Trail Status

This page was last updated on the 15/7/2021. 

UPDATE 17/5/2021 - Winter conditions are here!  That means that you need to pay extra attention to the weather forecasts and dress and ride to the conditions.  Much of the Trail is over 500m above sea level and the alpine location means that a sudden change to snow / wind / rain / hail and sleet are all possible, sometimes with little or no warning.  Make sure you wear / take with you, lots of layers including a warm hat, gloves and woolly socks to protect the extremities and high energy food to refuel, as well as wet weather gear, should conditions turn for the worse.

Freezing mud is an additional hazard as this can build up and result in broken deraliers or chain.  This can happen anywhere on the Trail in frosty conditions, however Pukaki Flats (Section 2) and Tarnbrae (Section 4) are possibly the worst for this.  

Section 4 - Tarnbrae section - this is the highest point on the Trail at 900m above seas level and also one of the most remote from road access (and emergency help).  This section remains open but it is not recommended that this section be ridden through winter (for all the reasons mentioned above).  Taking a PLB is recommended, as is being fully equipped for poor weather and equipment failure.  Please do not ride alone and also make sure you make use of the intentions form found at www.adventuresmart.org.nz/outdoors-intentions-form  

UPDATE 2/6/2021 - SECTION 8 - DUNTROON TO OAMARU -  CARE REQUIRED to negotiate this section due to slips and wash outs as a result of heavy rain - emergency repairs have been completed with further work required to bring this section back up to spec., further information in Section 8 below..

 

There has been no change in Trail issues (that we are aware of) since this was last updated.

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Important Update : The Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail is at COVID-19 Level 1 restrictions

The Governments Guidelines at Alert Level 1 allow everyone to return without restriction to work, school, sports and domestic travel, and there are no restrictions on the size of group gatherings.

As we unite to recover from the effects of COVID-19, it's still important that we keep the basic hygiene measures, including washing your hands and coughing or sneezing into your elbow. 

We should all continue to keep track of where we’ve been and who we’ve seen to assist with rapid contact tracing if it is required.

Remember to follow the government’s recommended hygiene guidelines... https://covid19.govt.nz/.

Here are some tips to help you protect yourself and others:

The Golden Rules for everyone at Alert Level 1

  • If you’re sick, stay home. Don’t go to work or school. Don’t socialise.
  • Don’t use any trails if you have symptoms (e.g. fever, coughing, shortness of breath etc). Please stay at home!
  • If you have cold or flu symptoms call your doctor or Healthline and make sure you get tested.
  • Wash your hands. Wash your hands. Wash your hands.
  • Sneeze and cough into your elbow, and regularly disinfect shared surfaces.
  • If you are told by health authorities to self-isolate you must do so immediately.
  • If you’re concerned about your wellbeing or have underlying health conditions, work with your GP to understand how best to stay healthy.
  • Keep track of where you’ve been and who you’ve seen to help contact tracing if needed. Use the NZ COVID Tracer app as a handy way of doing this.
  • Businesses are required to help people keep track of their movements by displaying the Ministry of Health QR Code and a form to complete as an alternative to the tracer app - please continue to use either means to record your visit
  • Stay vigilant. There is still a global pandemic going on. People and businesses should be prepared to act fast to step up Alert Levels if we have to.
  • People will have had different experiences over the last couple of months. Whatever you’re feeling — it’s okay. 

Be calm, be kind and be courteous and thanks for doing your part in getting use here.

Most of all, please enjoy the Trail being fully available once again...

Finally, in these troubling and confusing times, as we watch a worldwide pandemic unfold, more than ever, it is important to reach out to friends and family if you are feeling down or depressed and to find a safe and supportive environment. Please find here a useful guide about improving mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic and understanding all aspects of dealing with the stress of the lockdown and bereavement.

Kia Kaha, take care.

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Before you head out onto the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail at any time please click HERE to read or download your copy of the Trail's Safety Suggestions for each section.  Please prepare for the conditions and weather before you set out and take some water with you  At any time and the weather can change quickly, please take something warm and a separate waterproof layer just in case.

Should you discover any issues along the Trail (other than those listed below) or should you see a potential hazard please let us know about it.... 

Please report any events or Trail issues to: 021 196 0127 or CONTACT US BY EMAIL

ENJOY YOUR TRAIL TIME!!!

