Be prepared

The entire trail is now 100% signposted and rideable. Several sections are open, while other sections are still under construction with temporary routes in place. Out of the total 301km, 24km are temporarily on the highway (Sailors Cutting to Otematata 11km, Aviemore Dam to Kurow 13km).

Many cyclists have already ridden the entire 301km trail and enjoyed the trail in its current state. Wearing a high-visibility vest is recommended, particularly for the 24km highway sections. Work is progressing to get as much of the trail onto off-road sections as quickly as possible.
Almost anyone with a moderate level of fitness can ride the trail. Some sections are easy, while others are intermediate. This is not a flat trail - you will encounter a variety of inclines, declines, and ever-changing trail surfaces. Please look at the maps and study the trail surface photos/gradients. This will help you gain an understanding of what lies ahead on the trail. Most of the sections are between 30-50km. If a person rode at an average of 10km per hour, this is 3-5 hours out of the day. Spread it out and take it easy, or go fast and do 2 sections per day - the choice is yours. It is recommended that you practice cycling some distances before embarking on the Alps 2 Ocean.

The Alps 2 Ocean encompasses a wide variety of trail surfaces. While the smooth off-road portions shouldn't present a problem, it is recommended that you have some prior experience with cycling on loose gravel and alongside vehicles on the highway. The gradient is overall relatively easy to handle, although there are a few uphill/downhill portions.
The A2O is free to ride. However, if you have enjoyed your experience and would like to make a donation for the ongoing maintenance and construction that would be much appreciated. Every little bit helps! Donate here.
A mountain bike is probably best suited for the variety of trail surfaces you'll encounter on the Alps 2 Ocean. However, a touring or hybrid bike will also handle the trail. One recommendation is to have your road/hybrid tyres changes to a tyre with more tread and grip.

The A2O has been successfully ridden by all types of bikes: road, hybrid, tandem, recumbent, touring, single speed, folding bikes with 20" tyres, even penny farthings.

If you are not riding a mountain bike please be aware you may need to walk your bike past some rough sections.
Yes and no. To cycle the full trail, a helicopter is the only way across the Tasman River. Prices start from $125 per person, minimum of 2 people.

However, there are many options for alternate starting points. The Tekapo B power station near the bottom of Lake Pukaki is a popular alternate starting point that skips the helicopter crossing. You can also start at Lake Tekapo, and cycle the Tekapo Canal Road until you reach the shores of Lake Pukaki, where you join the proper Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail.

For helicopter pricing and details, contact:

Mt Cook Ski Planes and Helicopters (Inflite Experiences) 0800 80 07 02
(Alps 2 Ocean Trail Guardian)
[Mt Cook Airport]

Heliworks 0800 66 66 68
[Mt Cook Airport]

Helicopter Line 0800 650 651
[Glentanner Park Centre]
Summer and autumn are nice times to ride. Spring can also be pleasant, although there is sometimes rain and wind around that time of the year.

March and April are generally cooler than the summer months, plus there are autumnal colours in certain sections. You may encounter snow on the trail during the winter months.

Several parts of the trail are in alpine environments, where the weather can turn cold (even in summer). Please bring gloves, extra socks, warm hat, and a jacket.
It is advised to ride from West to East (Aoraki/Mt Cook to Oamaru). This is for several reasons: it's generally downhill (but still encompassing some uphill), and the prevailing wind should be behind you.
There are several ways you can arrange this. You can book a supported tour through one of the tour companies. They will drop off luggage, drive you to various points, and be there to make sure everything is going well.

Another option is to find a friend or family member who is keen on the idea of a holiday, but doesn't want to cycle. They can drive a van and trailer instead of cycling. Fishing, reading a book, preparing lunch, napping in the shade - there are many ways to spend the time. More info is available on the transport page.
Yes. The locations of these are shown on the maps. They should be stocked with toilet paper, but it may be safe to bring your own as well.
No. Horses can damage the trail surface, and having a mix of horses & cyclists on the trail can be problematic.
See our Instagram photos #Alps2Ocean
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