Total tour distance: 87 miles
Daily tour distance: 21 miles
Difficulty: 30 / 100
Bike Alongside Soaring Landscapes & Turquoise Waters!
Tuatara Tours will take you from Christchurch (which has an international airport) right into the heart of the South Island of New Zealand for The Tekapo Canal Trail. You will soak up the magical views and discover the history of the Mackenzie Country in four leisurely paced days of pedalling. Join us for an unforgettable guided bike tour alongside the picturesque glacial lakes and canals, under the watchful eye of the mighty Mount Cook (New Zealand’s highest mountain).
- All accommodation
- All meals
- Fully guided
- Free Tuatara Tours kit bag
- Luggage transport each day
- Hi viz safety vest
- Bike helmet
- Comprehensive safety systems
MacKenzie country hydro canals flow from lake to lake – moving through turbines to generate power. This means that on the Tekapo Canal Trail you will ride downhill alongside five beautiful southern lakes – namely Lake Tekapo, Lake Pukaki, Lake Ruataniwha, Lake Benmore and Lake Ohau on one of our most popular bike tours.
Day 1: Christchurch to Tekapo
You depart from Christchurch and enjoy a scenic and informative drive through to Lake Tekapo, the centre of the South Island. At Tekapo the astounding panoramic views from the top of Mt John Observatory will take your breath away! It is reputedly an area that enjoys the world’s clearest night sky.
As your cycle experience unfolds you are immersed in the incredibly scenic landscape of turquoise coloured glacial lakes and tussock-clad hills, with the stunning backdrop of snow-capped mountains.
You pedal past the world famous Church of the Good Shepherd (which offers awe-inspiring views of Lake Tekapo and the Southern Alps through its altar window). You then ride alongside Lake Tekapo, taking in the views of the magnificent lake and mountains, and in early summer hectares of Russell Lupins in attractive shades of pinks and purples.
This evening you relax at a resort hotel that has unbelievable panoramic views across the turquoise waters of the lake. Optional extra’s include a soak in the hot pools close by, or an evening excursion to the Mt John observatory.
Day 2: Lake Tekapo - Mt Cook to Twizel
After breakfast, you cycle along the emerald blue canals towards Lake Pukaki, with a brief visit to the Mount Cook Salmon Farm. Travel around the end of Lake Pukaki and (depending on how long you want to cycle) up to the Mt Cook Village at the base of Mount Cook itself. You then pass Irishman Creek, an area also well known as the farm station where the world’s first jet boat was built and tested.
While travelling up the rambling road towards Mount Cook you can enjoy stops at Peter’s Lookout, Boundary Stream and Glentanner. The Mount Cook National Park carries World Heritage status and contains almost all of New Zealand’s major mountain peaks - stretching approximately 70kms along the Southern Alps.
On your arrival at Mt Cook there will be time for a look around the Village before heading off by coach to your lodge for the evening.
The evening is spent in a quality lodge, right in the heart of the Mackenzie Country.
Day 3: Twizel to Ohau
You wake up with a wonderful view of the snow capped mountains, and after breakfast you will cycle leisurely along the canal road to Lake Ruataniwha. This is an interesting man-made lake and you will enjoy the local tale of how it was created. A project engineer spent millions of dollars supposedly getting the ‘shoreline redeveloped’…….but instead built a world class rowing course.
You join the Twizel River Trail between Twizel and Lake Benmore. This trail runs for 12km, parallel to the Twizel River, and offers wonderful views of the Mackenzie Basin. The trail ends overlooking the beautiful Lake Benmore, which is New Zealand’s largest man-made lake – famous for its fishing.
Your next experience is to travel a short distance to the start of the Lake Ohau road. From there you will enjoy a relaxed cycle along gradually sloping downhill roads to the magnificent Lake Ohau. A leisurely pedal along the south side of the lake also offers you another opportunity to experience the wonderful views of the snow-capped mountains in the background.
You overnight at the beautiful Lake Ohau Lodge, which provides stunning panoramic views of the lake, mountains and surrounding countryside.
