Kia Ora means ‘be well’ in the Maori lan­guage. You won’t find it hard to be well in New Zealand, one of the most spell­bind­ing coun­tries on Earth. 

On this incred­i­ble 12-day ride, you’ll ride with ghosts along New Zealand’s most epic back­coun­try track (the now famous Old Ghost Road) and flow through the best rides in the coun­try. You’ll heli drop, boat cruise and shred some of the most thrilling and remark­able slices of sin­gle­track known to Kiwis. Plus, you’ll get to shack up in incred­i­ble and unique accom­mo­da­tions, includ­ing a cozy hut perched 1200 m in the Vic­to­ria Moun­tain Range, a con­vert­ed shear­er’s quar­ters with pic­ture-per­fect views, as well as a mag­i­cal ocean-side eco-lodge acces­si­ble only by water taxi.

Cre­at­ed by two pas­sion­ate and high­ly expe­ri­enced moun­tain bike guides, this trip is every­thing you could pos­si­bly dream of… and so much more.

Can’t join us for the full 12-day itin­er­ary? Con­sid­er join­ing our 8‑day Over the Hills and Far Away.

Check out this beau­ti­ful pho­to jour­nal of our inau­gur­al trip, this Rid­er-sub­mit­ted write-up and video and this arti­cle in the Bangkok Post.  

Price is inclu­sive of all applic­a­ble NZ taxes.

Is This Ride For You?

You are an expe­ri­enced, skilled and fit moun­tain bik­er with sol­id moun­tain bike han­dling skills who gets out to ride fre­quent­ly. You have expe­ri­ence rid­ing in a vari­ety of ter­rain, and can han­dle chal­leng­ing climbs, tech­ni­cal descents, as well as some expo­sure. You can ride for up to 5 hours over sev­er­al days. You live for adven­ture, and the big­ger the better!

Itinerary

DAY 1. Arrive in Blenheim, Warm-Up Ride

Kia Ora Mates!

You’ll be arriv­ing into one of NZ’s sun­ni­est, wine lov­ing towns, home to beau­ti­ful sauvi­gnons blancs, and sun drenched val­leys of the Marl­bor­ough Region.

Most of you will have arrived a day or two pri­or to set­tle in and recov­er from jet lag.

Today, your guides will be arriv­ing to meet you at The Blenheim Palms Motel at 10:00 a.m. You will need to be packed up to move to a new accom­mo­da­tion today.

We’ll be offer­ing a ‘Bike Assem­bly’ ses­sion at the bike shop next door this morn­ing. We’ll also be offer­ing an air­port pick at 11 a.m. for those fly­ing in.

This after­noon, after the ‘Bike Assem­bly’ ses­sion and round­ing up all the crew mem­bers, we’ll hit the road and head off to a small local sea­side town called Have­lock for the night.

We’ll set­tle into the accom­mo­da­tion in the evening and then get togeth­er for a group BBQ and go over the epic adven­ture ahead!

DAY 2. Queen Char­lotte Track & Marl­bor­ough Sound

Good morn­ing mates!

We’ll start this trip of a life­time by head­ing north to the head of The Marl­bor­ough Sounds, just down the road from our lodge.

After dri­ving through the lush coun­try­side, we’ll gear up to ride The Queen Char­lotte Track. The Queen Char­lotte Track will take us through beau­ti­ful native New Zealand fern forests, past stun­ning green bays and gold­en sandy beaches.

We’ll ride our way into the heart of The Marl­bor­ough Sounds, and enjoy a swim or two with local stingrays in one of the beau­ti­ful sandy bays. We’ll then keep on rid­ing and make our way back to the start of the track.

We’ll ride up to a beau­ti­ful look­out before return­ing back to the start of the track. This after­noon we’ll trans­fer over to an ulti­mate gem of a  local ride called The Waka­ma­ri­na Track, set in the fern-filled forests of The Rich­mond Range. This track will get the tech­ni­cal side of rid­ing start­ed, as we tack­le some ‘techy’ climbs and rooty nar­row sin­gle­track — it’s a hoot! 

