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.
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.
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 either Aoraki/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 to Twizel and 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 of Otematata, Duntroon and wine-soaked Kurow.
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.
A detailed description of this Great Ride, including maps and more information, can be found here:
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.
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)