Explore some of the most scenic landscapes in New Zealand's South Island by bike on our fully supported Alps to Ocean Cycle tour. Encounter the majesty of New Zealand's highest peak, Aoraki, Mt Cook, the sweeping tussocklands of the Mackenzie Country, and the flowing rivers, vineyards and farmland of the Waitaki Valley as you cycle towards the historic and vibrant coastal town of Oamaru on the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail. With superb mountain scenery as your backdrop, you'll be enchanted by the picturesque canal rides from the alternate trail start at Lake Tekapo. We then follow the trail along the dramatic turquoise Lake Pukaki through to the alpine retreat of Twizel. Our journey continues on ancient Maori trading and food gathering routes, past the historic hydro-schemes and through one of NZ's newest wine growing regions in the Waitaki Valley. You'll enjoy more than just cycling on this trip as we have the chance to soak in thermal hotpools, discover ancient Maori rock art, dramatic limestone landscapes, and explore the small local communities along the trail.
To determine the grade of a particular adventure we consider a number of factors. These include the condition of the terrain, the altitude, the number of pass crossings and the length of the trip. The Alps to Ocean is graded introductory. You will need a reasonable level of fitness and we suggest 30 minutes of aerobic type exercise, (either cycling or jogging) three times a week for the three months leading up to your trip. Much of the trail is on hard packed gravel - if you can get in some cycling on gravel before your tour it will make the experience a lot more fun.
Early this morning you will be collected from your central Christchurch accommodation and taken to our depot for a bike fitting and tour briefing. We then drive south to Geraldine for a refreshment break before starting our first ride. We cycle quiet sealed roads through picturesque countryside, before stopping for lunch in Fairlie.
After lunch we drive to Lake Tekapo Village. Its picturesque lake is the first of the storage lakes which feed the hydro schemes in the basin and down the Waitaki Valley. Here we take our first ride from the alternate start on the Alps to Ocean Cycle Trail, on the quiet roads that follow the turquoise blue waters of the canal system.
On return to Tekapo we have the option to visit the local hot pools to ease any first day muscle aches (own expense). The famous Church of the Good Shepherd and nearby statue standing as a tribute to the sheepdogs that make farming the Mackenzie Basin possible are local icons.
Cycle Distance: Up to 35 kms
Important: The night prior to tour departure your guide will call your pre tour accommodation to advise what time you will be collected the next morning. If you are out, a message will be left at reception for you. If you haven't heard from your guide by the morning of the tour please call us in the NZ office on 0800 00 11 66 (from within NZ). Pick up time is usually around 7.30am. If you are staying on the outskirts of town please make your own way to our depot at 29 Iversen Tce, Waltham.
After breakfast this morning we drive to our next cycling point on the Alps to Ocean Cycle Trail alongside the Tekapo hydro canal. We enjoy some flat easy riding past salmon farms to the edge of Lake Pukaki, joining the lakeside cycle trail and with spectacular mountain vistas. From the road end, Mt Cook beckons so we load up and drive to The Hermitage where we have the option to enjoy a visit to the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre (own expense) or the local DOC (Department of Conservation) centre. Stunning views of the 26 km long Tasman Glacier and Mt Cook are our reward for a short walk, before we drive back to Lake Pukaki for a final ride on the trail across the extensive tussock-lands of Pukaki flats to Twizel, where we stay tonight. Twizel was built for the Hydro project in the 1970’s and in recent years has been rejuvenated as a holiday and rowing destination, surrounded by rolling tussock hillsides.
Cycle Distance: Tekapo to Pukaki - 30 km
Pukaki to Twizel - 11 km
This morning we cycle past Lakes Ruataniwha and Ohau, mostly on cycle trail, to Lake Ohau Lodge for lunch. After we've refuelled our bodies, those who would like a challenge can continue on the trail, which starts its steady climb up to the Tambrae Saddle. At 900m this is the highpoint of the whole Alps to Ocean Cycle Trail and your efforts are rewarded with stunning views across the Mackenzie Basin.
Alternatively for those who want a relaxing afternoon there is the option to transfer by coach and enjoy a final, mostly downhill and flat ride on the trail into Omarama, our stop for the night.
Omarama is called "Place of Light" in Maori terminology, a reference to its extraordinarily pure and clear sky. This region is also famous for gliding due to some unique air wave systems and feisty thermals. This evening enjoy an optional soak in a private hot tub of fresh mountain water (own expense).
