The 256km of the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail, from Tekapo to Ōamaru, can be tackled no matter the season... just make sure you wear your waterproofs.
People asked if I was crazy when I told them I was headed to the South Island to ride the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail. It was June and the weather was packing up all over the place. A fortnight prior to departure, Twizel, one of our waypoints, recorded a nippy -8C and just one week out, Ashburton was hit by some of the worst flooding on record. But cyclists are optimists by nature - you have to be to pedal in Auckland – so, when I finally set off, I resolved to accept the weather, whatever it was.
Here's why you don't need to wait for good weather to tackle the ride yourself....
They look at me like I’m crazy, clueless or a particularly ill-fated combination of both.
“You’ve chosen New Zealand’s longest continuous cycle trail for your first multi-day bike ride?,” they ask. “And you’re not doing it on an e-bike like the rest of us?”.
The truth is I chose the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail, which stretches for more than 300 kilometres between the Southern Alps and Oamaru, because it is often touted as one of the most scenic multi-day bike rides in the country. Lonely Planet describes it as “one of the best Great Rides within the New Zealand Cycle Trail” offering “epic vistas” all the way.
In addition to New Zealand’s highest mountain, riders are treated to glass-clear glacial lakes, braided rivers, basins of golden tussock, bizarre fossilised rock formations, cute country towns and the boutique vineyards of one of New Zealand’s newest wine regions. I’m willing to overexert myself to experience it, but I have done my research....
"I’m experiencing levels of excitement I’ve struggled to reach since I was six."
"This is scenery people pay a fortune to cross the globe for."
In the same way the Otago Central Rail Trail revitalised rural Otago, the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail is becoming a beacon of hope for the Waitaki district, writes Kayla Hodge.
Since international tourism came to a grinding halt last year, there has been one shining star in a bleak sky — cycling.
Cycle tourism has been booming in Waitaki, as domestic tourists dusted off their bikes and put their foot down to try out the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail, which has recorded its biggest season yet...
The horses trekked across the Otago goldfields and the cyclists pedalled.
The high country ahead was a long stretch, rugged, and beautiful.
Early in March, the Goldfields Cavalcade transported horse riders, walkers, runners, and 51 cyclists back to the days of damper and mutton for lunch, saloons, and gold pans slung over luggage.
Otago Community Trust have approved funding of $177,297 to the Friends of Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail. These funds will be used to construct the long awaited clip-on bridge for Awahokomo Stream and to provide a permanent toilet on the new section of trail between Sailors Cutting and Benmore Dam.
This funding will improve safety and complete the task of taking the trail off SH83 as well as make the ride more enjoyable. Adair Craik from the Friends of Alps 2 Ocean said, "We are so pleased to have reached this milestone and wish to thank Otago Community Trust and all our funders. The new section of trail has proven very popular since it opened and we continue to receive fantastic comments about this section with domestic tourism continuing to make a significant contribution to our local communities. Many businesses along the trail have benefitted economically, in what would have been a difficult trading period due to Covid 19.
Jump on a bike for health, happiness and an adventurous way to explore our own backyard. Here are some cycle trails for both beginners and experts.on 2 March 2021 read more
The Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail is a 300km, mostly-off-road, cycling route which travels from the slopes of our highest mountain, Aoraki/Mount Cook, right down to the Pacific Ocean at Ōamaru.
It passes through myriad dramatic landscapes, traverses a few of the most iconic southern locations and calls into some of the finest gems our country has to offer – where the people are also a real highlight.
As the seasons switched from winter to spring, we headed south for this journey, but the grip of winter hadn’t left yet.
Ōhau – the adventure around Ōhau Weir was fun and flowy; the trail hugs the shores of Lake Ōhau. The views are splendid – the Ben Ōhau range soars high out of the lake and Aoraki/Mt Cook stands sentry in the distance, watching over the northern end of the lake. The mountains had a fresh dusting of snow on them, which reminded us that we were at the mercy of whatever weather they could throw at us.
Lake Ōhau Lodge has a ton of old school vibe. We rolled in during the late afternoon, and there were skis, cars and people everywhere; music blaring. This is the base for Ōhau’s boutique ski field, and is an idyllic location with the mountain behind it and Lake Ōhau out the front...
You can discover the Mackenzie Basin and Waitaki Valley in the Canterbury and Otago regions in depth on the Alps 2 Ocean, or A2O, Cycle Trail.
Taking riders from the Southern Alps to the Pacific Ocean, it’s a scenic, predominantly off-road trail of between 301 and 325 kilometres. Along the way, you’ll find quaint townships, great swimming spots, walking tracks and learn local history.
The Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail is a 300km, mostly-off-road, cycling route which travels from the slopes of our highest mountain, Aoraki/Mount Cook, right down to the Pacific Ocean at Ōamaru. It passes through myriad dramatic landscapes, traverses a few of the most iconic southern locations and calls into some of the finest gems our country has to offer – where the people are also a real highlight. As the seasons switched from winter to spring, we headed south for this journey, but the grip of winter hadn’t left yet.on 20 January 2021 read more
A new $1.2 million section of the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail has proved a hit with holidaymakers as they discover rarely seen South Island scenery.
The 16-kilometre section from Sailors Cutting to the top of the Benmore Dam in the Waitaki Lakes region follows the Ahuriri arm of Lake Benmore serving up sights that users have raved about since it opened on December 18.
“I loved seeing all the little islands in the lake ... It’s going to be an absolute must-do for sure, not just in New Zealand, it’s a world-class bike ride.”
"I would definitely highly recommend it. The scenery was amazing, there was the odd boat on the lake, no traffic noise, the views were pretty cool and it makes you realise just how lucky we are to be able to do that sort of thing."