Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail
Of all of New Zealand’s cycle trails, the Alps 2 Ocean is possibly the most dramatic when it comes to scenic variation. From New Zealand’s highest peaks, alongside and round beautiful lakes, passing through small rural communities and traversing some of the country’s most fertile agricultural country and of course, a chance to dip your toe in the Pacific Ocean means this epic journey has the lot.
Starts: Aoraki/Mt Cook
We recommend booking a minimum of one night at Bella Vista Oamaru
8 Day Alps to Ocean Cycle Trail
Day 1: Aoraki/Mt Cook to Braemar Road
Day 2: Braemar Road to Twizel
Day 3: Twizel to Lake Ohau Lodge
Day 4: Lake Ohau Lodge to Omarama
Day 5: Omarama to Otematata
Day 6: Otematata to Kurow
Day 7: Kurow to Duntroon
Day 8: Duntroon to Bella Vista Oamaru
Day1: Aoraki/Mt Cook to Braemar Road including heli transfer (35km)
You begin your epic Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail journey just north of Mt Cook Village at the White Horse Hill Campground taking an off-road train to the Mt Cook Airport. From here, excitement builds as you take a short helicopter ride across the glacially fed Tasman River. Several creek crossings and spectacular views of Aoraki/Mt Cook are highlights of this section.
Day 2: Braemar Road to Twizel (42km)
Following a quiet country road along the eastern shore of Lake Pukaki you pass an abundance of flora and fauna, including the native Kowahi and flax. Past the Tekapo B Power Station and dry grasslands, with vistas of the Southern Alps along the way, before the trail leads you into the laid-back town of Twizel. Relax after a full day's biking at one of the local eateries or pubs.
Day 3: Twizel to Lake Ohau Lodge (38km)
From Twizel, this leg of the trail takes you to Loch Cameron, a perfect little spot for a swim if time permits. Crossing the canal bridge the trail reaches the edge of Lake Ohau and descends to the foreshore across the Ohau Weir and onwards to Lake Ohau Lodge, a fantastic and out-of-the-way accommodation option.
Day 4: Lake Ohau Lodge to Omarama (45km)
Today begins with an easy, gentle cycle with stunning views back across to the Ben Ohau Range. But then you have a grunty 300m climb to the high point on the trail. The views from 900m above sea level will make reaching the top worth it though. Once at the summit it’s a rolling descent, passing an historic woolshed, and the turnoff to see the natural rock formations of the famous Clay Cliffs with tall pinnacles separated by narrow ravines. Once back on the trail it’s a short ride into Omarama where you can soothe away your muscle aches in an outdoor hot tub.
Day 5: Omarama to Otematata (24km)
From Omarama it’s a short leg into the Waitaki Valley with its big blue hydro lakes and popular fishing and boating spots. A short climb to Otematata Saddle and views of Lake Aviemore before it's all downhiil to the small Otematata township from there.
Day 6: Otematata to Kurow (44km)
This section of trail has an interesting hydro history with dams and project towns. First is Benmore Hydro Dam and it is a steep climb to get there but the most interesting to look around. Next is Aviemore Dam followed by Waitaki Dam before heading into Kurow, another rural supply town with some nice cafe's, a cellar door and the claim to fame that it is the hometown of the former All Black Captain Richie McCaw. Look out for the big sign celebrating his achievements.
Day 7: Kurow to Duntroon (28km)
A gravel trail leads you across to the Waitaki River and down the valley crossing 3 rivers as you go. This is Waitaki wine country, so stop and taste some delectable wines where you can. Take a little detour to visit the Takiroa Maori Rock Art site and the enjoy the riverside and wetland vistas as you cycle towards Duntroon.
Day 8: Duntroon to Bella Vista Oamaru (54km)
The final leg of this amazing trail takes you through several farms to the unique rock formations known as Elephant Rocks, limestone escarpments, the Rakis Railway Tunnel, along the old railway lines and off-road trails before cycling down into the Oamaru Gardens, a wonderful way to end your journey.
Oamaru is a great town to finish your 310km bike ride. It is unique amongst New Zealand towns in that the majority of its key civic buildings, banks, warehouses and more are built of the locally sourced Oamaru Whitestone. The Victorian era lives strongly in the town with a precinct dedicated to old times. And it is not just heritage that Oamaru offers but a great array of natural wildlife including the famed Little Blue Penguin. As dusk descends you can take your seat in a purpose built grandstand that allows an uninterrupted view of the birds making their way back to shore and heading into their burrows to feed their chicks.
Bella Vista is the closest Oamaru motel to town and only a 10 minute walk from the shops, restaurants and main attractions. It’s a perfect end to your journey and a place to enjoy. We would recommend staying at your Oamaru accommodation for at least for two nights to recover, relax and enjoy the local activiteis and attractions.
Please note this is a sample itinerary only providing an illustration as to how you could enjoy the Alps 2 Ocean cycle trail using Bella Vista Oamaru accommodation as the end point of your itinerary. For more detailed information on the trail, please visit www.alpstoocean.com