Give in to your SINZ....The New Zealand Unitour Jan/Feb 2007

Hello everyone,

From the people that brought you the Laos Unitour (, we bring you The SINZ Unitour! That’s South Island, New Zealand, in Jan/Feb 2007. Dust off your Cokers and head down-under to redeem your SINZ.

The tour will start in Dunedin, and head towards Central Otago via a scenic train journey. From there we ride the “Central Otago Rail Trail”, traversing various Gold Rush towns along the way. We will likely spend a day or two in the adventure capital Queenstown (Bungy Jumping was born here), and then head up the West Coast past Fox and Franz Josef glaciers, before turning east up Arthurs Pass and finishing in Christchurch.

We are still crunching the numbers, but this is a preliminary announcement due to the interest we’ve had. The uncomfirmed dates are 20 Jan- 6 Feb (17 days). There are a total of 12 riding days and 5 rest days. These dates are still being worked through depending on accomodation and route, but if they change, it will be either by 1-3 days on either side of these dates.

The distance will be approximately 900km, over 4 mountain passes. Riding days will be anything up to 100km. The tour is designed to provide the biggest contrast of scenery possible- from the lush hillsides of Dunedin, through the arid towns in Central Otago, up the wet and wild West Coast, and then back towards the quant little city of Christchurch.

We’re limiting the tour to 12 riders. We will consider more riders depending on the availability of accomodation. It will be a semi-supported tour- we will hire a van to carry gear, and hopefully have vehicle support from local unicyclists as well. Lodging is still being worked through so we can’t give a cost yet. Early guestimates of cost will be between NZ$750 and $2000 to cover accomodation and support vehicle. You need to be a competent Coker rider to participate, which means being able to ride up to 100km on open roads, averaging 17-20km/hr on the flat.

Registrations will open in July. If you email me your interest I’ll pop you on the mailing list.
The organisers are Ken Looi (me); and Tony Melton from NZ.

Website with further details will be up in about a fortnight.

Email your interest to ken(dot)



Direct from Tony and Kens sketchbook. This is the preliminary route:

Day 1 - travel day arrive in Dunedin, Taieri Gorge train departs 2:30pm (or 9:30am but I think 2:30 is better) for Pukerangi. 4:35pm Meet car in Pukerangi and ride to Middlemarch 19km. [Or possibly ride to Hyde, another 27km away (total 46km). only reason I could see to do this is if we cannot find sufficient accomodation in Oturehua]
Day 2- Rail Trail from Middlemarch to Oturehua. 84km
Day 3 - Rail Trail continues. Oturehua to Clyde/Alexandra 67km/59km There are various accomodation options in both Alex and Clyde. Clyde is much smaller, but cuter - they’ve got some cool old stone buildings where you can stay (converted stables, I think) but might be expensive. I’d prefer to stay in Clyde, but there are fewer options there.
Day 4 - Clyde to Queenstown. SH8 thru Kawarau Gorge 88km
Rest Day/s
Day 5- Qtown to Wonka 70km via the Crown Range Road - the highest main road in NZ 1121m at summit, its gravel for the toughest 30km and that climb to the summit is quite something!
Possible rest day in Wonka
Day 6 -Wonka to The Gates of Haast/beyond. 87km/up to 145km - ride past two beautiful lakes (L. Wanaka and L. Hawea) and into Mt Aspiring National Park, over the Haast Pass, then 5km more to the spectacular Gates of Haast. ExXxtra hardcore riders can continue to Haast itself on the W/coast.
Day 7 - Haast to Fox Glacier - 115km of west coast juiciness!
Rest Day
Day 8 - Fox to Harihari 88km
Day 9 - Harihari to Hokitika 73km. Thru historic goldmining town of Ross. There is an alternative minor road at the final 10km into H-tika.
Day 10 - Htka to Arthur’s Pass, taking shortcutting minor roads inland from Htka (some probably gravel) approx 75km, gaining plenty of altitude all the way!
Possible rest day
Day 11 - Aruthur’s Pass to Springfield. From mountains to plains, over Porters Pass. 90km Hilly ride through big open country and national parks, though there is an overall elevation loss this day.
Day 12 Springfield to CHCH approx 50km across the Canterbury plains. There are numerous minor roads we can take which will be less busy. We gotta stop in West Melton - its my namesake town! (Last time I was there I can’t remember there being much there apart from a pub and a PO and a shop, maybe. Anyways a beer in the pub is in order!)