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Trail Status Summary

To help get a overview of what is happening on the trail we have given a brief update on each section of the trail here.  Please check back regularly for any updates...  

Section 1: Aoraki / Mt Cook to Braemar Road

  1. UPDATE 2/6/2021 - Section 1.   Parts of this Trail between the Rotten Tommy helicpoter drop off point and Jollie Carpark have been under water or had streams washing through, so extra care is required to negotiate the water courses and alluvial fans, as these can be rough and rocky.  If in any doubt, dismount and walk through the affected areas.
     
  2. The toilets at the White Horse camping ground and at Mt. Cook Station Rd are open.  The toilets at the Mt. Cook Airport will be open during operational hours.
     
  3. Logging operations are in progress on this and Section 2 until further notice.  Many very large logging trucks are using Hayman and  Braemar Road each day.  They have been very courteous to cyclists, which is very much appreciated, give them a wave of thanks.

Section 2: Braemar Road to Twizel

  1. UPDATE 8/7/2021 - tree chipping and slash clean up operations are due to commence at the Pines Camp and Hayman Rd areas next week 12/7 for the next 2-3 weeks.  Some of this work is in the area of theTrail and will necessitate on site traffic management to ensure Trail user safety.  Please follow all instructions given - minimal delays to your journey may be required - please be safe and be seen to the operators in these areas.

  2. Logging operations are in progress on this and Section 1 until further notice.   You may notice the black and white Km markers on the road side - the logging trucks are using these to let each other know of any cyclists they encounter.

  3. Caution Required - as on many parts of the Trail, your route includes time spent on or crossing quiet country tracks and shingle roads.  It is easy to allow your attention to wander and marvel at the great scenery, however don't forget to pay due attention to the road surface in front of you and be prepared for the odd bump, pot hole or section of loose gravel.  The inappropriate reaction and application of brakes can turn a seemingly innocent surface into the wrong kind of holiday story of scrapes and bruises.  

 
‚ÄčSection 3: Twizel to Lake Ohau Lodge

  1. The Alps to Ocean Cycle Trail from Twizel to Lake Ohau and on to Omarama is open.

    Please stick to the roads and Trail and avoid venturing on to private property, particularly in the devastated Ohau Village.  The locals are understandably upset with unsolicited and unwarranted incursions on to their property's, with security camera footage showing cyclists walking through sections and over private land. 

    The devastation caused by the fire and the loss of personal property (and the many memories that go with them) still weigh heavily on those affected.  Please show respect and keep your curiosity firmly planted on the public roads and curbsides. 

    For those that wish to make a contribution to help those affected by the Ohau fire and others that may find themselves in a similar situation in the future, donations to the Waitaki District Council mayoral relief fund can still be paid into the following
    bank account: 02 0940 0156400 000 (please include in the bank reference: Ohau).


    Obviously, the area surrounding the Trail has been burnt as a result of the devastating fire that occured in October 2020 which damaged Trail signage.  Waterways were also affected by the fire and cyclists are advised to carry plenty of water and not to drink from the streams.

  2. If you wish to check on the Lake Ohau Weir status and lake levels you can visit the Meridian Energy website (www.meridianenergy.co.nz/about-us/our-power-stations/lake-levels) - you will need to refer to the lake level indicated in the top right corner of the graph for Lake Ohau.  The the information in the body of the text does not change.   Levels above 520.4m result in water discharging over the outlet weir and into the Upper Ohau River. 

  3. Lake Ohau Lodge (03 438 9885).  Due to staff shortages, lunches will not be available every day.
    Until further notice the Lake Ohau Lodge is closed for lunch with he bar penning from 4pm, when snacks including nachos and toasties etc. will be available.  There are no alternative food outlets on this and the next section between Twizel and Omarama - please carry the appropriate provisions or time your travel accordingly.  Lake Ohau Lodge would like to apologies in advance for any inconvenience that this may cause.

