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Cycling through the South Island.
Cycling through the South Island.
The view along the way.
Cruising through The Sound.

Milford Cycling

Thursday, April 18, 2002
Let Sorrel take you on an amazing cycling adventure through New Zealand's superb Milford area.

Milford Sound is 26 kilometres of beauty leading to the Tasman Sea. It is lined with sharp mountain peaks rising to 2500 metres, fur seals watching you from rocky shelves, dolphins playing in 600 metre deep water and has an entrance so well concealed, Captain Cook sailed right past it.

This is country just made for cycling, and World Expeditions NZ offers a great variety of ways to get around on two wheels at your own pace, and if you ever feel you might have over-estimated that, there is a back-up vehicle to collect you. All meals are included, and lunch is always eaten somewhere very scenic. Real enthusiasts are more than welcome to take their own bike along with them.

Normally you would cycle one to six hours each day in groups limited to 14. Where possible, your guide takes you through back roads where you are more likely to see lush green fields of woolly sheep than cars.

Travelling from Christchurch across the Canterbury Plains, onto Lake Te Kapo, Wanaka, into Milford Sound and Queenstown is a cyclist's paradise, and you will be amazed by the diversity of the landscape — alps, lakes and fiords.

The Summit Road out of Christchurch follows a volcanic rim, and from the Port Hills you have excellent views over the city and Lyttleton Harbour. You will also look over the rural Canterbury Plains, and then cycle across them to the foothills.

Raincliff Station, an old two-storey homestead at the end of a 2km driveway flanked by poplar trees and surrounded by manicured lawns, is where you spend the night. It was one of New Zealand's first sheep stations and has a lot of history which the owner, Shirley Quantock, will be happy to share with you.

After a traditional breakfast, you cycle at your own pace to Lake Tekapo, a glacial lake of magnificent turquoise water. The vast Mackenzie Basin has views of the grand 3400 high Mt Cook and the Southern Alps, a perfect backdrop as you cycle or drive along a wild flower-fringed highway. You spend the night at lakeside accommodation at Tekapo.

You will cycle along the 36km canal road from Lake Tekapo to Lake Pukaiki. It is perfectly flat with mountains and canals on either side and gives another aspect of Mt Cook.

As you descend into the Lindis Valley in a pretty setting of streams and willow trees, you will enter the little town of Wanaka, sitting on a lake. It is a great opportunity to see some of New Zealand's historic gold mining areas. It's a fun time as there are 15 kilometres of freewheeling downhill track, taking you through Fiordland National Park, New Zealand's largest. It is part of the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage Area and has 7-8 metres of rain each year over about 200 days. It is lush and green, thick with beech trees and waterfalls which are continuously replenished. The area is described as one of ageless power and natural grandeur, and it certainly lives up to that.

At Milford Marina, you hang up your bikes and board a floating hotel for an overnight cruise. There are only three commercial vessels allowed in the Sound at night, so the peace and serenity is a perfect way to end your days in the saddle.

Cabins have their own bathroom, and dinner with local wine is served in the saloon. If you are in real luck, you may be awoken by a pod of bottlenose dolphins.


New Zealand's South Island


Milford Wilderness Cycling Tours, run by World Expeditions in Christchurch: 10-day tours cost $2450 per person including accommodation, most meals, guides and bikes. They operate during April, then from October through to the next year. Qantas flies daily to Christchurch. Flights per person are $509 ex-Sydney; $539 ex-Brisbane and Melbourne; $709 ex-Adelaide and $909 ex-Perth.
Please note prices are valid at time of transmission and to the best of our knowledge are inclusive of GST.

More information

World Expeditions
Ph: 1300 720 000 (02) 9264 3366

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