South Island Road Cycling: 3 of the Best

Geoff Gabites has been peddling across the South Island for over two decades. So, what are his three favourite regions to explore by bike?

Geoff Gabites has been riding his bike across New Zealand – and the world – for well over two decades. If there’s a trail he hasn’t seen it is likely because it hasn’t been built yet.


As the founder of Adventure South, a New Zealand walking and cycling holiday outfitter, Geoff Gabites knows his road cycles from his cycle trails.

He’s been involved in the cycling industry well before the establishment of the Nga Haerenga project and his search for the best road cycling opportunities in the South Island has taken him to every corner of the South Island.


So, what are his three favourite regions to explore by bike?


1 – The Southern Lakes

This is a personal favourite of mine because of the diversity of the tracks and trails and the absolutely stunning countryside covered.  The names of the places you can visit are all A listers on the ‘must see & do’ places of the South Island. From Mount Cook to Lake Ohau, down to Oamaru and then over to the Central Otago Rail Trail.  Wow – just, wow! The route I have devised will see you finishing into Queenstown, where there are even more local rides to be explored – magic.


2 – The Hot Pools, Passes & Rainforests in the north

Any road cycle itinerary that that includes a soak in the hot pools at Hanmer Springs has got to be good, right? Towards the north of the South Island is a great cycling region for stronger riders. Cycle through the bush clad road over the Lewis Pass then head back down the coast and then either continue onto Queenstown or come back to Christchurch on the Tranz Alpine Express. There’s alot of variety, which always makes cyclists happy.


3 – The Southern Coast Cycle

Cycle through the beautiful Otago Peninsula before enjoying some coastal riding into Oamaru and Dunedin via Invercargill.  You can encounter some iconic NZ road cycling moments around the remarkable Catlins Coast area, which offers stunning beaches and quiet rural riding, maybe even take a side trip across to Stewart Island, then keep on peddling back to Christchurch.

The best time to cycle the South island is between late October and April.

Road cycling is something any experienced cyclist can do however if you’re keen to see Geoff’s itineraries in action why not visit the Adventure South website to see even more of his road cycling ideas.

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