Section 4: Lake Ohau Lodge to Omarama 

  1. Lake Ohau Lodge to the Historic Woolshed - CAUTION ADVISED -  changeable weather patterns in alpine conditions mean that conditions can change quickly. Given the altitude (it is the highest part of the A2O at 900m above sea level at the top), it is advised to pay particular attention to the weather conditions and reports when organising your outing.  The alpine location means that a sudden change to snow / wind / rain / hail and sleet are all possible, sometimes with little or no warning, so if you choose to ride this section, layer up, take wet weather gear and high energy food as a precaution.  At some points on this section you can be more than 5km from the nearest road should you have an accident or breakage - consider bringing or hiring a PLB (Personal Locator Beacon), hire points include Lake Ohau Lodge and from the Cycle Journeys in Twizel.

  2.  This section remains open but it is not recommended that this section be ridden in winter (for all the reasons mentioned above).  Taking a PLB is recommended, as is being fully equipped for poor weather and equipment failure.  Please do not ride alone and also make sure you make use of the intentions form found at www.adventuresmart.org.nz/outdoors-intentions-form 

    Freezing mud is an additional hazard as this can build up on deraliers and result in broken deraliers or chain.  This can happen anywhere on the Trail in frosty conditions, however  Tarnbrae (Section 4) is possibly the worst for this as part of this Trail receives very little sunshine.

  3. Obviously, the area surrounding the Trail has been burnt and will have associated ash and other debris. Waterways will have been affected by the fire and cyclists are advised to carry plenty of water and not to drink from the streams.

  4. Lake Ohau Lodge (03 438 9885). Due to staff shortages, lunches will not be available every day.
    Until further notice the Lake Ohau Lodge is closed for lunch with the bar opening from 4pm, when snacks including nachos and toasties etc. will be available. There are no alternative food outlets on this and the previous section between Twizel and Omarama - please carry the appropriate provisions or time your travel accordingly.  Lake Ohau Lodge would like to apologies in advance for any inconvenience that this may cause. 

  5. The toilets at Quailburn and Ahuriri camping grounds are both open

  6. Quailburn Road CAUTION - about 14km of this road is a gravel surface. Please take care and watch your speed, the gravel can be very loose in places and requires additional care especially while breaking and cornering.  We have had recent reports of riders falling off at speed on the gravel road - being clipped in may also have been a contributing factor in some cases.

Section 5Omarama to Otematata

  1. Advanced Notice - Road closures anticipated at Benmore and Aviemore Dams for scheduled maintenance works

    Note we have road closures planned for Aviemore (25th & 26th September) and for Benmore (9th October) with additional dates for Benmore at the end of October / early November to be confirmed to the time.  Thank you for your understanding and compliance.  We will endeavour to complete the head gate works as soon as possible but at this time we are estimating 6-8 hours for the works. 
     
  2. The toilets located along the Trail at Pumpkin Point and in the new section between Sailors Cutting and Benmore Dam are open year round, as are the public toilets in the Omarama town centre and Otematata township (beside One Stop), with the toilets operated by Meridian at the picnic area at the bottom of Benmore Dam, also open all year round.  The toilets in the Waitaki (including the Sailors Cutting campground) and Waimate comping grounds are closed from the 2nd May till the end of September 2021.
     
  3. The new section from Sailors Cutting to Benmore Dam is now open to the public which means that there is no longer a requirement to ride on SH83 over the Otematata Saddle from Sailors Cutting.  This new 16km purpose built off-road cycle Trail is mix of Grade 2 (Easy) and some narrower and steeper Grade 3 (Intermediate) parts.  The scenery this new Trail opens up is amazing, so if you are a little nervous of heights, your riding ability or fitness, leave plenty of time to take it slowly and be prepared to walk any part you are not comfortable riding.  Take a supply of water and snacks - you need to be self sufficient - phone coverage is limited so you may also consider taking a PLB with your party.  As mentioned previously there is a toilet on this new section at about the 10km mark from Sailors Cutting towards Benmore Dam.  

Section 6: Otematata to Kurow

  1. Advanced Notice - Road closures anticipated at Benmore and Aviemore Dams for scheduled maintenance works
     
    Note we have road closures planned for Aviemore (25th & 26th September) and for Benmore (9th October) with additional dates for Benmore at the end of October / early November to be confirmed to the time.  Thank you for your understanding and compliance.  We will endeavour to complete the head gate works as soon as possible but at this time we are estimating 6-8 hours for the works.  

