There’s no shortage of breath-taking views on our 6-day Alps to Ocean biking adventure tour. After driving from Christchurch to the cosy Mount Cook Village, you’ll hop on a bike and enjoy riding under the towering mountains of Aoraki Mt Cook National Park. This adventure continues with a helicopter ride across the Tasman River, cycling alongside Lake Pukaki and Lake Ohau, enjoying views along the sweeping Waitaki valley and ending at the Pacific Ocean in Oamaru. With two guides and plenty of picnic breaks along the way, you’ll finish every day of your Alps 2 Ocean bike ride happy and exhausted!
Duration: 6 days
Activity Level: 3-4
Trip Start: Christchurch
Trip Ends: Christchurch
Arrive, drive to Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park, bike fitting
Whether you’re combining the Alps 2 Ocean trip with a longer South Island adventure or simply taking a well-deserved week out of your day-to-day life, Christchurch is just a short journey from any other New Zealand airport. We recommend arriving the day before we start our trip. If that’s not possible, you’ll just need to make sure you arrive into Christchurch before 10am. Once we’ve met you at the pick-up hotel or Christchurch Airport, we’ll head south to the magnificent Aoraki Mount Cook. Along the way we’ll enjoy a picnic lunch nestled in the foothills of the Southern Alps. Once we arrive in Aoraki Mt Cook National Park, we’ll be fitted with bikes for our trip. These are lightweight, cross-terrain touring bikes, perfect for the backcountry gravel roads and trails we’ll be travelling on. Once fitted, we’ll embark on a scenic 8km (5 miles) ride to White Horse Campground. If there’s time today we’ll take a popular walk along Hooker Valley, around 2-3 hours return.To wrap up an adventure-packed day we’ll be spending the night at lodgings in Aoraki Mount Cook Village. Get a good sleep tonight, tomorrow our ride to the ocean begins!
Aoraki Mt Cook Lodgings, Mt Cook Village (Lunch, Dinner)
Helicopter flight, ride Braemar Road to Twizel
After breakfast at our accommodation this morning, it’s a short ride from the start of our trail at White Horse Hill Campground, to the helipad, where comes an experience you won’t soon forget – a helicopter flight over the Tasman River to ‘Rotten Tommy’, the next section of the Alps to Ocean trail. Our pilot will fly us and our bikes over the thundering waters of the river, flowing out of New Zealand’s longest glacier, the Tasman Glacier. Be sure to stock up your day pack with snacks from the basket on the bus before we head off! Our ride today takes us from the end of Braemar road to Tekapo B Power Station, one of the hydroelectric stations on this network. The system transfers water from Lakes Tekapo and Ohau to lakes Pukaki, Benmore, and Aviemore, and finally along the Waitaki River to the Pacific on the East Coast, and is responsible for generating a vast amount of New Zealand’s annual energy requirement. From Tekapo B Power Station, we’ll skirt the rest of the east side of Lake Pukaki, but before we leave this lake behind, we’ll pause at the lookout point for a water break (around 13 kilometres / 8 miles into today’s ride). This is your opportunity to capture one of the most famous scenes in New Zealand – looking across the cobalt blue water of the lake to Aoraki Mt Cook, where our ride started yesterday. Today is our biggest day in the saddle, but the mixture of ups and downs, plus views unlike anywhere you’ve ridden before, make it a day you won’t want to end, even when your bum gets sore! Tonight we’ll stay in the Mackenzie Country basin, with stunning views stretching across the Southern Alps. The area is known for the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve, with light pollution strictly controlled, so it’s the ideal spot to stargaze! Lodgings, MacKenzie Country (All meals)
Bike from Twizel to Quailburn Road, via Lake Ohau Lodge
Today, under our own steam, we’ll travel along the winding canal to the shores of Lake Ohau. We’ll leave behind us the town of Twizel, built initially as a settlement for construction workers working on the hydroelectric scheme, these days Twizel has a character all of its own! Our ride today winds mostly along quiet, sealed roads, though towards the end of our pedal we’ll negotiate smooth shingle on the wide biking trail leading up to Ohau Lodge. You can be forgiven for being distracted by the views along this stretch, looking across to Lake Ohau and the surrounding peaks. If we’re up for it, we’ll conquer the grunty climb up from the Lodge at 560 (1837 feet) metres to the highest point on the whole trail, Tarnbrae, at 900 metres (2953 feet). Along the way we’ll cross Parsons, Sawyers, and Freehold Creek, and be able to look across to the route we rode today. Once we hop over the top, it’s a glorious uninterrupted downhill to Quailburn Road where we’ll hop on the bus and drive back to Ohau Lodge for the night – if we’re lucky we may be able to relax in the hot tub in the deck! We’ll dine together tonight in the Lodge restaurant.
Lake Ohau Lodge, Ohau (All meals)
Bike Quailburn Road to Otematata
Today’s section of the Alps to Ocean trail starts where we finished yesterday, with an easy downhill section on Quailburn Road, all the way to Omarama. Omarama is the gliding capital of New Zealand – due to its position on a flat plain surrounded by taller peaks, the thermals here are perfect for flying without an engine, so be sure to look up occasionally! From Omarama we’ll push on for another 35 kilometres (21 miles), and arrive in Otematata. We’ll retrace our steps from Otematata on the bus back to Omarama where we’ll spend the night.
