In addition to our events that happen regularly in a location near you, we also have a number of special events that happen annually. In many cases our clients from all over New Zealand are invited to apply to participate in these special opportunities. Read on for more information below.

Otago Rail Trail 2021Otago Rail Trail 2021: National Tandem Bike Event

When: Friday 12 March – Tuesday 16 March 2021

Blind Low Vision NZ welcomes blind and low vision adults from throughout New Zealand to participate in the 2021 Otago Rail Trail adventure. The aim of this programme is to provide an opportunity for members to extend their tandem biking experience, have fun in the outdoors and to enjoy the companionship of other blind and low vision adults from throughout New Zealand.

What is the Otago Rail Trail?

New Zealand’s first Rail Trail and Original Great Ride opened in 2000. It journeys through the heart of Otago distinctive landscape, big skies, with a wild and natural environment steeped in history and remoteness.

What is the Route?

The trail is 152 km long and follows the former route of the Otago Central Railway. We will begin cycling in Middlemarch and finish in Old Clyde. This is covered over 3 days, averaging 50 km per day.

How do I know if I am suitable for participating in this bike trail?

  • Are you 18 years or older?
  • Can you ride up to 4 plus hours in a day? (compact gravel trails, some sealed road, quietly undulating terrain) The longest day is approximately 55 kilometres.
  • Are you able to ride confidently with a daypack, and your own snacks, lunch, water and first aid supplies?
  • Do you enjoy the outdoors and a social group, staying back packer style shared accommodation?
  • Do you enjoy communal cooking and eating?
  • Keen to challenge yourself and encourage others?

How many will be on the trail event?

Places are available for up to 8 clients, with tandem pilots sighted guides (staff and volunteers), and support crew.

What is the cost?

The subsidised cost of this national event, is $200 per person. Payment options may be available, please discuss this with Erin Eyles directly.

What does the cost include?

  • 3 nights accommodation (shared backpackers style accommodation)
  • Tandem bike hire and pilot, and sighted guide
  • 2 x evening meals, 3 x basic lunches, 4 x basic breakfasts (if you have preferred breakfast foods, please bring, along with any snack foods)
  • Shared transport to and from Dunedin to Middlemarch
  • Contribution toward sighted guide volunteers costs – as without these wonderful people this trip would not be possible

What is excluded in the cost?

  • Dinner on arrival day in Dunedin (optional)
  • Dinner final night at a local Lauder area Hotel, Monday (pub meal planned, approximate cost $30)
  • Any additional accommodation in Dunedin or Christchurch before and after the trip
  • Travel costs to shared transport options.
  • Snacks, café, pub food, drinks and coffees, of your choice during the week

Whom is involved in the programme?

The crew will be a mix of Blind Low Vision NZ staff, sighted guide volunteer guides, volunteer tandem bike pilots and van support.

What are the Transport arrangements?

You are responsible for your own travel arrangements to Dunedin, though there will be some shared transport available travelling from Christchurch to Dunedin on Friday. All participants will need to be present and ready to go from the Blind Low Vision NZ building in Dunedin by 8.30am on Saturday. It may be possible for shared rides from Dunedin airport so please discuss travel details with Erin Eyles (Christchurch) or your local Recreation Advisor/Recreation & Volunteer Coordinator.

Is there a selection process?

Yes. A selection process will be undertaken based on the eligibility criteria outlined above. An application form will need to be completed and returned by Friday 12th February latest.

When do I need to pay for the trip?

Payment will be required upon acceptance of position and no later than Friday 26th February 2021. Places on this programme will be confirmed by Friday 19th February. Payment advice will follow placement confirmation.

Postponement: This event runs wet or fine. We have programmed the ORT during autumn, for best likelihood of settled weather. Due to accommodation and support team needs, we do not have any postponement options.

Cancellation and Refunds: If due to any unforeseen circumstances, such as COVID alert levels and the nature of this event do not allow it to take place, we will cancel and refund the $200 cost per person. Note, with respect to your own travel arrangements, these will remain your responsibility.

So what do I do now?

Get biking! To discuss or for further information and if you would like an application pack, please contact your local Recreation Advisor or Recreation & Volunteer Coordinator.

Or Direct Programme Lead: Erin Eyles, Community & Recreation Advisor (Christchurch), phone 03 375 4318, email

Application form (print).doc

Application form (electronic).doc

Applications will close Friday 12th February 2021

Let’s Talk

We’d love to catch up over a cuppa, a bite to eat and have a chat. Join us for a Let’s Talk event – coming to a town near you.

The Let’s Talk meetings, previously known as Engagement Road Shows, are held annually and provide an opportunity for an informal chat with some of the Blind Low Vision NZ decision-makers.

Board Chair, Rick Hoskin, members of the Board, Chief Executive John Mulka, members of the leadership team and staff members will be there and they are looking forward to catching up with our clients, their supporters, our volunteers and anyone else who is interested.

The meetings are a chance for conversations about the services that Blind Low Vision NZ offers, the developments being undertaking, what the future holds and, at the same time, hearing from those attending about what is important for them.

Let’s Talk locations for October 2020:

Trail Walking – Multi Day Experience

This is an opportunity for those who enjoy the outdoors, but may have never been out of the urban environment. A multi day (1-2 nights) experience, it includes a variety of trails and tracks in uniquely New Zealand locations within your region. Stay in shared accommodation with all your creature comforts, heading out every day to explore a different trail along with other activities of interest in the local area.

These events occur in regional groups every 1-2 years, depending on demand.

Tramping 101 – The Full Experience

Be supported to participate in a 3-4 day tramp, experiencing the great outdoors and all it has to offer. This experience includes carrying a full tramping pack, staying in hut accommodation, cooking on gas stoves, teamwork, track navigation and much more. Clients are supported by staff and volunteers with provision of guiding support as needed, knowledge of track and safety considerations, organisation of accommodation and food, along with an insight into the history and natural environment.

This event occurs once every two years.

Introduction to Tandem Cycling

Locally run Tandem Bike Have A Go sessions occur throughout the summer months. This provides an opportunity to get on a tandem bike for the first time, learn the communication and teamwork required between pilot and stoker, and get connected up with local volunteers who can support you on a regular basis to get out on a bike. Blind Low Vision NZ also has some Tandem Bikes available for hire.

For more information call us on 0800 24 33 33 or email:

Tandem Cycling – Multi Day Experience

This is for keen cyclists to challenge themselves on a multi-day tandem bike trip, ride up to 50km a day, experience some of the awesome New Zealand bike trails, spend time with other like-minded cycling enthusiasts, staff and volunteers, stay in shared accommodation and put your bike fitness to the test.

This event occurs once every 2 years.

My First Camp – Children’s Winter Camp

Winter Camp offers a unique experience for students aged 8 to 12. You will have the opportunity to experience the snow (weather permitting), make new friends and have a go at new activities. Winter Camp is designed for young students who have not been on a camp with Blind Low Vision NZ before. This is a great opportunity for students to gain independence with daily living and confidence in a supported and encouraging environment.

It offers the opportunity to participate in various activities, which may include:

  • Fun in the Snow.
  • Visiting top attractions in and around Taupo.
  • Evening activities/games.
  • Camp fire and talent show.

Who can attend?

  • Blind and Low Vision 8 to 12 year-old members, who have not experienced a camp run by Blind Low Vision NZ before.
  • Individuals who have some independence with self-care and are able to follow verbal instructions.

If your child or student does not meet the above criteria, we do welcome those with additional needs/medical conditions alongside a parent or caregiver.

Next Camp: Winter 2021