You depart from the U.S. for Christchurch. The particulars
of your arrival are detailed with your flight itinerary and airline tickets.
Day 2 - In flight to Christchurch
Flying from the U.S. to New Zealand requires crossing the
International Date Line, so this day is “lost.”
Day 3 - Arrive in Christchurch
Upon arrival at the Christchurch airport, gather your
luggage at the international baggage collection area and proceed toward the main
exit past the International Free phone area. Around the corner, look for the
Super Shuttle vehicle. It will be parked in the International Shuttle Rank on
your left. Use it to transfer (approximately 30 minutes) to your Christchurch hotel.
If your flight is delayed, please notify Super Shuttle at 64 9 522 5100. Once
you arrive at the hotel, the rest of the day is yours to relax or explore.
Your hotel room may not be available until 2 p.m. You may
store your luggage with the reception desk. VBT provides you with City
Information in your Final Travel Booklet that includes information and
recommendations on what to see and do in Christchurch during your stay.
Please note: VBT transfer times and departure points are
finalized in advance and cannot be modified for individual guests. If you fly
in earlier than the scheduled program dates, transportation from the airport
will be at your own expense.
Day 4 - All guests meet at Christchurch/Warm-up ride/Welcome reception
VBT No-Air Package guests: Please plan to arrive at your
Christchurch hotel by late morning. If you are unable to arrive before 12 p.m.,
please contact the hotel, who will advise our trip leaders.
VBT Air and Pre-Trip Extension guests: You are free to
explore Christchurch's museums and botanical gardens on your own after
Lunch is on your own, then begin your New Zealand travel
experience; meet your VBT Trip Leaders at 12 p.m. at the hotel for a safety and
bike-fitting session, followed by a warm-up ride and a welcome reception. Trip
Leaders will be wearing VBT staff garments. Dine with the group tonight.
Day 5 - Cross Southern Alps by train/ Cycle to the seaside town of Hokitika
After an early breakfast, shuttle with your Trip Leaders to
the Christchurch train station. We board the 8:15 a.m. TranzAlpine Express for
a breathtaking ride through the dramatic Arthur's Pass, a small township in the
Southern Alps, to the sleepy fishing village of Jacksons. Our train passes
through the Canterbury Plains and traverses the gorges and river valleys of the
Enjoy a pub lunch in Jacksons. From here we begin cycling
through open farmland to Lake Brunner, followed by a shuttle to Hokitika.
Hokitika boomed with gold-rush fever, and the main street once housed more than
80 hotels. Today there are only six.
This evening, you have free time to enjoy dinner on your
own. Later, you might take a walk along the beach and look skyward for the
Southern Cross, a constellation that can be seen year-round, but only from the
Southern Hemisphere. The Southern Cross contains four bright stars that depict
the extremities of a Latin cross. The stars are very bright and located close
by one another, making the constellation very easy to pick out.
Day 6 - Cycle Westland National Park/ Discover Franz Josef Glacier
This morning, visit the Greenstone Jade Factory, featuring
carvings from this beautiful native stone. Then shuttle to Ross, where we begin
cycling toward Westland National Park and Franz Josef Glacier. The park covers
an expanse of towering mountains and glaciers, dramatic waterfalls and icy,
gray-blue rivers that tumble down to the Tasman Sea. A rolling ride through
this beautiful forest takes us to a picnic lunch under a covered shelter beside
the historic Puké Pub (pronounced poo-kay) in Pukekura. The Pub serves
award-winning “Wild Foods” (including possum pate, venison, rabbit and others).
After lunch, we continue cycling to Hari Hari. Spend free time in town before
shuttling back to the hotel, where you can freshen up before dinner.
