Alps to Ocean End to End

Alps to Ocean End to End

Trip Highlights

Cycling the Tekapo Canals&#160;-&#160;<i>Photo:&#160;Daniel Thour</i>
  • Explore the adventure capital of the world in Queenstown
  • Cycle the full length of the Alps to Ocean trail from end to end
  • Enjoy a breathtaking heli-flight over the Tasman River from Aoraki/Mt Cook Village
  • Hike beneath Aoraki/Mt Cook in the World Heritage National Park
  • Stay in premium backcountry accommodation with uninterrupted views of Lake Pukaki
  • Cycle along the edges of Lakes Ohau, Benmore and Aviemore
  • Soak in the hot tubs at Lake Ohau
  • Spend a night in a luxurious Glamping tent
  • Explore the Victorian Precinct in Oamaru

Trip Summary

Cycling the trails of Lake Ohau&#160;-&#160;<i>Photo:&#160;Vincent Kong</i>

Our Alps to Ocean End to End is a 7 day cycling adventure allowing you time to fully appreciate the trail from the foot of Aoraki/Mt Cook to the Pacific Ocean. The itinerary has been designed so we cycle the entire length of the Alps to Ocean Cycle Trail, covering 320km of spectacular and diverse country from the official trail start at Aoraki/Mt Cook Village along with exploring some added highlights along the trail. Meeting in Queenstown, we drive to the base of the mighty Southern Alps. Our journey begins with a stunning heli-flight across the Tasman river before cycling through the vast tussock-lands of the Mackenzie Country, along the braided rivers and vineyards of the Waitaki Valley, all the way to the white-stone township of Oamaru. A highlight of this trip is the hand picked accommodation where we stay at a mix of lodges, premium backcountry farmstays, motels and luxurious glamping tents. We also offer a shorter 6 day Alps to Ocean Cycle itinerary that begins from the alternate trail start at Lake Tekapo.

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 End to End is graded moderate. An average day cycling distance on this trip is 60km, but you will need to be comfortable riding up to 80km per day if you are planning to cycle the entire trail. With that said, you can cycle at your own pace and any tired legs can be rested on the nearby support-vehicle. You will need a reasonable level of fitness and we suggest an hour of cycling 2-3 times a week for the three months leading up to your trip. On two of the days there will be up to 80km of riding although the support vehicle is always nearby. 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.


You will be collected by your guide from a central location in Queenstown around 9.30am and we will have a tour briefing before setting off northwards. We drive to Aoraki/Mt Cook Village which is the official start to the Alps to Ocean Cycle Trail. We have the option to visit the famous Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre (own expense) or the informative Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park visitor centre (free of charge). You'll also have the chance to put your walking shoes on and take in the stunning glacier and mountain views from the Hooker Valley Track or Tasman Glacier Track. There will also be a bike fit to test the bikes before meeting for our first group dinner together. Hiking Distance: up to 10km

Meals:  D

After breakfast this morning we have time to explore the village some more. We then hop on our bikes and cycle the first 7km to the airport where we take a short (but breath-taking) heli-flight with our bikes to meet up with the trail on the other side of the Tasman River. We then cycle along the edge of Lake Pukaki, taking in views of Aoraki/Mt Cook. After a picnic lunch we continue cycling to Braemar Road and on to the backcountry farmstay, Braemar Station. This is a trip highlight for many as we are rewarded with fantastic views over Lake Pukaki and treated to a delicious home cooked dinner. Cycle Distance: Aoraki/Mt Cook Village to Braemar Station - 38km Please Note: Due to accommodation shortages, the February tour will stay at Lake Tekapo instead, we will be transferred there by bus at the end of the days ride. We will cycle alongside the brilliant emerald green Tekapo canal back to Lake Pukaki at the start of Day 3.

