Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail itinerary

8 Days



  • Diverse landscapes
  • Scenic ride
  • Country towns and history


Grade 2-3

Easy to Intermediate

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Cycle amidst the majestic Southern Alps, past blue glacial-fed lakes, and towards the sparkling Pacific coast on this 8-day Alps 2 Ocean itinerary.

Day 1: Aoraki/Mt Cook to Braemar Road, 35km

Christchurch - Canterbury
Aoraki/Mt Cook, Christchurch - Canterbury

Von Miles Holden

New Zealand's longest cycle trail, Alps 2 Ocean, starts from Aoraki/Mt Cook.

This section of the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle trail is a must do for towering views of New Zealand’s highest mountain – Aoraki/Mt Cook, the scenic helicopter ride and true high country hospitality.  If the helicopter ride isn’t for you, then begin the track on the east side of Lake Pukaki at Tekapo B Power Station.

Accommodation: Braemar Station or Guide Hill Station.

Day 2: Braemar Road to Twizel, 42km

Christchurch - Canterbury
Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail, Christchurch - Canterbury

Von Miles Holden

Lake Pukaki is among the beautiful glacier-fed lakes you'll ride along on the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail.

A quiet and stunning country road following the eastern shores of Lake Pukaki takes you to Twizel, built in 1968 as a base for workers constructing a major hydroelectric power plant. Nowadays it is popular for its mountains and lakes lifestyle. Take a break on your ride and savour the fresh flavours of the award-winning Mt Cook Alpine Salmon. 

Accommodation: Twizel

Day 3: Twizel to Lake Ohau, 38km

Christchurch - Canterbury
Lake Ohau, Christchurch - Canterbury

Von Miles Holden

Lake Ohau is a stunning location in summer or winter, with plenty of activities.

You’ll follow scenic roads and ride across a canal bridge before descending towards the lake foreshore that takes you to Ohau Weir (note, see for alternate route when Ohau Weir is in flood). Lake Ohau is one of the region’s best kept secrets – it is simply stunning!

Accommodation: Lake Ohau, Lake Ohau Lodge 

Day 4: Lake Ohau to Omarama, 41km

Christchurch - Canterbury
Hot Tubs Omarama, Christchurch - Canterbury

Von Julian Apse

Soak in a hot pool amidst beautiful landscapes in Omarama.

With views across the basin to the Benmore Range, this section of the trail weaves across conservation land before descending to Quailburn Rd. A 2km detour from here takes you to a historic woolshed that provides a picture of early sheep shearing methods. If you’re up for it, take another longer detour (14km return) to Clay Cliffs – a majestic natural rock formation. Nestled amongst mountains and lakes, Omarama is renowned as a gliding and fishing mecca.

Accommodation: Omarama

Day 5: Omarama to Otematata, 24km

Omarama to Otematata, Waitaki

Von Rebecca Ryan

On the easy ride from Omarama to Otematata, you'll enjoy beautiful views of lakes Benmore and Aviemore.

Riding east down Waitaki Valley, you’ll cross Sailors Cutting, a popular boating and camping destination. Otematata, a small village with accommodation options, was built to service the construction of New Zealand’s largest man made dam – the Benmore Hydro Dam.

Accommodation: Otematata

Day 6: Otematata to Kurow, 44km

Otematata to Kurow, Waitaki

Von Tourism Waitaki

Enjoy the region's interesting hydro history and associated towns as you ride this section of the trail.

This is an easy section of the trail, mostly on sealed road. It narrates a rich hydroelectric history through a series of dams, including the impressive Benmore Hydro Dam. Kurow sits on the junction of two rivers and offers plenty of water activities, including jet boating and fishing.

Accommodation: Kurow

Day 7: Kurow to Duntroon, 23km

Waitaki Valley, Waitaki

Von Sarah Rowland Photographer

New Zealand's newest wine growing region.

Check out the Kurow Museum and Kurow Island, a 20 hectare island formed by braided river geomorphic processes. The island is easily accessible with beautiful backwaters, walking tracks, gentle braids and roads. Back on the Alps 2 Ocean trail, you’ll traverse Kurow wine country and follow SH83 to Duntroon.

Accommodation: Duntroon

Day 8: Duntroon to Oamaru, 55km

Elephant Rocks, Waitaki

Von Brian High/Vertical Ventures

Large weathered limetsone rocks - Elephant Rocks - near Duntroon add a fascinating dimension to the area's landscape.

From Duntroon to Oamaru, the trail leaves the riverside, passes interesting limestone formations (Elephant Rocks) before joining an old railway line till Oamaru. This historic town has a fascinating mix of shops, galleries and Victorian cafes. In Oamaru be sure to check out Steampunk HQ, the Victorian Precinct, the North Otago Museum and the Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony.

Accommodation: Oamaru

Where to next?

Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail →

Oamaru →

Christchurch →

Otago Central Rail Trail →