The after­noon ride will end up in town where we’ll enjoy din­ner at a  deli­cious local water­front restau­rant with our new rid­ing buddies. 

Day 3. Canaan Downs and Rame­ka Track

Ris­ing to the sounds of Bell­birds and the crisp, fresh ocean air, we’ll head north to Nel­son and Motue­ka in the scenic Tas­man Bay.

From here, we’ll make our way over to the start of Gold­en Bay, which is a trop­i­cal par­adise at the top of the South Island.

We’ll gear up for an all-time favourite — the epic Rame­ka Track.

We’ll warm up with a loop on the super fun Canaan Downs Track first, before descend­ing into some sweet Kiwi singletrack.

The Rame­ka Track winds through beau­ti­ful native bush before head­ing down through open pas­ture land, to pine forests before hit­ting native for­est again. You’ll be beg­ging for more! This track has been known to ren­der rid­ers “speech­less”.

We’ll ride into the hip­pie town of Taka­ka, where any wor­ries are said to be washed away!

Day 4. Cop­per­mine Sad­dle and Dunn Mountain

Ris­ing ear­ly to the smell of fresh flat white cof­fees, we’ll make our way over to Nel­son, where we’ll be embark­ing on one of Nelson’s most clas­sic moun­tain bike tracks.

Here we’ll gear up and take on the local’s Cop­per­mine Sad­dle Track.   A grunt of a 1000 m climb, start­ing in pine trees, rid­ing through native bush and then ris­ing into the dry alpine with views across the Tas­man Bay. This ride is a real goodie!

The sweat and tears are all worth it for the flowy, red rock down­hill on the Fern Gul­ly Track!

We’ll hop in the riv­er for a swim to cool off, then ride back into Nel­son Town­ship for a cold craft brew in one of our favourite apres ride hang outs. 

Day 5. Rest Day in Nelson

Today, we get a well-deserved rest day in the funky town of Nel­son, as it has lots to offer off the saddle. 

Nel­son is well known for its moun­tain bik­ing as well as its art scene and local pro­duce; it won’t dis­ap­point.  This is a gem of a town and one of the sun­ni­est in NZ (and the craft brew cap­i­tal of the South Island, might we add); it has a Euro­pean feel with loads of cool cafés and pubs.  Take a fer­ry over to the stun­ning Able Tas­man Nation­al Park, go for a ride or savor the awe­some local restau­rants and cafés. The Sat­ur­day morn­ing mar­kets make for a great start to your day!

Day 6. Old Ghost Road & Heli-bike to Kir­wans Track

After an ear­ly start, we’ll head west to the ghost town of Lyell and get ready for a good climb up part of the Old Ghost Road.

Here, we’re head­ing into New Zealand’s newest and epic back­coun­try sin­gle­tracks ever made.  We’ll ride up a well grad­ed incline of awe­some sin­gle­track, through mag­i­cal forests and alpine ridge lines of the wild west coast.  The Old Ghost Road is NZ’s longest sin­gle­track, com­pris­ing of an impres­sive rugged 87 kms in total. Today, we’ll ride and enjoy a stun­ning part of it!

This after­noon, we’ll head over to the real wild west of New Zealand, and gear up to fly high in a heli­copter!  We’ll strap the bikes up and set off in style to the top of The Vic­to­ria Range to a sweet hut perched in pure beau­ty over­look­ing end­less ridge­lines of west coast wilder­ness at its finest!

We’ll be on top of the world mates!

Please Note:  Weath­er and/or rid­ing abil­i­ties may dic­tate the heli-bike to be changed to the Croe­sus Track. Heavy rain does not allow us to chop­per up here. The heli-bik­ing expe­ri­ence requires all bikes to be strapped secure­ly to a rope that hangs under the chop­per in flight. Although the bikes are secured with care, it is like­ly for the bikes to shift dur­ing air trans­port and scratch­es to bike frames may hap­pen. If you are con­cerned with your bike get­ting scratched, you have the option of wrap­ping your bike with foam pads and duct tape. Rent­ing a bike through the add-ons tab is also an option. Sacred Rides is NOT respon­si­ble for scratch­es or dam­ages to bikes.