General notes - The first two days are on the famous Central Otago Rail Trail, a former railway converted to shared hiking and unicycling track. No traffic and great riding over viaducts and thru tunnels. Link: This tour crosses 4 passes (Crown Range, Haast Pass, Arthurs Pass and Porters Pass) and includes the highest main road in NZ. It finishes at sea level in the ‘Garden City’ of Christchurch. You’ll experience many different environments of the South Is - dry and barren yet desolutely beautiful Central Otago, lush native bush, spectacular scenery and wild beaches on the West Coast, Alpine and subalpine climates and the agricultural Canterbury Plains. There will be travel on gravel roads for 30km or more in places. On many days there will be very few places to stop and buy snacks (often none at all!) so support meals provided the van will be very important. Expect at least one day of rain, even in mid-summer, and especially on the West (Wet) Coast. NZ weather can change very rapidly (unlike stable continental climates) so expect to take spare warm clothing in yr camelbak if the weather is at all questionable.

(*note- Wonka I think is Wanaka- Tony?)

Hi guys,

I dunno when I’ll know for sure if I’m gonna be out there, so no certainty yet, but if so I’d be well up for some of it. I probably won’t be able to make the whole tour though thanks to time + money limitations, and possibly needing to be in Christchurch between 18th - 28th Jan for work purposes.

I’m also liable to be a bit skint, would it be okay to just accompany you guys for a few days and pay towards the support vehicle + food, but sort out my own accommodation (bivvy probably). From looking at it, there’s a daily bus from Christchurch to either Hokitika or Arthur’s Pass, which is cheap as, which would mean I could meet you guys to do the last 3 or 4 days of the ride no problems.


The SINZ Unitour dates and itenerary has been finalised. The tour will start on Jan 20 and finish on Feb 6th. For details of the tour check out the website:

We will both be away during Unicon, but registrations will open on the 21 August. Let us know beforehand and we will email you a registration form and details.

Ken and Tony

If I do the tour I’m planning on doing in 2007, I won’t have the funds or vacation to do this. If that tour doesn’t work out for whatever reason, I’d love to do the SINZ.

And we’d love to have you again Mike. I’ll stick you on the mailing list.


Just an update on the SINZ Unitour. The route and dates (Jan 20- Feb 6) have been finalised and is available on the website.

Registrations start tomorrow. If you are not already on the list, let me know and I’ll stick you on there.

If you’re on the SINZ Unitour mailing list, I’ll email out what you need to do to register tomorrow.

Hope to see you in NZ this summer!


Just another quick update on the SINZ Unitour. Here are the riders confirmed for the tour:
Hans Fiby (Austria)
Monica Fiby (Austria)
Barry Clearwater (Australia)
Nick Clearwater (Australia)
James Amon (USA)
Sean Bennett (Australia)
Tony Melton (NZL)
Ken Looi (NZL)
Ken’s Mum (support?)

Check out the rider profiles on the riders page:

We still have room for several more riders if you are interested. Let me know before the cut-off dates below:

21 August- Registration begins, and will be open until all 12 slots are full.
21 October- Late fee of $100 applies. This will be donated to a local charity of your choice
1 December- remainder of SINZ tour fee due
Estimated cost is ~NZ$1000-1100.
Check out the SINZ website for more details.


Just a quick reminder that $100 late registration applies from 21 October. I’m also unlikely to accept further registrations after November.

Ken :slight_smile: