range in New Zealand - though we’ll let you be the judge of that! For close up views, we’ll jump on board a boat cruise to explore the silky smooth waters and hidden coves of Milford Sound. Gaze in wonder at the waterfalls cascading down enormous vertical rock faces and if you’re lucky, you may spot the odd fur seal or dolphin making itself at home in the fiord! After lunch we’ll head back through the Homer Tunnel to hike part of the Routeburn Track to Key Summit, for unsurpassed views of the Hollyford Valley, as well as Lake Marian and Mt Christina.
Matai Lodge, Te Anau (All meals)
Today we’ll head east from Te Anau right into the heart of the Maniototo region in Central Otago. The trail here follows an old train line built in the early 1900s. The tracks were retired and removed in 1990 and now the Central Otago Rail Trail is one of the most iconic cycling trails in New Zealand. We’ll cross numerous bridges and viaducts, winding our way along the smooth track past Raggedy Range and Rough Ridge. We have a gradual climb through the Ida Valley, and once at the summit of the trail, it’s a slight downhill all the way into Ranfurly, a small town famous for its Art Deco architecture and warm and welcoming community.
Hawkdun Lodge, Ranfurly (All meals)
This morning we’ll journey through the spectacular limestone country of North Otago. From Omarama we’ll jump back on the bikes to experience another iconic ride - on a section of the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail to Lake Ohau. Along this trail, through the Ruataniwha Conservation Park, you’ll be rewarded with expansive views of rugged mountain country, vast tussock lands, beech and tawhai forest and sparkling clear rivers. Tonight we’ll stay at the remote and beautiful Lake Ohau Lodge. The lodge is tucked in beside an alpine lake, with incredible views stretching across to Aoraki Mt Cook and the Southern Alps – the ideal spot to rejuvinate the body and soak in the hot tub whilst gazing at the stars!
Lake Ohau Lodge, Ohau (All meals)
Today is our last day on two wheels, so we’ll make it extra special, with a ride that’ll knock your socks off! We’ll set off around Lake Ohau and then alongside the Ohau Canal to Twizel. From Twizel the dramatic scenery steps up a notch with the shimmering cobalt-blue Lake Pukaki on the left, and Aoraki Mt Cook straight ahead. Along this section of the trail you’ll also pass a range of native plants including kowhai (with brilliant yellow flowers, popular with endemic Tui birds), flax and tussocks. Tonight we’ll stay on Hamish and Julia McKenzie’s 5000 hectare high-country sheep farm, Braemar Station (station is the New Zealand word for a big ranch). With no lights for miles around, the stars on a clear night are like nothing you’ve ever seen. Many of our travellers have told us this was one of their favourite places on the whole trip!
Shearers’ quarters, Braemar Station (All meals)
A short distance away is Mt Cook, named Aoraki or ‘cloud piercer’ by South Island Maori, the highest mountain in New Zealand. Directly opposite Aoraki Mt Cook, there’s a stunning day hike to the main ridge above Mueller Glacier. This area has a unique alpine environment and includes endemic flora such as the Mt Cook lily (Ranunculus lyallii), the world’s largest buttercup. Our travellers often say this is the best hike they’ve ever done and it’s a fine way to finish off a great trip. It’s a bit of a hike, and you’ll remember the view of the glacier and the surrounding peaks forever! The weather conditions are very important in this area, as it’s a true alpine climate notorious for sudden weather shifts. If we aren’t able to do the Mueller Glacier hike, or you’d like to take it a little easier, there’s an impressive hike up to a glacial lake (complete with icebergs!) at the base of the Hooker Glacier. After hiking, we’ll relax at our lodge and have a celebratory dinner for our last night together.
Aoraki Alpine Lodge, Aoraki Mt Cook Village (All meals)
This is the last day of your ‘Weka’ trip and we’ll leave you refreshed and invigorated from the good food, exercise, rest, and great times you’ll have had with us in New Zealand! For a great way to see the North Island as well, where you’ll experience Maori culture, pristine beaches and geothermal areas, combine this trip with our 11-day ‘Kauri’ (5-day ‘Kauri’ options available).