Day 7 - Optional hike on Franz Josef Glacier/Cycle to Okarito with
hiking and kayaking options
After breakfast, we have a free day to choose from a variety
of optional pursuits. Head to Franz Josef Glacier for an exhilarating hike, or
embark on a guided heli-hiking adventure (both options at your own expense). If
you prefer, remain in Franz Josef to shop and explore the town. In the
afternoon, cycle to Okarito Lagoon, a rich wildlife haven noted for its
unspoiled beaches. Here you can find more than 70 species of birds. Experience
the lagoon up close during an optional hike or kayaking excursion. Tonight,
dinner is on your own at one of the many wonderful local restaurants.
Day 8 - Cycle in the heart of Westland
A morning shuttle brings us over a scenic pass to Fox
Glacier, where we pedal through native New Zealand rainforest along the Tasman
Sea. Enjoy lunch at a salmon farm, and then continue on to the Wilderness Lodge
Lake Moeraki. Surrounded by a thriving 1,000-year-old rainforest and pristine
seacoast, the lodge's location is perfect for outdoor exploration and activity,
or just relaxing and taking in the wonders of nature. The owner of the lodge,
Dr. Gerry McSweeney, is the former president of the New Zealand Royal Forest
and Bird Protection Society, the country's largest environmental
Accordingly, the lodge is committed to the protection of the
environment. Dinner is in the lodge's dining room, which overlooks the
Later, you may wish to join your lodge host for a walk on
the grounds to view a colony of glowworms!
Day 9 - Explore Lake Moeraki
After breakfast, we spend a free day participating in
optional outdoor activities provided by the Wilderness Lodge, including
kayaking or hiking through the rainforest. Your trip price includes two shorter
guided activities of 60-90 minutes, including the rainforest, bird and tree
fern walks, freshwater eel feeding, canoe instruction on the river and lake,
night sky walks and historical talks. Additional activities may incur extra
costs. After a day of exploration and lunch on your own, rejoin the group for
dinner at the lodge.
Day 10 - Cycle through the Haast River Valley and enjoy a local homestay
Take a brief shuttle along the dramatic cliffs above the
Tasman Sea. We stop at the Haast Visitor's Center; from there, cycle beside the
clear blue Haast River as you travel east toward Haast Pass. Descend into the
Makarora River Valley and ride through Mt. Aspiring National Park. Spend the
night at a local homestay and enjoy Kiwi hospitality and a home-cooked meal.
Day 11 - Cycle through the Otago region to Queenstown
This morning we cycle along the Clutha River, lifeblood of
the Otago region, to the historic town of Cromwell. Stop at a local pottery
shop, featured in New Zealand House and Garden magazine, for a picnic lunch in
its garden. While your picnic is being prepared, step into the shop to see
wonderful pottery. Then head to Queenstown, via the shuttle van, with an
optional stop at A.J. Hackett Bungy at Kawarau Bridge — home of the original, 130-foot-high
bungy jump! Once at your Queenstown hotel, you have free time on your own
before a group farewell dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 12 - Depart for U.S. or begin your optional trip extension in Queenstown
VBT No-Air Package guests: You are responsible for your own
transfer arrangements to the airport. The hotel's Elements Restaurant opens at
6:00 am for any guests with early departure flights.
VBT Air Package guests: Transfer from the hotel by Super
Shuttle to the Queenstown Airport 2½ hours prior to your scheduled flight
departure time. (This transfer is included in your package.) The Elements
Restaurant opens at 6:00 am for any guests with early departure flights.
VBT Post-Trip Extension guests: If you have chosen the
optional Post-Trip Extension, enjoy one of the many optional activities
available in Queenstown. Perhaps you'll join an excursion to the breathtaking
Milford Sound, a thrilling jet-boat ride through the Shotover River Canyons, a
pleasant Lake Wakatipu cruise on the S.S. Earnslaw to a sheep station, or a
scenic gondola ride. After a full day of exploration, relax at the hotel this
evening. Dinner is on your own tonight.
VBT provides you with City Information in your Final Travel Booklet that
includes information and recommendations on what to see and do in Queenstown
during your stay.
Please note: VBT transfer times and departure points are
finalized in advance and cannot be modified for individual guests. If you
extend your stay beyond the scheduled program dates, return transportation to
the airport will be at your own expense.