Day 7. Kir­wans Track Descent

Ris­ing to the smell of fresh brewed cof­fee and great views, we’ll test our brakes out for our awe­some mis­sion ahead!

We’ll be enjoy­ing a 1100 m descent down the pre­mier Kir­wans Track. We’ll flow through stun­ning Beach tree and Fern Gul­ly forests on this epic tech­ni­cal descent!

After our ride, we’ll hop in the shut­tle and dri­ve down the Grey Val­ley head­ing inland, up and over the South­ern Alps to the Craigieburn Forest.

Day 8. Craigieburn, The Edge, The Luge and more!

Ris­ing to the high dry moun­tains, we’ll get back in the sad­dle for some epic rid­ing in Craigieburn Forest.

Tack­ling an uphill grav­el road to the bot­tom of Craigieburn Ski Field, we’ll take a short rest before head­ing down the well-named Edge trail which leads on to a track called “The Luge”.  After the Luge, a short uphill is fol­lowed by the new Dra­co­phyl­lum and  Hogs­back Track.  This is New Zealand’s sin­gle­track at its best mates… a real hoot — sweet sin­gle­track all the way!

We’ll rest our mus­cles as we dri­ve to the high dry McKen­zie Coun­try to the stun­ning turquoise waters of Lake Tekapo, also home to the clear­est skies in the world! 

Day 9. Lake Tekapo & The Hobbit

Wak­ing to the beau­ty and stun­ning land­scapes of the Macken­zie Coun­try, we’ve got an inspir­ing sin­gle­track ride to warm up with, which flows through native Tus­socks along with incred­i­ble views of the turquoise taint­ed Lake Tekapo.

We’ll then move onto our secret gem of a ride which flows through the best alpine views the South Island has to offer.  Imag­ine rid­ing through high peaks, sheep and  flow­ers on a super fun cross coun­try ride, end­ing with a cold beer (or two)! 

We’ll ride to our unique accom­mo­da­tion tonight — we’ll be stay­ing in a con­vert­ed shear­er’s quar­ters with views to die for.  It does­n’t get more Kiwi than this mates!

A quick lunch break at Tatopani, and we’ll con­tin­ue rid­ing towards Beni where our van to Pokhara awaits.

Day 10. Queen­stown Rides

After leav­ing this breath­tak­ing place, we’ll head down to Cen­tral Ota­go, home to semi desert-like land­scapes, great Pinot Noirs and amaz­ing riding.

We’ll enjoy anoth­er post­card dri­ve as we head over the Lindis Pass, and on to the beau­ti­ful lake­side town of Wana­ka.  Here, we’ll spend the after­noon rid­ing some amaz­ing, fast, flow­ing sin­gle­track made by the keen local moun­tain bike com­mu­ni­ty. We’ll ride Dean’s Bank, a flowy and fun local ride. 

After the ride and a cold brew, we’ll make our way up to the Car­dona Val­ley and over to the adven­ture tourism cap­i­tal of the world known as Queenstown! 

Day 11. Queen­stown Epics

Yes, that’s right, we’re div­ing into more must-do rides in Queenstown! 

The rid­ing around here is just too good to not stay for a sec­ond day. .. you’ll be drool­ing and want­i­ng more! 

Today, we’re up ear­ly for some local Kiwian break­fast in town and a deli­cious flat white before head­ing to Coro­net Peak for some enduro style rides. 

Start­ing with a good climb over­look­ing unre­al views of the  Wakatipu Basin, we’ll then descent onto the famous Rude Rock track.  Berms,   swoops and pure fun on top of Queenstown. 

We’ll end with our adren­a­line pump­ing on the Skip­pers Canyon trail … high ‑fives all around  — need we say more?

Day 12. Queen­stown Goodbyes

Our last morn­ing of the trip! Sob, weep, waaaaa!