Meals:  B,L,D

After a hearty breakfast, we leave Braemar Station and start our ride for the day. The trail winds around the edge of Lake Pukaki to the visitors centre before crossing the extensive tussock-lands of Pukaki flats to Twizel. After lunch we cycle past lakes Ruataniwha and Ohau to Lake Ohau Lodge, where we stay tonight. This evening there is time to unwind and soak in the onsite hot tubs while overlooking the lake. Cycle Distance: Braemar Station to Twizel - 42km Twizel to Lake Ohau - 38km

Meals:  B,L,D

After we've refuelled our bodies with breakfast, those who would like a challenge can continue on the trail, which starts as a 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. The rough shingle Tarnbrae track is steep and narrow and is suited to the more confident and fitter riders. 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 from the historic wool shed at Quailburn 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: Lake Ohau to Omarama via Tarnbrae Saddle - 41km Short Option: Quailburn to Omarama - 23km

Meals:  B,L,D

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. We then cycle into Kurow before riding along the banks of the Waitaki River and through the Kurow vineyard to tonight's accommodation. We stay at the luxurious Valley Views Glamping where your own private tent awaits. Don't be fooled by the word 'tent' as you'll enjoy all your creature comforts. Each tent has a king size bed or 2 single beds with luxury down duvets, lighting, cell phone charger, an ensuite toilet and a private balcony. This is the perfect place to relax whilst recovering from a great days biking. Cycle Distance: Omarama - Kurow 68km (optional climb to Otematata saddle - 5km) Kurow to Valley Views: 13km (option to ride in the support vehicle)

Meals:  B,L,D

After breakfast, we hop back on the bike for our last ride towards the Pacific Ocean. 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 among the unusual rock formations known locally as Elephant Rocks is a must-do 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. After lunch we cycle through picturesque rolling rural countryside, past the Oamaru stone quarry to Friendly Bay and the end of the Alps to Ocean Cycle Trail. We celebrate our cycling achievements with a group photo at the famous picture frame and a final group dinner. Cycle Distance: Valley Views to Oamaru - 74km

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we are bound for Christchurch but not before exploring the white-stone township of Oamaru. Here there is time to browse around 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). We then travel back to Christchurch, passing through some of the rich agricultural regions of the Canterbury Plains, arriving at our destination around 3pm, where the tour concludes. No cycling today

Meals:  B,L

What's Included

  • 6 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 6 dinners
  • 7 nights hotel/motel accommodation on twin share basis
  • Professional qualified driver/guide
  • 2 professional guides/drivers on trips with 8 or more people
  • Heli-flight across the Tasman River with bikes to the official start point
  • Private vehicle transport/support vehicle
  • 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)
  • Water bottle (help us save the environment and bring your own bike drink bottle)
  • Optional activities (eg. Omarama hot tubs, Steampunk Gallery)
  • Personal expenses (eg. phone calls, internet, laundry, shopping etc)
  • Travel insurance
  • Visa (if required)
  • Tips

Bikes used for Adventure South Cycleways tours, Avanti Discovery MTB (top), low step version (middle) and 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 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 or Merida e-Bikes are 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.


The whole trip was extremely memorable as it was well organised and in a beautiful country. The set up allowed the tour guides to be flexible when needed due to weather conditions made it extra special. What made the trip were the diversity of the group, the enthusiasm and knowledge of both Will and Baz. Will and Baz definitely made the whole experience and trip one of the best l have experienced.

Nadeem S, Barry, United Kingdom, 27 Dec 2018

Well structured with itinerary, distances, accommodation and great guides.

Glen G, Newcastle, Australia, 17 Dec 2018

Even though it was really cold the views were AMAZING, the accommodation and food at Braemar and Lake Ohau could not have been better and the trail round Lake Pukaki and Lake Ohau superb. We also enjoyed the bonus ride we had on the Queenstown Trail from Arrowtown to the bungy. It was a lovely off road trail, very scenic and gave us a chance to get the feel of our bikes before the start of the Alps2Ocean.

Elizabeth U, 21 Dec 2018

Upcoming Travel Dates



Duration:7 Days
Starting Point:Queenstown
Finishing Point:Christchurch
Grade:Moderate  Click for more information
Trip Code:ATO
Prices From:NZD$2895
Bike Rental:NZD$180 
E-Bike Rental:NZD$480 
Single Supplement - Limited to 2 per departure:NZD$775