Otematata Lakeside Apartments, Otematata (All meals)
Bike Otematata to Duntroon via Benmore Hydro Dam and Kurow
Our day starts with a 45 kilometre (30 miles) ride from Otematata to Kurow, and almost all of this section is on low-traffic, tar-sealed roads – which might be a welcome break for your bum after yesterday’s climb! We’ll pass over the Benmore Hydro Dam, New Zealand’s second- largest hydro station, before skirting the edge of Lake Aviemore and on to Kurow. Kurow is New Zealand’s most up-and-coming pinot noir region, the limestone rich soils have proved a great tonic for the vines. After a leg stretch we’ll jump back on our bikes and tackle the second part of the day, a 28 kilometre ride from Kurow to Duntroon. This predominantly gravel trail brings us alongside the Waitaki River and sweeps along the valley. Today is our biggest day in the saddle, so we’ll be taking it easy and making sure everyone is well fuelled and hydrated. There’s plenty to see along this diverse trail – we’ll pass vineyards, rivers, and the Takiroa Maori rock art site – a limestone shelter containing several pieces of rock art dating back to between 1400 and 1900 AD. Once we arrive in Duntroon, we’ll continue onto Oamaru, to spend the night, where we’ll eat dinner together.
Oamaru Lodgings, Oamaru (All meals)
Bike the final leg of the A2O trail, Duntroon to Oamaru, depart
Today is our last day together, and we’ll finish in style – with the final 54 kilometres (33.5 miles) from Duntroon to the Pacific Ocean at Oamaru. Today is another big day, but we’ll be motivated by the upcoming reward of the Pacific East Coast! Most of our ride today is on smooth shingle and away from traffic. We’ll pass through irrigated farmland, as well as Elephant Rocks, so-called because of their likeness to, you guessed it, elephants – this limestone formation was millions of years in the making! We’re following an old railway for part of our ride today, which includes a tunnel of around 100 metres in length (328 feet). When we reach Oamaru, we’ll wind our way in to Oamaru Gardens, which the trail passes through, and follow our noses through the Victorian Historic Precinct to the harbour where the trail ends at the aptly named ‘Friendly Bay’. We’ll all have been enriched by new friendships, and by the feeling of achievement that comes with completing New Zealand’s longest continuous cycle trail. After exploring the Victorian Precinct on foot, and enjoying a beer to celebrate our efforts, we’ll hit the road back to Christchurch and say our goodbyes.
The accommodation varies from trip to trip and day-to-day – you’ll stay in a variety of places from jungle lodges to mountain huts, local motels and friendly lodges. Active Adventures focuses on getting you out into amazing places in the most stunning parts of the world, so this isn’t a tour of the world’s fanciest hotels! Another focus of Active Adventures is having a good place to rest and rejuvenate at the end of a busy day, and to make sure you are fully charged for the next day’s activities, so you’ll always find yourself in a clean, comfortable room, quite often with a spectacular view.
Below is a sample of some of the amazing places you’ll stay in:
Enjoy a relaxing stay at the Mackenzie Country Hotel in Twizel in the heart of the Mackenzie Region! Featuring a beautiful garden setting with high country views, the hotel has everything you need for a relaxing holiday.
Lake Ōhau in the Mackenzie High Country is cradled between the Ōhau Range to the west in the Main Divide and the Ben Ōhau range to the east.
In summer it is endowed with fine weather and long daylight hours and in winter with reliable snow.
While the area is known for the Ohau Snow Fields, and more recently the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail, come the end of the ski season there are stunning wilderness areas to be explored by walking, hiking or biking further up the valley or around the Lodge during the summer months.
Lake Ōhau Lodge is a great place not only to stay, but to base yourself so you can enjoy all the activities the region has on offer.
All prices are per person twin share and unless otherwise stated, are in Australian dollars, are correct at the time of publication and subject to change without notice.
This tour operates January through to December. Please contact us for available dates.
CANCELLATION BY YOU (Worldwide trips)
In the event you need to cancel your trip, the following cancellation charges will apply:
Any deposits not transferred to future trips are non-refundable and will be forfeited. All refunds are less any non-refundable expenses incurred by Active Adventures.
Requested changes to your trip and/or date must be made prior to 90 days before your departure. In the event you need to change your trip and/or date, the following will apply:
A cancellation or postponement will take effect from the date which Active Adventures receives written notification of the cancellation or postponement. This cancellation policy includes voluntary or involuntary early departure from a trip. No refunds will be given for missed or unused services such as accommodation, activities or meals. We strongly recommend travel insurance which covers cancellation fees at the time of booking.
*Cancellation and postponement terms and conditions may differ for certain group trips, as well as Cruises, Private Journeys, and Extensions. These exceptions are clearly indicated in the detailed itineraries for each of these trips.
BY ACTIVE ADVENTURES
We occasionally may have to cancel any trip at any time before departure for commercial reasons beyond our control, including if the minimum numbers required to operate the trip are not reached. If we do have to cancel your trip, you can transfer the fare to an alternate departure date for no additional fee or alternatively opt for a refund, including your deposit.
BY FORCE MAJEURE
In circumstances where the cancellation is due to any conditions or event outside our control, including but not limited to natural disasters, pandemics, border restrictions, terrorism or political instability, Active Adventures will re-book you on an alternative trip or will offer you a future trip credit valid for 24 months.
If you’re re-booked to a new departure, as a result of your booking being cancelled by us or force majeure, the cancellation terms in effect on the date when your booking was changed will apply for your new booking.
All credits and refunds resulting from cancellations for any reason will be less any non-refundable expenses incurred by Active Adventures. Active Adventures is not responsible for any additional expenses you may have incurred as a result of your booking, including but not limited to visas, vaccinations, medical expenses, clothing, equipment, testing, quarantine, travel insurance excess or non-refundable flights.