A new off-road section of the Alps 2 Ocean cycle trail will provide access to areas most people have only been able to get to by boat before.
Construction of the new 16km section from Sailors Cutting to Benmore dam started this week. It would become one of the “more spectacular” parts of the trail, Waitaki District Council recreation manager Erik van der Spek said.
At present, the trail follows State Highway 83 from Sailors Cutting to Otematata. Construction of the new off-road section was part of a larger project to take all of the Alps 2 Ocean cycle trail off SH83 through the Waitaki Valley.
“Instead of going on to the road from [Sailors Cutting], you’ll go through the camp, out the other side and keep on following the lake shore around,” Mr van der Spek said.
Eleanor Hughes sees the sights along the Alps to Ocean Cycle Trail from Lake Ohau to Otematata.
When we rode around Lake Ohau yesterday, whitecaps whipped across its surface. This morning, it lies placidly and turquoise.
Day three of my Alps to Ocean Cycle Trail adventure has dawned with blue skies and it is already warm as we set off down Lake Ohau Lodge’s pine tree-lined driveway just after 9am.
The Tarnbrae Track rises slowly, giving views over the lake and Ben Ohau Range, tinged green, brown and yellow with a splatter of bright, white snow in its high valleys. After the first hour or so the rough shingle track narrows, twists and begins to climb. Thigh muscles burn, teeth grit, sweat pours. It’s a tortuous 5km to Tarnbrae Highpoint, marked with a sign that announces the elevation is 900m. Spread out below is the still world of a parched fawn-coloured basin and distant rolling, green hills.
My riding companions finally appear over the hill. They’ve taken breaks on the way up, stopping to fill drink bottles from the many dribbling, cool streams that cross the track....
A book by an international tourism consultant has named a 300-kilometre long cycle trail that starts in South Canterbury as one of the top 50 destinations in the world.
Professor Terry Stevens enthuses about the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail in the book, Wish You Were Here, saying it has succeeded in its goal to be ''the jewel in the crown of New Zealand’s great rides that provides riders with an Alps to Ocean cycle experience that is second to none."
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It has showcased the Waitaki district’s best scenery and hospitality to people from all over the world, catered for the elite athlete to the bucket-lister and, backed by a range of sponsors, donated thousands of dollars to the community.
Those were Sandri’s goals from the outset and, while he admitted there were some tears at the third and last Alps 2 Ocean Ultra prizegiving on Saturday, he felt a great sense of satisfaction.
Omarama lambs were offered to residents in the United States city of Boston, but politely refused.
The unusual situation unfolded during the annual lamb sale in Omarama last Thursday. The huge number of animals, people, and vehicles at the saleyards next to State Highway 83 and the Alps 2 Ocean cycle trail aroused the curiosity of passing cyclists.
Dressed in lycra shorts, fluoro vests, and bike helmets, the cyclists stood out from the rest of the crowd. [Photo]
Was that Joanna Lumley gliding past me on the Alps 2 Ocean bike ride across Godzone country? Cream mini-skirt, jewellery glinting, sheepskin saddle. Who else could look so elegant and make a 301km bike ride seem so effortless?
Sweating and grunting, I made my way up 11km of rugged ascent to the top of Tarnbrae Pass. There, I caught up with Ms Lumley’s Kiwi doppelgänger Vivienne, a golf-ace midwife in her sixties. Then I spied it: the huge battery powering her bike.
Holy cycling sacrilege! An e-bike imposter on a proper bike adventure. Sacre bleu!
Welcome to the world of bike touring in 2019, where e-bikes meet lycra. Today, anyone with a moderate level of fitness and distant memories of cycling to school can tackle most of Ngā Haerenga, the 2500km Cycle Trail, albeit with power-assist (muscle optional).
It was sold in 1974 to the Albistons, who recently sold it to Marcus and Cathy Holgate.
"We bought it as our private home," Mr Albiston said.
"Essentially, we knew it was too big in one sense, but we raised our family here and lived here until 1987. Then we were away for six years in Auckland and we had friends and associates who lived here.
"We didn’t really use it for bed and breakfast until the mid-1990s. From then, it was a very low-key bed and breakfast until the Alps 2 Ocean [cycle trail] started in really 2011 onwards. It’s been an almost full-time occupation since."
The decision to buy the property was driven by the couple’s love for heritage, and they saw it as the perfect opportunity to share that heritage with people not only from North Otago, but other parts of New Zealand and around the world.
As with many older properties, there was work to be done to keep it up to scratch.
The couple had done just that, Mrs Albiston said.
"Initially, we lived in it as it was, but we have done quite a lot of restoration. We haven’t wanted to change anything — we have just redecorated. We’ve gone room by room and we’ve been doing that for 45 years, really, to keep it as original as we could."
Over the years, they have hosted countless community, senior, heritage and church groups, as well as other activities such as car rallies and musical performances.
On Saturday afternoon, a group of about 300 cyclists joined members of the committee to celebrate another milestone for the trail, which stretches from Aoraki/Mt Cook to Oamaru Harbour — the official opening of the off-road section from Aviemore Dam to Kurow.on 10 February 2020 read more
Established on the western edge of Lake Ohau in the Mackenzie Basin in 1951, Ohau Lodge is most often associated with the ski area that stretches up the mountain behind it.
The lounge welcomes guests with a large fireplace, while outside hot pools offer panoramic mountain views.
The couple [Mike and Louise Neilson] have been proactive in local committees and development projects, not least of all the Alps2Ocean joint committee, of which Mike is chairman.
"The section around the bottom of the lake from Twizel to the lodge meanders around the edge of the lake taking in wee bays, always under the powerful shadow of Ben Ohau," Neilson said.
"The next day the hill climb over to Omarama is quite stunning. The views are expansive and if you look back you see all the way up the Hopkins Valley to Aoraki Mt Cook and looking east you can see much of the Mackenzie Basin and Lake Benmore."
The section of the trail was opened in 2013 and now brings both independent cyclists and tour bookings to the lodge.