1-7 Days 315 Km


  • Spectacular South Island scenery
  • Hot pools, pristine lakes
  • Star gazing in a Dark Sky Reserve


Grade 2-3

Easy - Intermediate

The longest of Ngā Haerenga Great Rides of New Zealand serves up remarkable South Island scenery on its way from the foot of the Southern Alps all the way to the Pacific Ocean.

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

Aoraki/Mt Cook is New Zealand’s highest mountain and one of many stunning sights on this unforgettable cycle journey. Amidst braided rivers, glacier-carved valleys, turquoise hydro-lakes, and tussock-covered highlands you can view penguins, taste local wines, and soak in a hot pool under the stars. Welcoming hosts, great accommodation, and excellent food make the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail (A2O) a cycling holiday to remember.

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

Ride experience

The Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail (A2O) is divided into nine sections across mostly easy terrain including canal paths, cross-country track, quiet backroads and old railway lines.

Ride its length in 4–7 days or choose shorter rides suitable for all abilities.

This Great Ride starts at the foot of the Southern Alps, at eitherAoraki / Mt Cook National Park or Lake Tekapo - both top New Zealand destinations in the mids of the famous Mackenzie Country.

Soak up vast panoramas of golden tussock, surreal blue lakes and staggering mountain ranges on way toTwizeland Ōmarama where you'll find warm local hospitality and non-cycling activities. 

Continue until you reach Waitaki Valley, home to two hydro-lakes and Benmore power station. Rest and refresh in the rural towns ofOtematataDuntroon and wine-soakedKurow. 

As the trail reaches the lower valley you will pass through vineyards, a lavender farm, Takiroa Māori rock art site and limestone formations known as Elephant Rocks(opens in new window).

Following a historic railway line, the trail then heads down to Oamaru, a port town known for its magnificent Victorian architecture and resident blue penguins.

Ngā Haerenga New Zealand Cycle Trails Official Website

A detailed description of this Great Ride, including maps and more information, can be found here:

Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail(opens in new window)

Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail, Waitaki

Need to know

  • The Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail is graded 2–3 (easy to intermediate), and is suitable for riders wanting inspiring scenery, small-town charm, and the challenge of biking reasonably long distances.
  • The full trail is achievable for reasonably fit and experienced riders, and suitable for E-bikes with plenty of places to recharge.
  • Explore day rides which range from one hour to a full day. Towns along the way make great holiday bases for exploring throughout the Mackenzie Country and Waitaki regions.
  • The trail has two official start points: Aoraki Mt / Cook and Lake Tekapo Village. The trail ends in Oamaru on the Otago Coast. However, the trail can be ridden in either direction.
  • Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail is open to use year round, except in times of heavy snowfall. The spring and autumn months are particularly wonderful times to ride with great weather conditions.
  • The trail is well signposted, and frequently passes small towns for a quick rest or an overnight break. Let local operators take care of the logistics for you including transfer services.
Christchurch - Canterbury
Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail, Christchurch - Canterbury

Transport & tours

Whether you chose a short ride or the full, multi-day A2O adventure, there are plenty of companies offering bike hire, shuttle services, and fully inclusive, guided tours. Get in touch with Twizel-based Cycle Journeys, Lakeland Explorer, and Vertical Ventures; and Trail Adventures(opens in new window) based in Omarama, Bike It Now! in Clyde, BeSpoke Bike Tours(opens in new window) in Tekapo, and Natural High in Christchurch.

Christchurch-based Sidetracks Women and Tuatara Tours offer fully supported, multi-day rides on the A2O and other South Island cycle trails, as does Escape By Cycle (opens in new window)in Queenstown. Adventure South NZ(opens in new window) offers multi-day guided cycle tours throughout New Zealand.


Visitors are welcome in picturesque trail towns including Lake Tekapo, Aoraki / Mt Cook Village, Twizel and Omarama, and in atmospheric accommodation dotted throughout the countryside. Accommodation providers partnered with this Great Ride are listed on the New Zealand Cycle Trails(opens in new window) and Alps 2 Ocean(opens in new window) websites. 

Useful links

Ngā Haerenga New Zealand Cycle Trails(opens in new window)
Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail (opens in new window)
Mackenzie NZ(opens in new window)
Tourism Waitaki(opens in new window)

Great Rides app - Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail(opens in new window)

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