Tour Aotearoa - Section 3

Picton to Hokitika

Welcome to the South Island! This is a stunningly diverse ride from the North East of the South Island to the Wild West Coast.

Picton to Hokitika
9 days (including start & finish)
562 km
Section 3 of 4. Fully supported version of New Zealand’s classic Tour Aotearoa

We have divided the 3000km Kennett Bros Tour Aotearoa into four 8-12 day sections so that you you can enjoy riding and exploring that section in detail - without the hassle of carrying your gear or finding food and accommodation. Our sections loosely follow this classic route and also include plenty of quirky extras, stop-overs and special places in the true Escape Adventures' style.

Section 3: Picton to Hokitika

Welcome to the South Island! This is a stunningly diverse ride from the North East of the South Island to the Wild West Coast. From the Marlborough Sounds, over the historically mysterious Maungatapu to Nelson city, via Nelson Lakes, and over the divide. As we ride down the wonderfully wild west coast of New Zealand we encounter a fabulous combination of wild coastlines, rain forest, cows, cowboys and possibly cow seals?

Contact Us for a detailed Trip Information

Start: Picton

Finish: Hokitika

Transfers to: Greymouth

Suggested Loop: This route can be made into a fabulous loop trip including the Coastal Pacific train from Christchurch to Picton and then the Trans Alpine from Greymouth back to Christchurch.

The Biking

  • A total distance of 562km spread over 6 days of biking.
  • 45-123km riding per day on wonderfully remote and scenic, quiet gravelled and sealed roads and cycle trails.
  • There’s still no let up on the hills, so be ready for some ups and downs, some big and some rough, and yes there is also some flat terrain!
  • A hard tail mountain bike or a touring bike with off road tyres is the ideal bike.
  • This is a pedal bike-centric cycle tour. Riding distance and pace is designed at pedal bike-pace. / E-Bikers are also welcome.
  • Contact us if you plan on hiring a bike.
  • Off road biking experience will add to the enjoyment of your tour.
  • Our ‘Sag Wagon’ support is available (most of the time) should you need a break from the saddle.


We will organise the logistics, book accommodation and organise all included meals. Our awesome Escape Adventures tour leaders will ride with you, and provide daily briefings, first aid and mechanical support. Our trusty ’Sag Wagon’ support vehicle will carry your luggage, has lunch, snacks and water, and is there if you need a break from the saddle. There are times when the vehicle will need to take a different route and will meet up with you where it can. We will supply you with daily route notes and maps so that you can ride at your own pace throughout the day.


  • Included in the tour: All breakfasts, lunches and riding snacks.
  • Evening meals (as per the daily itinerary below) are in places where there are dinning and wining options available - therefore at your own cost and choosing. (This gives you more control over the cost of your tour AND spreads the love supporting local businesses!)
  • We are definitely able to cater for vegetarians and special diets and if this includes you, it is essential to advise us of this before your tour begins, so that the support vehicle can be stocked with the necessary supplies.

Typical Included Meals:
 Breakfasts - Fresh fruit, muesli, toast and spreads, hot drinks.  Cooked breakfast on occasions.
 Lunches - Picnic style lunches, fresh salads, cold meats, cheese & bread.
 Snacks - Fresh fruit, salty snacks, home baking.
 Evening Meal - Prepared by your tour leaders or local accommodation.


All accommodation for the eight nights of the tour is included.  We have explored and chosen the most fitting accommodation we could find to work in with the riding route. For this section we will be using cabins, motels and hotels.

Accommodation is on a share twin basis.  If you’re traveling alone, we’ll pair you to twin-share with another biker.  If you do not wish to share a single supplement will apply. Single room options may be limited in some locations.

Preparing for your cycle tour

This cycle tour includes rides of 45-123km per day.  Please do read about the daily riding distances taking note of the riding terrain in the itinerary below and prepare accordingly.  The more prepared you are the more you will enjoy your adventure!  Preparing for your cycle tour should involve:

- riding on gravel, unpaved terrain with some hills.

- 2-3 times a week with rides of 30-80km in length.   

Itinerary: Picton to Hokitika

Day 1:  Arrive in Picton.  Meet with your tour leaders & fellow bikers at 5pm for your pre-departure meeting and first meal together.

Day 2:  We get our wheels turning on the stunning Queen Charlotte drive.  A shorter riding day offers us time to explore the coastal settlements along the way.  45km

Day 3:  Rich in history the Maungatapu begins gently climbing up through  regenerating bush.  But gentle doesn’t last very long and soon becomes a steep, rocky 4x4 track that will have you negotiating baby head size boulders on the climb and descent. A wee bit of pushing will get you through the worst. Luckily the decent finishes with a smooth valley ride into Nelson City with a swim on the way!  49km.  Note: The 4x4 section is steep and rough and unsupported. Option is to transfer around by vehicle and rejoin after this section.

Day 4:  If yesterday was too exciting for you… today should settle your nerves. We meander out of Nelson on a friendly cycle trail almost all the way to Tapawera.  64km

Day 5:  We stretch our legs today clocking up some kilometres on quiet country roads.  We pass through Lake Rotoroa, some gorgeous native bush and lots of fords. 98km

Day 6:  Good rural farming country meets native bush on lovely quiet little used roads. We pop over Maruia Saddle at 500m, then its a lovely up and over piece of road - rich in bush and birdlife to Reefton.  123km

Day 7:  It’s gently descending all the way to Greymouth.  Pretty much a rest day!  82km

Day 8:  We don our plaid and join the West Coast Wilderness Trail and gently climb to what can only be described as a West Coast icon.  What goes up must come down and this afternoon we do… We enjoy a stunning ride from Cowboy Paradise down to Hokitika via the Lake Kaniere trails.  101km

Day 9:  Our final breakfast together on section 3 before bidding farewell. For those continuing on - a well earned rest day ; For those taking the train to Christchurch a transfer to Greymouth will be provided.
*Trains from Greymouth to Christchurch run on Saturdays. Sundays, Mondays.

*Actual night stops and daily distances may vary depending on accommodation availability.

Contact us for a detailed Trip Information


Tour Price: Picton to Hokitika

NZD $3,250
+Bike Hire if required $300

Singles: You DON'T have to pay a single supplement!
- If you’re traveling alone, we’ll pair you to twin-share with another biker.
- If you do not wish to share that is fine too, but a single supplement will apply.

Included in your tour:

  • 8 nights accommodation
  •  Meals as per tour itinerary.
  •  Two Escape Adventures tour leaders
  •  Support vehicle & bike trailer

Tour Price does NOT include: getting to and from Picton/Hokitika or Greymouth, optional activities, personal equipment & some meals as per the detailed itinerary.