Storm the South Island may not be as grueling as Frodo and Sam’s epic journey to Mount Doom, but it probably covers just as much ground. The newest New Zealand mountain biking tour from Scottish outfitter H+I Adventures takes serious cyclists from the streets of Christchurch to the shores of Queenstown, covering a whopping 252 miles of rain forests, alpine pastures, deep valleys, misty mountains, glittering lakes, barren plains—literally every type of terrain you or J.R.R. Tolkien could dream up.
The 13-day tour is no joy ride—on Day 9, you’ll summit the 6,433-foot-high Mount Pisa—so you need to be in relatively good shape before starting out. But that’s not to say there isn’t some fun thrown in. Think hot springs soaks in Hanmer Forest Park, whale-watching off the coast of Kaikoura, hiking Mount Cook, and let’s not forget knocking back craft brews at local haunts come sundown—a duly earned reward no man or woman (nay, hobbit!) can pass up after a day on the road. First tour departs January 25, 2016; from $3,190.
Adventure Scale = ***
* Child’s play.
** You’ll break a sweat.
*** Heart-pumping happiness!
**** Adrenaline junkie, much?
***** Balls to the wall, envy inducing, nutso.