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New Zealand South Island tandem bike and circus tour, December-January 2015

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WS Member ユーザー WS Member の写真
New Zealand South Island tandem bike and circus tour, December-January 2015

we are a french couple planning to travel by tandem bike this summer and stop from time to time to perform circus shows ( aerial silk-kind of acrobatics in curtains-juggling and clowning). We are looking for pieces of information about our planned itinerary (roads to avoid, good shortcuts,places to visit...) and obviously places to have a hot shower and/or camp for a night. We will cycle from the very beginning of December to mid january for a loop from Christchurch to Christchurch, passing through Burkes Pass, Alexandra, Stewart Island, Te Anau, Queenstown (for christmas), Wanaka, Greymouth, Spring Junction and Amberley. If you could please have a look at our planned itinerary and share pieces of information about the areas you know about that would be great. If you are on our route and have a nice tree with a big branch 5-8 meters high in your garden or town, it would be a pleasure to distract you with our show in exchange of camping place...
If by chance you also plan to travel in the same area at the same time, we would be glad to have another cycling companion!
Cheers, Thomas and Emilie.

PS: find enclosed our itinerary, or have a look at it thanks to the following link:,167.8709099,6.31z/data=!4m62!4m61!1m5!1m1!1s0x6d322f4863c5ed01:0x500ef8684799945!2m2!1d172.6362254!2d-43.5320544!1m5!1m1!1s0x6d2d9538eb724efd:0x500ef868479a680!2m2!1d172.0225696!2d-43.7560736!1m5!1m1!1s0x6d2b70d2f91afdd5:0xe0601e4a5e81e737!2m2!1d170.6!2d-44.0833333!1m5!1m1!1s0xa82b25f577308769:0xa00ef88e796a700!2m2!1d169.379722!2d-45.249167!1m5!1m1!1s0xa9d2b8644e3a47bb:0x500ef8684796190!2m2!1d168.3457088!2d-46.5996116!1m5!1m1!1s0xa9d3949f8627fff1:0x500ef8684796100!2m2!1d167.6769155!2d-45.8061884!1m5!1m1!1s0xa9d51df1d7a8de5f:0x500ef868479a600!2m2!1d168.6626435!2d-45.0311622!1m5!1m1!1s0x6d2f3fd94dd51053:0x500ef86847972a0!2m2!1d171.2107623!2d-42.4503925!1m5!1m1!1s0x6d2ffe5ac8bc274d:0x4302993409a0ed41!2m2!1d172.181667!2d-42.334444!1m5!1m1!1s0x6d322f4863c5ed01:0x500ef8684799945!2m2!1d172.6362254!2d-43.5320544!3e1

Unregistered ユーザー anon_user の写真
Belle aventure !

Hello, I'm a french guy and I travel all around the NZ by bike ! I'm juste arrive 2 weeks ago in Wellington, and I go in the South Island for 3 months in 10 days ! So there is many chance that we will be on the same road one day ! It will be a pleasure to meet you and enjoy a moment together ! I love circus too, I did "monocycle" during 9 years, many kind of jongling and now my new toy is my slackline !!

See you soon for a circus day ! :D

WS Member ユーザー WS Member の写真
Rep to Antoine

we would be glad to have a companion for cycling or slack-line training!
See you on the road, we should be quite easily recognizable...
Cheers, Thomas and Emilie

WS Member ユーザー WS Member の写真
What's up Mate ?

have you start biking? We will leave christchurch next wednesday and hope to reach Invercarghill 7 or 8 days later. Hope to see you soon on the road and find a shelter for the wind behind your wheels...

WS Member ユーザー WS Member の写真
Bienvenue au sud de Nouvelle Zelande


I hope your trip goes well.
Comments about your itinerary:

SH1 south of Christchurch is busy. The bridge at Rakaia is 1.6km long with two lanes. Unpleasant. The route via Rakaia Gorge is much less busy and more scenic.

I don't like the highway Geraldine to Fairlie. Windy and busy. I see you'll avoid part of it. There are other routes. I've used a quieter route via Winchester Hanging Rock Road and Cave and Mackenzie Pass.

You will be climbing Hakataramea and Danseys Passes. Both are quite remote with shingle surfaces and biggish climbs. But little traffic.

From Te Anau to Queenstown, you can go via Mavora Lakes (good camping) to Mount Nicholas, then take a boat (the 'Earnslaw' 100 year old steam ship).
Shingle road, no big hills, a favourite cycle touring route. Definitely the better route!

The rest of your route seems good - and there are not many alternatives!

Bon voyage


WS Member ユーザー WS Member の写真
Reply to Ed

Thanks for all those pieces of advice, it looks really smart on the map. We will be a bit in a rush on our way south, so I'm not sure we will cycle through the Rakaia Gorge route. Do you really recommend not to take the rakaia bridge?
True concerning the highway from Geraldine to Fairlie, we think about cycling on small roads south of it to join the Mackenzie Pass Road...
Anyway, thank you very much for the tips, we just hope we will be able to climb the "biggish shingle trails with the tandem and the trailer...
Cheers, Thomas and Emilie

WS Member ユーザー WS Member の写真
South Island

Hi Thomas and Emilie
Thanks for your message.

Every time I cross the Rakaia bridge by car I think how I would not like to do it by bike. Overall the inland route is a little longer, but much less traffic, better views, and avoids that bridge.

If you want speed, consider using mainly state highways other than SH1. Shingle roads are slow, and shopping opportunities on them few.

All the best


WS Member ユーザー WS Member の写真
I certainly recommend you do

I certainly recommend you do not travel SH1 south of Christchurch but take the inland route as suggested. You may find other possible route alternatives at
and many of my journals cover much of the route you have planned. If you are able to cycle on gravel roads, you can choose many quiet roads instead of the busy highways. This is not possible at some places such as the West Coast from Greymouth to Wanaka, or Waipara to Springs Junction (you can avoid SH1 from Christchurch to Waipara by travelling via Rangiora and the backroads north to Waipara.

I would also suggest you travel from Springs Junction to Westport and down the coast to Greymouth. The Buller Gorge is one of the most scenic roads I have cycled and the coastal road will take you past Punakaiki which is worth a visit.

WS Member ユーザー slogfester の写真
Hi Thomas and Emilie We will

Hi Thomas and Emilie

We will be doing something very similar to your trip, but starting end of December, so keep us posted on your experiences please :)

Bon route

Barry & Julia

WS Member ユーザー WS Member の写真
sweet as

Hey Barry and Julia,
we plan to stop in Queenstown for Christmas, so we should have time and internet then to write a feedback on the first half of our journey. Just remind us if we forget...
Thomas and Emilie

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