|Mar 03, 2019 – Mar 16, 2019||Full|
|Mar 17, 2019 – Mar 30, 2019||Almost full||Check Availability|
|Dec 15, 2019 – Dec 28, 2019||Great||Check Availability|
|Jan 05, 2020 – Jan 18, 2020||Filling up||Check Availability|
|Jan 19, 2020 – Feb 01, 2020||Almost full||Check Availability|
|Feb 02, 2020 – Feb 15, 2020||Great||Check Availability|
|Feb 16, 2020 – Feb 29, 2020||Great||Check Availability|
|Mar 01, 2020 – Mar 14, 2020||Great||Check Availability|
|Mar 15, 2020 – Mar 28, 2020||Great||Check Availability|
|Nov 22, 2020 – Dec 05, 2020||Great||Check Availability|
|Dec 06, 2020 – Dec 19, 2020||Great||Check Availability|
|Dec 20, 2020 – Jan 02, 2021||Great||Check Availability|
|Jan 03, 2021 – Jan 16, 2021||Great||Check Availability|
|Jan 17, 2021 – Jan 30, 2021||Great||Check Availability|
|Jan 31, 2021 – Feb 13, 2021||Great||Check Availability|
|Feb 14, 2021 – Feb 27, 2021||Great||Check Availability|
|Feb 28, 2021 – Mar 13, 2021||Great||Check Availability|
|Mar 14, 2021 – Mar 27, 2021||Great||Check Availability|
No Forced Single Supplement:
Most other travel companies charge all solo travellers a single supplement fee. We don't! When it comes to accommodation, our trip fares are based on a twin-share rate, which means we'll match you up with another person of the same gender to share a room with. If there's no one suitable to share with, there's no forced single supplement! Having said that, if you specifically request your own room, you can opt to pay the additional single supplement fee.
On the first day of the trip we can either pick you up from the Merivale Manor Hotel in Christchurch at 10.30am or at Christchurch airport (CHC) in front of the Travel and Information Centre at 11am.
On the last day of the trip we can drop you off at Christchurch airport in time for the flights below, or anywhere in central Christchurch about 3pm.
Arrival: If you’re flying in on the first day of the trip, we recommend arriving in Christchurch before 10am on Sunday.
Departure: Flying out on the last day of the trip, we recommend departing from Christchurch after 4pm on Saturday. If you’re considering alternative flight times please check with us. International flights from Auckland airport (AKL) usually leave in the evening, so if you’re heading back to North America, you’ll get home some time on Saturday, even though you left on Saturday evening! Flights back to Europe, of course, take a little longer.
The ‘Weka’ is an active cycling and hiking trip, so it’s important that you have a base level of biking and hiking fitness. You don’t have to be young or ready to take on the Tour de France (although if you are super fit and raring to go, you won’t be bored), though you should be in the habit of doing at least some riding and be comfortable in the saddle.
- Rental of Specialized Roll Elite bikes. These are excellent light-weight, cross-terrain touring bikes that are perfect for the backcountry gravel roads on this trip. If you prefer, you are welcome to bring your own bike.
- Two cycling guides and full vehicle support. We have two cycling guides per trip, a lead guide/driver providing full vehicle support and a co-guide who will ride with the group. You’ll be staying in the highest level of accommodation available in the remote places we take you. While it’s not designed to be a scenic tour of the South Island’s luxury hotels, it features more creature comforts than some of our other trips and you’ll certainly be biking in style!
Everyone has a different perception of what cycling or mountain biking is, so we'll try our best to clarify the type of riding you'll be doing down here with us. This is not a road cycling trip and we don't ride on asphalt or tarmac. Equally, this is not a downhill mountain biking trip or even a single track trip (by single track we mean on trails as wide as your handle bars). We've chosen gravel cycle trails that are generally wide enough for two riders and mostly flat. New Zealand has an incredible off-road trail network and we believe our 'Weka' itinerary will get you onto the best parts of this network, with a few hikes sprinkled in for good measure!
Awesome in Every Way!
BEST TRIP EVER!
The Thrill of it All...
Mar 4 2018 Weka
Outstanding, Attentive Guides
So Much to Say Because the Trip was Beyond Great
Hike + Bike South Island
Weka - New Zealand
Kiwis Are Special People
Weka Biking Trip
Melissa's Weka Adventure
Fantastic Active Trip
Fantastic Trip on the South Island
Perfect Combination of Biking, Hiking, Alps, Lakes and Ocean
Best Trip Everrr!!
New Zealand WEKA
Trip of a lifetime!!!
Our Excellent NZ Adventure
Memorable South Island NZ
Wonderful Adventure around the South Island
Best Guides ever!!!
Weka---- Best day ever--14 days running
Sad to Say Goodbye
Weka in the rear view mirror
Ode to the Chamois(s)
New Zealand by bike!
Gorgeous country, great people
Amazing Holiday with Active Adventures
Incredible trip of a lifetime!
Meet the local guides