Why go on a guided trip?

Published 2020-07-01

Sit back and enjoy the ride by going with those in the know. Get all the best stories, tips and tricks of the trails – while avoiding the hassles of planning, transport and other trip logistics.

It’s time to Do Something New, New Zealand, and Australia! So this seems a good time to ditch the DIY-approach to your next cycle trip and go with the pros instead.

Why would you? Well, we say why wouldn’t you! New Zealand has scores of small, locally owned bike tour companies offering mostly bespoke, super-friendly services from shuttle drop-offs to fully guided tours.

Depending on your trip and group size, it may actually work out cheaper than a DIY-package too. New Zealand’s bike tour companies aren’t fancy and expensive: they’re run by people who love doing the same stuff you love doing, but they’ve made it their day jobs too.

Christchurch-based Adventure South NZ has been operating for 25 years. They offer 40 different guided and supported cycling, tramping and multi-activity tours including bike tours covering 13 of the 23 Great Rides. They offer lots of flexibility and tailored trips, so you can go where you want to, at your own pace.

Guided trips come with all the bells and whistles: itinerary planning, packing lists, luggage transfers, transport (often including airport transfers), all accommodation bookings, as well as a dedicated guide and support driver accompanying you the whole way.

You’ll also be fitted with a top-notch hybrid mountain bike or e-bike, best suited to your fitness and the terrain. You can bring your own too.

Sue Clark is an Adventure South NZ guide and loves her work. ‘Guiding combines three of my life’s passions – cycling, spending time with people from all walks of life, and showing off some of the places I consider to be the most stunning in the world.’

In-depth local knowledge is all part of the package, with guides sharing a wealth of stories about the landscape, flora and fauna, human history and much more. A good guided tour will benefit your brain as well as your bum!


Happy bikers on a classic Otago Central Rail Trail tour (Lachlan Gardiner / Adventure South NZ)

Going on a guided trip means you won’t miss must-see and lesser-known sights, or must-do off-the-bike activities. Guides can also quickly adapt your day to work around the weather or cater to individual interests and abilities. As accomplished cyclists, they can help you hone your biking skills too.

Elaina went on a guided Alps 2 Ocean bike trip with Adventure South NZ, having previously organised all her own trips.

‘It really felt like a holiday,’ says Elaina. ‘It was a chance to see New Zealand through fresh eyes – through the eyes of a tourist – learning more about the places we visited than if we had gone self-guided.’

Elaina also enjoyed the freedom from trip planning and on-trail logistics. ‘Everything was so well taken care of, all we had to think about was getting up and biking! It was lovely being looked after and not having to worry about the minor details.’

That's one cheery (and smart-looking) bunch of cyclists on the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail (Ross Dunn)

There are no more than 14 guests on each Adventure South tour, with two guides on any trip of more than seven. ‘We think small is good,’ says General Manager Phil Wyndham. ‘It means we can look after our guests properly while limiting our impact on the trails and the wider environment, as well as benefitting the communities we visit.’

Small groups also make for good bonding time with family, friends or workmates. But joining a scheduled tour with folks can also be rewarding for its fresh social interaction and the chance to make lifelong friendships.


Your support vehicle – and a hot cup of tea – are never far away. Cheers! (Lachlan Gardiner / Adventure South NZ)

Bas Kruisselbrink has worked with the tour company since 2001 and still gets a kick out of the pleasure their guided trips bring. ‘They seem to bring the best out in people. It’s such a great business to be involved in. It can be challenging and demanding at times, but it’s so rewarding.’

Adventure South runs a series of South Island tours taking in eight Great Rides including the West Coast Wilderness Trail, Alps 2 Ocean and the Old Ghost Road.

They also have several new North Island trips, including the five-day Timber Trail, Waikato and Great Lake Cycle Tour taking in some of the best off-road riding in the central North Island. Highlights include Pureora’s majestic forest, riverside scenery along the mighty Waikato, and eye-popping views across Lake Taupō to Tongariro National Park. You’ll also get a night at the Timber Trail Lodge and a soak at Wairakei Terraces hot pools.

You can find out more and book your trip here.


Experience the Timber Trail's majestic trees and graceful suspension bridges with Adventure South (bennettandslater.co.nz)

Adventure South NZ

Christchurch-based Adventure South NZ is New Zealand’s largest guided adventure tour operator, offering a great range of supported cycling, hiking and multi-activity trips across both islands. Their focus is innovative, seamless itineraries featuring memorable accommodation and top-notch bikes, run with environmental sustainability and social responsibility always in mind.

Visit their website.

Popular trips on the Great Rides with Adventure South:

Winter West Coast Wilderness

Twin Coast Bike, Hike & Splash

Winter Alps to Ocean Cycle

Words by Sarah Bennett & Lee Slater (bennettandslater.co.nz)