Day 4: Ohau to Christchurch
On the final day, you enjoy a ride to the head of Lake Ohau and into the Ruataniwha Conservation Park. This park consists of over 36,800 hectares of rugged mountain landscapes, encompassing beech (Tawhai) forest, sparkling clear rivers, and the Ohau and Ben Ohau ranges.
Your final group lunch is alongside the shoreline of the lake where you celebrate the conclusion of your four day biking experience - before departing by coach back to Christchurch.
- A host of extra features in a comfortable, relaxed environment.
- Usually large properties with many rooms.
- Rooms are private, comfortable and spacious, many with scenic views.
- All linen and amenities provided.
- Full in house bar and restaurant facilities.
Special features may include swimming pool, sauna, spa, bike hire, kayak hire, tennis courts ( varies depending on property)
Relax and enjoy the surroundings.
- Lodges are usually run by managers who live on site and will also prepare meals for you.
- Most are in scenic locations.
- Known for individuality in design or landscaping.
- Comfortable beds, all linen and amenities provided.
Known for special extra touches such as complimentary beverages, designer linen, hand crafted accessories, boutique wines (may vary at each property)
*Please note accommodation is double or twin share. If single room accommodation is requested, an additional fee of NZ$394 per person is payable to cover this requirement for the duration of your tour.
We have cycles for hire and recommend you use them as they are tried and true in the areas we operate. All of our cycles are fully maintained and serviced before they leave. Included in the cost of your cycle hire is a cycle helmet and safety vest.
You may use your own cycle, but please ensure it is well maintained and fully serviced before your tour starts.
*Cost of bike hire for the Tekapo Canal Trail is NZ$168
You will enjoy great local cuisine; continental breakfasts and hearty packed lunches during the day, and either restaurant meals or wholesome home-cooked fare prepared by your host/hostess in the evenings.
If you have any dietary issues or food allergies, we are happy to cater for these, please advise the office of details when you make your booking.
Alcohol is not included in the tour cost, but is available for purchase most nights or you are welcome to bring a small amount with you for personal consumption if you prefer.
Our guides are very experienced, friendly walkers and bikers who love to share their knowledge of New Zealand’s flora and fauna and local history. They all hold current first aid certificates, passenger driving licences and are the very best people to ensure your experience will be one to remember
Exclusive to Tuatara Tours - Tour Kit Bag
To ensure you get the very best out of your journey with the least of fuss, we provide you with a calico kit bag full of useful goodies.
Free Field and History Guide
Your Tour Kit Bag Contains the Following:
Contents may vary from time to time!
- Tuatara Tours cap
- Tuatara Tours mug
- Tuatara Tours drink bottle
- Tuatara Tours pen
- Tuatara Tours hand sanitiser
- Tuatara Tours sunblock
- Tuatara Tours tissues
- Tuatara Tours rain poncho
- Tuatara Tours emergency whistle
- Tuatara Tours postcard
- Tuatara Tours brochures
- Field & History Guide of the area
- Bag of Tuatara scroggin
- Bag of Tuatara energy plus snakes
Tuatara Tours transports all your luggage for the duration of the tour.
All you carry is a small day pack with your personal gear, drink and lunch. We do the Rest.
We Supply The Following Equipment:
- fully equipped tour kit as above
- fitted bike helmet
- hi viz safety vest
- full hire bike repairs as necessary
You may bring your own bike or we can hire you one for the duration of the trip.
What Do I Bring?
For your own safety there are a few things that you must bring yourself:
- Comfortable cycling and or walking shoes
- Thermal top - wool or polypro
- Thermal bottom - wool or polypro
- Waterproof parka with hood
- Fleece jacket or wool jersey
- Wool or fleece hat
- Medium size day pack
Other Things We Recommend You Bring Are:
- Cycle shorts
- Cycle gloves
- Hat, sunglasses
- Drink bottle - at least one liter capacity (we supply you with one bottle, but you may wish to bring another)
- Your sense of humor
- Small personal first aid kit including blister block or similar
- Casual attire for the evenings
- Any other personal items
Safety and Risk Management:
To ensure maximum safety for all, our guides are certified first aiders and fully qualified drivers. Tuatara Tours operate under a Safety and Risk Management Plan which is regularly audited and approved by a qualified and independent auditor.