Solo Cycling New Zealand’s South Island, Cycling Christchurch to Queenstown – We Seek Travel Blog

Spontaneous journeys are all the time nice, throw in a motorbike and a tent and also you’ve obtained your self a good higher time. Biking Christchurch to Queenstown just isn’t the preferred method to see New Zealand’s South Island however I’d say it’s most likely probably the greatest methods. 

As I came upon, there actually isn’t that a lot info on routes or ideas on-line, so hopefully, this may assist as a common information for these contemplating the journey.

On the backside of this publish, I’ll additionally element how I ready my finances bike to deal with the Queenstown to Christchurch biking journey. I’ll additionally element a few of my experiences so you already know what to anticipate on the highway.

The Targets

  1. Make the trip attainable = a worthy bike
  2. Get myself and the bike cheaply to Christchurch
  3. Cycle Christchurch to Queenstown
  4. Absolutely Self-Sustained = no accommodations or eating places (apart from cafes for recent wake-up-juice and jam scones)

Some fairly easy objectives. Earlier than this, nonetheless, I’d solely ever ridden 100km in a single day possibly a couple of times, not to mention 655km over 6 consecutive days biking Christchurch to Queenstown. I’ll be the primary to confess that I’m very removed from knowledgeable bike owner, nonetheless, some easy and low-cost preparation proves that with a bit of additional dedication behind you, biking Christchurch to Queenstown or wherever else in New Zealand could possibly be finished by anybody.

The Route

I couldn’t discover an excessive amount of info on-line about fundamental routes when biking Christchurch to Queenstown, so I mixed some web analysis, Google Maps magic and trial and error on the highway to design my very own route. I deliberate this utilizing an app known as Trip with GPS which lets you add in stops, detours, lookouts and tenting spots. It additionally permits you to export knowledge and print step-by-step directions with map overlays, cue sheets, elevation knowledge and a bunch extra. For the whole detailed route, test it out right here.

Freedom Tenting

To economize and fulfill my objective of a completely self-sustained bike journey, I selected to sleep underneath a tent. Freedom tenting is fairly standard in New Zealand, there are numerous spots you may pitch a tent at no cost legally. Nonetheless, in case you can’t discover a spot in time for sundown, it’s very simple to pitch a tent at a relaxation cease or simply off the highway within the forest. Simply just be sure you don’t depart any garbage and depart the location precisely such as you discovered it.

When you like to stay to a decent finances when doing long-distance rides like biking Christchurch to Queenstown, it’s exhausting to get clear. Attempt to seize a fast bathe at one of many close by campgrounds.

Journey Highlights

Biking Christchurch to Queenstown was one in every of my favorite journeys and my all-time finest cycle tour. A number of the spotlight moments to encourage you to get on the bike are beneath. 

Crossing infinite bridges over glacial rivers

The South Island is roofed with veins of glacial blue rivers that run from the mountains to the ocean. You’ll cross dozens of those rivers on the highway, each as epic because the final.

bike next to a river when cycling christchurch to queenstown

Going hungry

After reassembling my bike on the airport, I needed to trip an hour into town to seek out my hostel mattress at 3 AM within the morning. I used to be so excited to begin the trip that I awakened at 7 AM the exact same morning. I had forgotten that my first-day driving fell on ANZAC Day, a nationwide Australian and New Zealand vacation. Inevitably, all supermarkets and native outlets have been closed so I couldn’t replenish on meals as I had deliberate. I began the trip with out breakfast, pondering I’d absolutely discover a cafe someplace on the highway.

Fortunately, 8 hours later once I arrived in Methven, a petroleum station was open for enterprise. By no means had a bag of low-cost packaged croissants and overpriced peanut butter tasted that good. After the refuel, I set off to do what I got here there to do; biking Christchurch to Queenstown.

The Nice Lakes

The deliberate route wraps round and thru the well-known Nice Lakes, Tekapo and Pukaki. These are large, crystal blue mountain lakes with beautiful views. I spent an evening camped proper on the sting of Mount Pukaki after catching a mirror lake reflection of Aoraki (Mt Cook dinner) at sundown. The most effective views on my journey biking Christchurch to Queenstown.

cycling christchurch to queenstown on a road bike


Nothing says New Zealand like herds of sheep grazing underneath snow-capped mountains within the distance. The view actually by no means will get outdated. Plus slightly little bit of firm when biking Christchurch to Queenstown.

