A week like no other - the SBS Bank Tour of Southland - It’s the ultimate itinerary.
The SBS Bank Tour of Southland showcases the region from the windswept beauty of the south coast, through pristine native forest valleys, to the old-world, rustic charm of the rural countryside.
The Tour has a storied history dating back more than 60 years and has grown into one of New Zealand’s largest, toughest and most prestigious cycling events.
More than 100 riders from about 18 teams compete over 800km during seven action-packed days that catch the imagination of locals and visitors alike.
Invercargill’s picturesque Queens Park is the setting for the prologue time-trial - but the riders don’t have time to take in the sights as they belt around the 4km course in a shade under five minutes.
Discover and marvel at the cat-and-mouse contests as worker bee riders crank out the kilometres to protect and help their team leader prosper. While many eyes are on the famed Yellow Jersey, you’ll be captivated with the contests for Sprint Ace, King of the Mountains, Under-23, Teams and Masters.
The rubber really hits the road as riders stream out into the sublime scenery of the region’s endlessly contrasting landscapes. Southland’s natural and man-made heritage is on full show as riders fly past architectural gems and rolling hills dotted with sheep, cows and legions of adoring fans.
Who needs the Tour de France when you can meander around Southland’s charming countryside and towns taking in the tour’s highlights.
School kids and fans line the streets of towns dotted around the region - waving flags and banners, riders high-fiving them as they cruise through.
Seasoned pros battle up-and-coming young riders looking to knock them off their perch. There’s safety in numbers. And individual bravery.
The deceptively benign peloton masks the tactical intrigue bubbling within as riders mull breakaways and keep tabs on their most feared opponents.
Explore roads less known through quaint localities, arriving in time to catch riders busting a gut to get across the line a millisecond ahead of their rivals in Te Anau.
The peloton snakes its way round the appropriately named Devil’s Staircase - with the jagged ridges of the Remarkables looming on one side and the deep blue waters of Lake Wakatipu on the other. Get roadside as riders climb towards the clouds to a mountain peak finish, with riders’ legs and lungs aching as the leading pack narrows.
There’s crowds in fancy dress in one town - a rousing haka challenge in another.
Beautiful tree-lined avenues usher the riders into the heart of Gore’s picture perfect main street.
Feel the tension as riders push monster gears, reaching speeds in excess of 65kmh during the penultimate time-trial stage around Winton, trying to leap-frog up the field. There’s no procession to the finish line - it’s full-on racing right down to the finish line tape.
Riders whizz past in a blur of colours as crowds line the wide streets around Invercargill’s gorgeous centrepiece park to get the first glimpse of who might take line honours in this most prestigious of races.
While you are here, take the time to retrace the trail and experience why this competitive ride is one of the best in the country. Experience the rustic charm of Western Southland, the scenic landscape of Northern Southland’s glacial valleys or the impressive views of Foveaux Strait and Stewart Island in Bluff.
Come live the Tour with us. You’ll love it.