AUCKLAND, New Zealand -- "None of our trips is meant for serious
athletes," said Richard Oddy, founder and owner of Pedaltours,
which has run biking tours here since 1985.
Rather, cycling is a leisurely mode of transportation for the
operator's destination-focused, multiactivity tours of New Zealand
"It's not just head-down biking," Oddy said. "You go along at 10
mph rather than driving 60 mph and seeing relatively little."
Oddy described the firm's clientele as active, ages 35 to
50-plus, and "not dedicated cyclists, but people who dabble in
skiing, walking, cycling."
"We sometimes get couples of varying ability," Oddy said. "One
might like to do a long ride of 60 miles and the other half that
distance. We can accommodate that type of thing."
Support vehicles, which tow luggage, coolers and picnic tables,
also are available to give a lift to the weary, he said.
Evening meals are either at the small hotels or inns where the
cyclists stay or at restaurants along the way.
Lunch usually is a picnic on the beach or at a scenic roadside
spot. Out of the saddle, travelers have an opportunity to take
guided walks, Oddy said.
Longer trips include rest days to enjoy activities such as
kayaking in New Zealand's Paparoa National Park, rafting,
jet-boating or taking a steamship cruise on Lake Wakatipu aboard
the Earnslaw in Queenstown.
Pedaltours' longest trip, the 21-night Grand Tour, is a
combination of three tours. It covers the northern tip to the
southern tip of the South Island of New Zealand and visits four
national parks along the way.
The journey previously was 18 nights, but was extended this year
to make the distances more manageable, Oddy said. A support van is
used on six of the days.
"If you've time to do the whole thing, you're going to cover the
entire South Island, and it's certainly a very scenic route," he
The Grand Tour is priced at $3,980 per person, double, land
only, including the $205 bike rental fee; a cruise on Milford
Sound; and meals, with the exception of two lunches and five
The tours are Nov. 23 through Dec. 14, Jan. 10 to 31 and Feb. 28
through March 21.
At the opposite end of the challenge and time-commitment
spectrum is the one-night Canterbury Wine Tour, which visits up to
seven vineyards from Christchurch to Hanmer Springs.
"That's a particularly easy trip, designed as an introduction to
cycling," Oddy said. "It is on near-flat roads, and the distances
are short, about 25 miles per day, with lots of stops for wine
"Hanmer Springs, where we stay, has excellent hot pools to laze
in and a superb restaurant," he said. "Our guests appreciate a good
standard of lodging and meals and a guide who knows the area."
The wine tour is priced at $345 per person, double, including
the $30 bike rental and all meals. Six departures are scheduled
from November through March.
For two cyclists, private departures of the wine tour can be
booked for $475 per person, including bike rental.
The warmest months in New Zealand, and, consequently, the most
popular ones for New Zealand cycling tours, are January and
February, but Oddy advised people seeking fewer crowds and finer
scenery to consider visiting in early summer (November or
December), "when the snow is still on the mountains, or at the end
of summer, in March, when there are the fall colors."
Travel agent commission is 10%. A 10% discount applies to all
pre-Christmas tours. For more information, contact Pedaltours New
Zealand at (888) 222-9187, e-mail: [email protected] or visit the Web at www.pedaltours.co.nz.