Sheep farms when cycling christchurch to queenstown

Lindis Go

Lindis Go is without doubt one of the hardest and most rewarding segments when biking Christchurch to Queenstown. It’s a lengthy highway that cuts by the mountains with a protracted climb – roughly a number of hours of climbing a few kilometer excessive earlier than being rewarded by a protracted descent down on your legs to relaxation whereas flying down the mountains. Lots of the scenes from Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit have been additionally filmed on this location, and it’s not exhausting to inform why. You additionally actually do really feel a way of journey as a result of you can be 50KM from the closest city when you’re in deep within the mountains.

bike on the side of a hill in lindis pass when cycling christchurch to queenstown

Epic Mountain Cities

New Zealand’s South Island is house to a mere a million individuals. Most of those individuals stay across the capital, that means that the remainder of the island is dotted with quaint and quaint nation and mountain cities. The views are stunning and the individuals are type. It nearly appears like taking a step again in time.

farm towns cycling christchurch to queenstown
bike on the side of a  river in queenstown when cycling christchurch to queenstown


Arriving in Queenstown is all I hoped it will be and extra. My legs have been weak, my again was aching and my garments smelt like dying. Winding over the mountain and driving down into city was a surreal second for me. I found simply how bodily and mentally demanding cycle touring could possibly be.

queenstown town centre after cycling christchurch to queenstown

However was it price it? – 100%. Celebrating the journey with a Bungee bounce within the Adrenaline capital of the world, adopted by a number of beers in backpacker mecca! A deliberate relaxation shortly became a summit of close by Ben Lomond the next day, with huge hikes, adrenaline sports activities and exploring the remainder of the South Island on the playing cards for the remainder of the journey.

view from the mountains in queenstown

The Preparation – Getting The Bike As much as Scratch

The bike I used when biking Christchurch to Queenstown was a second hand Reid Osprey. I picked this bike up second hand for $250 AUD initially to make use of it as a method of commuting however shortly fell in love with the journey side of cycle touring.

Contemplating New Zealand’s South Island isn’t precisely flat terrain, biking Christchurch to Queenstown meant that I’d want some easy bike mods to assist me deal with the mountains. To assist finances travellers with related objectives, I’ve listed a budget but efficient bike mods and costs beneath.   

I discovered Chain Response Cycles and Amazon to have the most cost effective costs for all of those components.

These components that I’ve chosen are centered on worth. I’ve chosen these as they’re the most cost effective that I may discover. Nonetheless, they did serve me nicely with no points apart from some inevitable internal tube replacements.

Bike Part Upgrades

1. Smaller Entrance Chainring – $25

I knew New Zealand was full of massive hills and climbs, so I made a decision to purchase a smaller entrance crank to make peddling slightly simpler. I already had a 53T “huge ring” coupled with a 39T entrance ring.

Swapping your rings out is tremendous simple and could be finished by anyone with a set of Allen (hex) keys.

2. Topeak Explorer 29ER MTX Rack – $35 and Low cost Waterproof Pannier Luggage – $20

I additionally realized from my mistake of my first tour and didn’t wish to carry my meals, tent, and garments on my again. I made a decision to purchase a light-weight aluminum pannier rack with some low-cost material pannier luggage. This allowed me to retailer my bigger and heavier gadgets like a tent, garments, sleeping bag and digicam gear on the again of the bike.

4. Ciclosport CM 4.1 Blackline Pc – $20

A pc is fairly useful if you wish to test your pace and distance. This can be a low-cost and wi-fi choice that has sufficient of the fundamentals to cowl my wants.

Replace: Since that is an older publish, this laptop is now fairly outdated. Right here’s the most effective bang-for-buck laptop you’ll get for underneath $20.

5. Schwalbe Marathon Touring Tyre – GreenGuard – $25

My bike got here with skinny 23cc wheels. I knew there could be slightly little bit of gravel highway driving and plenty of weight on the again panniers. So I made a decision to go for an inexpensive 28cc touring tyre to higher keep away from punctures and splits on the again tyre.

Spares and Gear

1. 2x Clarks Polycarbonate Bottle Cage – $3

An inexpensive plastic bottle cage that comes with a screw. – No carbon fibre bottle cages right here.

2. Lezyne Traditional Patch Equipment – $5

Low cost and traditional patch restore package – Simply in case you run out of spare tubes.

