New Zealand Cycling and Hiking Adventures

Alps to Ocean Cycle

Alps to Ocean Cycle

Trip Highlights

Mount Cook downhill, road out of Mt Cook
  • Soak in the hot pools at Lake Tekapo
  • Hike beneath Mt Cook in the World Heritage National Park
  • Cycle the flat Mackenzie canal roads built as part of the south island's biggest hydro project
  • Limestone shapes of Elephant Rocks
  • Explore the historic victorian precinct in Oamaru
  • Enjoy regional food and wine

Trip Summary

Cycling in the high alps of Mount Cook National Park is an exhilarating experience

Cycle from the alpine Aoraki Mt Cook village to the historic harbour town of Oamaru on the shores of the South Pacific Ocean. The journey takes you through the sweeping tussocklands of the Mackenzie Basin, past hydro lakes and along side the Waitaki River. This trail is fast becoming New Zealand's number 1 cycle trail. The dedicated trail descends 780 metres and is a perfect introductory - intermediate cycling holiday. It is fully supported and allows for extended rides for more experienced cyclists.

Trip Grading

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 Temuka for a refreshment break before starting our first ride. We cycle quiet sealed roads through picturesque countryside before lunch. In the afternoon we ride more rural roads with a photo stop at St Davids Church at Raincliff. We drive to Lake Tekapo where the local hot pools are recommended to ease any first day muscle aches (optional visit; entry fee 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. The picturesque Lake Tekapo is also the first of the storage lakes which feed the hydro schemes in the basin and down the Waitaki Valley where we will cycle over the coming days. Cycle Distance: Up to 50 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.

Meals:  L,D

After breakfast this morning we drive to our cycle starting point alongside the Tekapo hydro canal. We enjoy some flat easy riding past salmon farms to the edge of Lake Pukaki, joining the lakeside cycling 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 cycle away from the Southern Alps towards 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: Up to 40 kms

Meals:  B,L

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 we drive a short distance to Omarama where we set off on our bikes again. We follow the very scenic cycle trail for about 13kms, winding amongst hills and alongside Lake Benmore. We load the bikes onto our vehicle and return to our accommodation at Omarama for overnight. 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: Up to 50 kms

Meals:  B,L,D

We set off from our accommodation this morning with a short drive to the low pass above the village of Otematata. From here we enjoy a fabulous downhill cycle towards Aviemore Dam, a lovely place to catch our breath before continuing along the lake edge to Waitaki Dam. A sealed lakeside road keeps us concentrating for our final stretch today, ending with a short drive 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: approx 40 kms

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning the cycle trail takes us along the banks of the Waitaki River and through Kurow vineyards before joining the highway. We pass by a Maori rock art site before reaching Duntroon where we turn inland to cycle on 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 Burnside Homestead and have a delicious dinner to celebrate. Cycle Distance: 45km

Meals:  B,L,D

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: Up to 31 kms

Meals:  B

What's Included

  • 5 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 4 dinners
  • 5 nights hotel/motel ensuite accommodation on twin share basis
  • Professional qualified driver/guide
  • 2 professional guides/drivers on trips with 8 or more people
  • Private vehicle transport
  • Water bottle, water and snacks while cycling
  • Concession fees paid to the Department of Conservation

What's Not Included

  • International or domestic flights and taxes
  • Arrival and departure transfers
  • Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
  • All beverages, other than breakfast
  • Bike hire (including helmet)
  • Optional activities (eg. Tekapo hot pools, Omarama hot tubs, Steampunk Gallery)
  • Personal expenses (eg. phone calls, internet, laundry, shopping etc)
  • Travel insurance
  • Visa (if required)
  • Tips

Avanti Bikes available for hire for Cycleways, Avanti Discovery (top), Avanti Discovery Low Step (middle), Avanti Discovery Low e-Bike (bottom)

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 seat posts to iron out the bumps and hydraulic disc brakes give responsive breaking.

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 SPD pedals. A bicycle helmet and drink bottle will be included with your bike rental, along with a 15L saddle bag for personal items you might need in the day.

Upcoming Travel Dates



Duration:6 Days
Starting Point:Christchurch
Grade:Introductory  Click for more information
Trip Code:ATC
Prices From:NZD$1875
Public Holiday Supplement:NZD$50 
Bike Rental:NZD$180 
E-Bike Rental:NZD$480 
Single Supplement 2016/17:NZD$450 
Single Supplement 2017/18:NZD$475 

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About us

Since 1992, Adventure South NZ has operated an exciting range of guided cycling, hiking and multi-activity holidays right across New Zealand – and the world - to suit all levels of fitness. We are part of the World Expeditions Travel Group.

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