Cycle Distance: Twizel to Lake Ohau - 38 km
Ohau to Omarama - 41 km (Short option: Quailburn to Omarama - 23 km)
We set off on our bikes from our accommodation this morning, following the trail to Sailors Cutting, along the shores of Lake Benmore. From here there is the option to climb to the Otematata saddle or to take the support van to the top and enjoy a fabulous downhill cycle towards Aviemore Dam, where we will enjoy a lakeside picnic. From here we avoid the very busy main road by driving a short distance to our accommodation in Kurow. The tiny village of Kurow can be explored by bike. An interesting option is to ride from the bridge over the Waitaki River to the beautifully restored St. Albans Church, then to the local Pasquale vineyards to taste award winning wines.
Cycle Distance: 47 kms (optional climb to Otematata saddle - 5km)
This morning the cycle trail takes us along the banks of the Waitaki River and through Kurow vineyards. We pass by a Maori rock art site before reaching Duntroon where we turn inland to cycle on a mixture of trail and quiet rural roads. A walk amongst the unusual rock formations known locally as Elephant Rocks is a must on the way past. Following a short section of an old branch railway line we cycle through Raki's tunnel before a downhill ride into the settlement of Windsor. We spend our last evening together at the historic Victorian Burnside Homestead and have a delicious dinner to celebrate.
Cycle Distance: Kurow to Duntroon - 28 km
Duntroon to Burnside Homestead - 35km
Today we are bound for Christchurch but not before we finish our Alps to Ocean journey with a final ride. Cycling from our accommodation we ride through picturesque rolling rural countryside and pass the Oamaru Stone quarry. Oamaru Stone has been extracted from the district since the 19th Century and its influence on local architecture is clearly seen as we ride our final section into the harbourside town of Oamaru. Here there is time to explore the old Victorian Precinct with its many galleries, shops and cafes. There may also be time for an optional visit to the fascinating Steampunk Museum (own expense). After a late lunch we will travel back to Christchurch, passing through some of the rich agricultural regions of the Canterbury Plains, arriving at our destination around 6:00pm.
Cycle Distance: Burnside to Oamaru - 25 km
MOUNTAIN BIKE (Additional Charge)
Our new fleet of Avanti Discovery hybrid mountain bikes combines the best characteristics of a hybrid bike and a mountain bike to give you a great ride and comfort on gravel cycle trails. This bike has a more upright riding style meaning you can still take in the amazing scenery you'll encounter along the way.
These bikes have 29" wheels, suspension forks and suspension seat posts to iron out the bumps and hydraulic disc brakes give responsive braking.
They are also available in a low rise, also known as a step though bike frame, please specify on your booking form.
ELECTRIC BIKE (Additional Charge)
Our Avanti Discovery low step e-Bike is perfect for cyclists that may require a little assistance on their travels. Pedalling our e-Bikes is easier on knees and joints than riding a traditional bike. They provide up to 80kms of pedal assistance before requiring recharging. Very simple to operate and they provide people with varying levels of cycling experience, health and fitness levels the opportunity to enjoy our cycling holidays.
For bicycle specifications please contact us for more details.
Bikes can be fitted with flat pedals, toes clips or MTB SPD pedals. A bicycle helmet will be included with your bike rental, along with a 15L saddle bag for personal items you might need in the day.
Burnside homestead, Rolling hills and climb through farms and valleys. Tasman Glacier, Lake Tekapo, snow capped mountains. Wind Tunnel on day 2. Beautiful trail that takes you through valleys, suburbia, countryside, mountains, railway tunnels, wetlands and farms. Only thing missing was a desert! Incredible scenic variety and picturesque. Very well organised and run tour.
Fab trip, excellent food, guides and lots of laughter- excellent company and exercise.
Tricia Smith, New Zealand
Thank you for selecting all the best parts of the A2O for us. I will definitely be recommending your company to friends.
Margaret McCrostie, New Zealand
I really enjoyed having the electric bike. I ride regularly (have one at home) but do not have a lot of stamina. Having an electric bike meant I could ride with my super fit husband (and beat him up hills!). The bike performed well. On road I could maintain 22km/h up hill if i worked it. It charged in 2-3 hours each night. It is heavier than the other bikes but handled the trail well.
Clare Dyer, Australia
Per Person, Twin Share