  2. The public toilets in Otematata township (beside One Stop) and the toilets operated by Meridian at the picnic area at the bottom of Benmore Dam are open all year round.  The toilets in the Waitaki and Waimate comping grounds are closed from the 2nd May till the end of September 2021.

Section 7Kurow to Duntroon   

  1. UPDATE 3/6/2021 - Section 7 - The Treee Rivers section between Kurow and Duntroon is OPEN 
    There is scoured river crossings, The fords are all still with some water flowing but all passable on this section as of 3/6/2021 - so a higher level of riding skill, car and attention will be required, or if in any doubt, please walk the softer, rockier or more difficult parts - you may need to get wet feet though the fords in the process. Photos of the three ford crossings as at th 3/6/2021 [Kurow Creek / Otiake River / Otekaieke River]  are included here as reference - subsequent rains may well change the 'lay of the land' for future passage, so rider discretion and care is always required. 

     

  2. As always travel responsibly - inform others of you intentions and schedule... 

  3. The public toilets in Kurow and Duntroon are both open.

  4. General Note:- For the Kurow Creek, Otiake and Otekaieke Rivers -  moderate rain events cause the rivers to rise quickly (and then recede).  Both the Otiake and Otekaieke River crossings have an alternate flood route on their norther side to get you out to the main road - please take this option if you have any element of doubt as to your ability to make a safe river crossing.   The Otekaieke River flood route requires lifting you bike over several electric fences, however this is still safer than attempting a flooded river crossing.

  5. Please Note:- The river beds are rocky/shingly and soft going in places (even if they are dry) so please use you judgment and dismount if you are unsure of what lays in front of you.  We have many reports of people taking a (soft) tumble when they hit a patch of river bed sand.

Section 8: Duntroon to Oamaru

  1. UPDATE 2/5/2021 - 'Take Care' Caution Advised as aresult of flood damage in early January and May this year. The Trail inspection on this section shows some minor/moderate scouring, ponding and under scoring but otherwise ride-able.  Some example photos of what to expect on the Trail as of this date...


   

  1. Rakis Tunnel - inside the Tunnel the Trail surface is very rutted and slippery.  Given that there is very little natural light here, we remind you to take a torch and not to attempt to ride through - play it safe - dismount and walk the 100m to the other end.

  2. There is a significant slip plus rock falls that cover the Trail before and after Rakis Tunnel...This will require extra attention and care to get past as the drop is significant.  Safety netting has now been put in place around this slip - please give the area as wide a berth as possible as the ground may still be unstable in the vicinity of the slip. WDC will be monitoring this closely to see whether the slip gets any worse.  If the it does worsen then a diversion down Peaks Road directly to Windsor, avoiding the Rakis Tunnel altogether, will be required - if you see a diversion in place, please follow the signs, as it is very likely the Trail is impassable and it is a long way (and a big hill climb) back from the Tunnel to Peaks Rd. to be able to continue to Windsor.

          

  3. A selection of the hazards that you will be required to carefully negotiate... (This is indicative only and not a complete list!).  

              

     

    Thanks for your patience as we work through the assessment and repair phase. We will keep you updated.

     

Section 9 / Alternative Route: Lake Tekapo to Twizel

  1. UPDATE 8/7/2021 - tree chipping and slash clean up operations are due to commence at the Pines Camp and Hayman Rd areas next week (12/7) for the next 2-3 weeks.  Some of this work is in the area of theTrail and will necessitate on site traffic management to ensure Trail user safety.  Please follow all instructions given - minimal delays to your journey may be required - please be safe and be seen to the operators in these two areas.
     
  2. The Alternative Route starting point has been moved to the Lakeside Car Park.  This is accessed off Hamilton Drive and SH8.  The route to Aorangi Crescent is all off road - please use the pedestrian path when crossing the bridge - pedestrians have priority! Images below of the new starting point signage and view up Lake Tekapo from that location. (See also the map of the new starting point below).

      


 

  1. The toilets at the Tekapo 4 Square are open.  The toilets at Lakeside Drive (opposite the campground) and beside footbridge are also open. The toilet beside the canal bridge below Tekapo A power Station is open. 

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PLEASE BE AWARE - Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail users need to be aware that erosion and washouts are a constant hazard and care should be taken.  As always, weather conditions can change quickly, so you will need to regularly check weather reports for updates and prepare for your trip accordingly.

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