3. 5x Airwave Street Bike Tube – $2 every = $10

Some low-cost however good internal tubes. Keep in mind when you’ve got two totally different measurement tyres like myself, get spares for each wheels. I selected two spares for the entrance and three for the again.

4. Moist Lube – $6

It’s on your chain.

5. Low cost 16-in-1 Multitool – $8

Low cost and does the trick. If it’s good to tighten bolts, spokes or change tubes on the highway.

6. BV Mini Bike Pump – $12

Completely important, however you don’t must pay $100 for one.

7. Small Saddle Bag – $10

Small seat pack that you could retailer your multi-tool, lube and spare tubes in for fast entry.

8. Low cost Handlebar Bag – $10

I discovered this low-cost handlebar bag that was excellent for holding valuables like my telephone and pockets, maps and highway snacks.

Extra Gear and Tenting Gear

  • Light-weight Mountain climbing Tent
  • Light-weight Mountain climbing Sleeping Bag
  • Light-weight Mountain climbing Sleeping Mat
  • 15L backpack with bladder for further water
  • Compact Mountain climbing Gasoline Cooker

That is all as much as private choice and relies on what you have already got obtainable. The hot button is to attempt to discover gear that’s as mild as attainable, so that you undoubtedly don’t wish to be dragging up 5KG swags and blankets up mountains.

Complete price = Second hand highway bike $250 + Upgrades $125 + Gear / Spares $46 = $421

Cycling Christchuch to Queenstown in New Zealands South Island Tour

As you may see, you don’t must spend hundreds of {dollars} on a touring bike, so long as it’s comfy and also you take pleasure in driving it. New Zealand’s roads are fairly good however I did find yourself taking place some dust and gravel roads. These fundamental upgrades made biking Christchurch to Queenstown roads rather less sketchy.

How you can Pack a Bike for Flying

By far the most cost effective and best method to fly with a motorbike is to pack it in a giant cardboard bike field. You may choose these up at no cost at any bike store, simply be sure to choose up a field that can suit your bike.
You will have to comply with these steps to pack the bike correctly and keep away from any harm throughout transit.

Disassembling the bike 

  1. Take away pedals
  2. Take away handlebars – Don’t take away the stem
  3. Take away pannier racks and any guards
  4. Take away the seat

Becoming it into the field:

  1. Wrap every part in bubble-wrap and leftover cardboard – particularly something delicate like derailleurs. For this, I wrapped the derailleur in bubble-wrap, then slid a halved plastic bottle over it to behave as a tough casing.
  2. Put the body into the field
  3. Slide the again wheel into the conventional place as soon as the body is in – don’t fear about fastening it, simply let it relaxation on the mounts
  4. Slide the entrance wheel subsequent to the body, it ought to squeeze into the triangle of the body.
  5. The whole lot else – Wrap every part in additional cardboard and bubble wrap and match it into the field wherever it suits.

Flying with a motorbike could be comparatively low-cost. I discovered an ideal deal on Skyscanner that charged $50AUD to fly the bike from Australia to New Zealand and again. I’m positive this further baggage is only a mounted price wherever you fly. Nonetheless clearly totally different airways will cost larger or decrease costs for this. Be sure to evaluate costs with baggage, it is likely to be that the costlier flight finally ends up cheaper after you add a giant cardboard field to it.

Low cost flights additionally normally imply disagreeable touchdown instances. Be sure to pack your multi-tool, you’ll must reassemble every part whenever you land.

I landed at 2AM at Christchurch Airport. It took me about an hour or so to construct my bike and trip it to the hostel in Christchurch. Then, I used to be prepared for my journey biking Christchurch to Queenstown!

cardboard box with a bike inside for flying, cycling christchurch to queensown

Extra New Zealand Adventures and Weblog Posts

I wrote about this journey of biking from Christchurch to Queenstown as one in every of my first weblog posts on We Search Journey again in 2018! Since then, I’ve returned to New Zealand a number of instances to discover the mountain peaks and epic volcanic terrains.

When you’re interested by touring to New Zealand, ensure to take a look at a few of my different blogs and guides to get some inspiration and concepts on your journey. Under I’ve linked to a few of my favorite adventures in New Zealand.

Greatest Hikes in Queenstown
Greatest Hikes in South Island New Zealand
Mountain climbing the Routeburn Monitor
Mountain climbing the Mueller Monitor
Mountain climbing the Kepler Monitor

complete guide to solo cycling in new zealand weseektravel

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