Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail

from 5 Days

Planning on riding the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail?  Contact us for help in planning your itinerary and booking your trip.

The Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail is the longest and arguably the greatest of the Great Rides. It stretches 312 km through the Mackenzie Basin and down the Waitaki Valley to Oamaru. Beginning at the base of New Zealand's highest peak and passing a number of glacial lakes while descending 780 metres to the mighty Pacific Ocean, this is one of New Zealand's most epic cycle journeys.

The usual starting point is from Mt Cook Village, although as this requires a helicopter ride, Tekapo provides an alternative (and cheaper) starting point. While there will be a number of entry points along the trail, the logical path is heading downhill and with the prevailing north-westerly wind to aid you along the way. A number of towns along the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail offer accommodation options, delectable cuisine and other activities along the way - catering to both single and multi-day cyclists. 

The trail is typically done over four to six days. We provide a suggested five day itinerary below.

Aoraki/Mt Cook to Twizel (77 km)

The trail begins with an easy 8 km trail down to the Mount Cook Airport. To access the remaining trail on the other side of the Tasman River, a short helicopter ride is required (~$125pp). Several operators are available for this trip. The easy off-road trail continues down until it reaches the upper shores of Lake Pukaki. Continue along the eastern shore on Braemer and Hayman Rd before joining the off-road trail across Pukaki Flats into Twizel. This tail skirts the southern shores of the lake, looking back up towards the Alps and Aoraki/Mt Cook in the background.

Twizel to Lake Ohau (38 km)

A short and easier day first takes riders up to the Ohau Weir, following back country roads. There is an alternative route along a 4wd track, which is rougher and mainly intended as a detour for when the Weir is open and in flood. From the weir, an off-road track follows the southern edge of the lake to Lake Ohau Village (31 km). It is a further 7 km up a quiet road to the comfortable Lake Ohau Lodge.

Ohau to Otematata (69 km)

The first 11 km ascend to the highest point of the trail, 900m above sea level. There are great views on this section back over the basin from where you've come. The trail continues back down the ridge to a historic woolshed and rest area at the top of Quailburn Road. It is an easier ride down from here towards Omarama. If you have the energy, there is a 14 km side trip (return) up Henburn Rd to access the iconic Clay Cliffs.

After a bite to eat in Omarama, there are 24 km still to cover, but the riding and pace gets much easier than the morning's trails, with a combination of sealed road and smooth shingle and only one small climb over Otematata Saddle.

Otematata to Duntroon (68 km)

This section shows off the scale of the hydro generation on the upper Waitaki, as you pass three large hydro dams. After a short, steep climb up to Benmore Dam, follow the shores of Lake Aviemore to the Dam at the far end. After crossing the dam here, the trail follows SH 83 past the Waitaki Dam down to Kurow (40 km).

The afternoon more or less follows the braided river valley down to Duntroon, on smooth off-road track. There are a couple of climbs out of the valley, and when in flood, some short detours maybe required to cross side rivers.

Duntroon to Oamaru (54 km)

You finally leave the alpine feel behind as you wind down the final section, through greener pastures, at times following an old rail corridor. It gets noticeably flatter for the final 30 km as you approach the historic town of Oamaru. The town has seen somewhat of a revival of late, with its museums, galleries and cafe's celebrating the Victorian architecture and steampunk culture of the town. If you haven't had enough riding, the local penguin colony is not much further down the road!

Omarama Top 10 Holiday Park
The Omarama Top 10 Holiday Park, one of New Zealand’s Premier Holiday Parks, is set in the high country of New Zealand’s South Island. We are the ideal base for exploring this great region and offer a bed for every budget.
Glenmac Farmstay & Backpackers
Your hosts Kaye and Keith welcome you and guarantee an enjoyable and relaxing holiday experience for all visitors to their friendly high country farm accommodation.
Tekapo Holiday Homes
Tekapo Holiday Homes offers over 30 fully self contained holiday homes centrally located in Lake Tekapo.
Phone Number: 0800 573 364
BigSky Bed & Breakfast
The Big Sky B&B is set in the heart of the Mackenzie Country, Omarama is a convenient central stop off point on a journey through the South Island of New Zealand on the ALps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail.
Phone Number: 034389538
The Old Posthouse
Traditional Kiwi Cottage - B&B or Independent Holiday Accommodation.
Phone Number: 03 436 0667
Heartland Lodge
We are situated on a quiet rural road on the edge of Twizel, the nearest town to Mount Cook and close to the Alps to Ocean Cycle Trail.
Phone Number: 0063 3 435 0008
Three Rivers Lodge
Guest rooms offer comfortable beds and ensuite bathrooms. All rooms are modern with heat pumps, heated floors, LCD flat screen TVs, Sky TV including sports channels and free wireless internet.
Phone Number: 64 3 680 6899
Gladstone Cottage
It shares its six acres (2.5 hectares) of the world with our Curly Coated Retriever "Kharla", our Burmin Cat "Paris", and our home, which is in a very tranquil setting with magnificent views of the Ben Ohau Ranges.
Phone Number: 03 4350 527
Rivendell Lodge
Take time out for fishing, skiing, walking, golf or water sports.
Phone Number: 03 685 8833
Aoraki Lodge
Accommodation in the centre of Twizel, New Zealand
Your hosts during your stay in Twizel are Ian and Sandy Darwin. We look forward to welcoming you to Aoraki Lodge and invite you to relax in the informal atmosphere of our Lodge which is set amongst a relaxing, rambling “country-style” garden.
Phone Number: +64 3 435 0300
Tekapo Springs
Tekapo Springs offers a unique mix of recreation and relaxation in one stunning location.
Pedal & Paddle Aoraki
Two Wheels is All it Takes
Pedal and Paddle are your adventure tourism experts and offer great mountain bike and kayak adventures on New Zealand's stunning South Island.
Helibike.com
Heli-Bike and Mountain Bike Tours
The Helibike team have lived, worked and biked in the Mt Cook/Mackenzie area for years and used this knowledge and love of the region to create an amazing backcountry mountain biking adventure suitable for all abilities… Imagine flying high into the mountains behind Twizel and seeing stunning views of the...
Stoneridge Horse Treks
Specialising in horsetreks from 1hr through to all day rides for up to 3 people. Catering from learners thru to experienced riders. Situated at Otiake 12 km below Kurow close to the cycle trail.
Phone Number: 03 436 0216
Alpine Recreation
Trek : Climb : Ski
In Mount Cook warm-up for your ride with a spectacular mountain trek up to or across Ball Pass, or get even more adventurous with a climbing course or guided ascent. In Lake Tekapo tramp into the Southern Alps on the Tekapo Trek.
Phone Number: 0800 006 096

Other Nearby NZ Cycle Trails