Given its remote setting in New Zealand’s Southern Alps, it is no wonder that helicopters are an ordinary means of transport at the 65,000-acre Minaret Station resort. Given its proximity to some of New Zealand’s most varied and beautiful natural wonders, the resort was the obvious choice to host London-based travel outfitter Black Tomato’s Heli-Biking New Zealand itinerary ($9,344 per person for seven nights, all-inclusive), which promises to take guests on some truly memorable, wild rides.
Long before clients arrive in New Zealand, Black Tomato books fitness consultations to identify and address any weaknesses they may have; schedules altitude training classes; and orders bike seats molded to each rider’s body and proper riding position. The company also can recommend expert cyclists to facilitate training runs at local BMX parks before the trip.
Once in New Zealand, guests spend two nights acclimating to the South Island in the lakeside resort town of Queenstown before taking on the backcountry for five nights at the fly-in-only Minaret Station homestead. Each morning, a cycling guide and helicopter meet guests after breakfast at Minaret to review the day’s plan. One day might focus on exploring glaciers and meadows in Mount Aspiring National Park and another on the history of New Zealand’s gold rush while riding on the Otago Central Rail Trail. In the Remarkables mountain range, helicopters can drop off bikers at elevations of about 7,545 feet where they may choose to cap the ride with an overnight in a private hut in the midst of the mountain wilderness. Another excursion starts riders off at the summit of Mount Burke where they can take in stunning views of two pristine lakes before riding down to the shores of Lake Wanaka to enjoy a gourmet picnic. Another experience to mark off of your bucket list—just don’t forget your helmet. (blacktomato.com)