High five your new rid­ing pals and say your goodbyes.

Today, break­fast will be on your own, as Rider’s depar­tures times and plans vary.

Your guides will be doing drop offs at the Queen­stown Air­port at 10:00 a.m. or at your hotel of choice in Queen­stown by 11:00 a.m.

If stay­ing a few extra days, we rec­om­mend stay­ing at the Crowne Plaza.

Until next time!

Picture Yourself Here…

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Dates chosen: Feb. 16, 2021—Feb. 27, 2021
Skill Rating: Blue Square
Fitness Rating: Blue Square
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Skill Levels
Green Circle

Typically, green Rides are safe for beginners. Green Rides may have both avoidable and unavoidable obstacles. Trails are generally low grade, wide, consistent surface texture and have minimal features. You are likely to come across unavoidable obstacles 2-inches or shorter, which is small enough for mountain bike tires to simply roll over. More challenging than tarmac, but in general, a wonderful Ride for those riders new to mountain biking or looking for a casual experience.

Blue Square

In general, Blue trails are narrower than green trails, encounter unavoidable obstacles such as roots, rocks, and drops that are up to 8-inches tall. You will want to have a solid understanding of the fundamentals of mountain biking including body positions, powerful braking, cornering, riding on varied terrain, steep sections and experience riding trails that requires line choice. Airtime is not mandatory, but you will find yourself on trails with alternate lines giving you the option.

Black Diamond

The Black Diamond Rides are  suitable for riders looking for that edge. Maybe it’s the edge of a drop, the edge of a cliff, or singletrack requiring focus and fast reactions developed from extensive experience riding “the edge”. You will find yourself on steep trails of varied surfaces. In the Pacific North West that could be slick roots and loam, in Nepal you will find exposed granite in the Mustang Valley and in Guatemala it maybe narrow stairways through cliffside villages. While airtime is rarely required, the ability to find the backside or clean a tabletop should be comfortable or in a state of progress. Obstacles on Black rides are likely to be outside the range of your bikes ability to cover your goofs with its awesome suspension and grip.

Double Black Diamond

A Double Black ride is for those that already know they are looking for a Double Black. It’s going to be very hard and require advanced bike handling skills. You will find yourself on trails with sections most non-riders would look at and say, “that’s totally nuts!”. You will know how to look at a line and contemplate where it will work and where it won’t. Drops of a couple feet should be comfortable and getting your bike off the ground should feel predictable and fun.

Fitness Levels
Green Circle

You should be ready to spend 2-4 hours per day on the bike. Mileage may be up to 30km/20 miles and elevation gain will be under 500m/1500feet. On e-MTB tours, numbers will be higher, however the approximate effort would be considered similar to a standard Green Circle ride. If you get on your bike once a week, you will be just fine. However, when preparing for a Ride, you will benefit from more rides and time in the saddle.

Blue Square

Blue should be considered a good deal more effort than our Green Rides.  You should be able to handle 3 to 5 hours in the saddle covering up to 45km/30miles and be able to pull off a big day of 1000m/3000feet of elevation gain. Managing fuel is important as well.  You should have a good understanding how your body responds to multiple days on the bike. We will help with positive coaching, a manageable pace and plenty of trailside snacks.

Black Diamond

A Black Fitness ride will test you. Aside from needing to be able to manage up to 6 hours on the bike, day after day, including distance up to 50km/30miles and elevation gains up to 1750m/5000feet of climbing, you will be adding extra challenges along the route like periods of hike-a-bike and the extra effort required by the whole body to safely dance with your bike over technical terrain. Generally, riders who are up for a Black Fitness ride, likely spend time on the bike a couple times each week.

Double Black Diamond

A Double Black will be for those with the strength and endurance to get to the top of anything they want and understand the term “turning the screw”. Distance could be quite high on some routes and elevation gain numbers could hit 2000m/6000 feet+ in a day. You are likely riding multiple days a week during the dry periods and have a trainer or belong to a gym for the rest of the year.