The Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail is New Zealand in all its colour and natural beauty – from the highest mountains, past great lakes and rivers, and down to the ocean. I had the greatest pleasures of spending 6 days on this trail that start in the alternative Tekapo to Oamaru in April 2019. Here, I have highlighted some of the experiences, photos and videos taken throughout the tour. I hope you would enjoy this journey as much as I did when I wrote this and reminisced the past times.
Day 1 – Lake Tekapo
I undertook this tour with Adventure South NZ – I was very glad to have the wonderful support, guidance and help from the guides. The whole experience was made much more wonderful with the group and I highly recommend Adventure South NZ!
The Cycle Trail starts at the base of the majestic Aoraki Mt. Cook in the National Park or alternatively at Tekapo, with both routes meeting on the shores of the turquoise waters of Lake Pukaki. From there the Trail takes in Twizel and the shoreline of Lake Ohau before climbing to the highest point on the Trail where you view the magnificence of the Mackenzie basin before dropping down to Omarama. The Waitaki Valley delivers a geo-park of wonders, you meander past more lakes and rivers, ride through vineyards and experience ever changing vistas on the way towards the Pacific coast. Your final destination is Oamaru, a town famous for its neo classical ‘Oamaru Stone’ Victorian buildings, art galleries and the little blue penguins. For more detailed information of the Trail, visit the official Alps to Ocean Website Here.
Day 2 – To Twizel
The Trail continues along a quiet country road that follows the eastern shore of Lake Pukaki, passing the Tekapo B power station, enjoying the outstanding vistas across Lake Pukaki towards the Southern Alps. A wide range of native plants grow along the lake edge including kowhai and flax, as well as exotic species such as larch and pines.
I did 46km today. It was drizzling in the morning but turned out be quite a nice day despite the forecast. One section of today’s trail was soooo windyyyy that I could not ride at all. I kept getting imbalanced and falling off the bike and so we walked…VERY SLOWLY!
After lunch, we drove to Mt. Cook National Park to take a short hike for a viewpoint of Tasman Glacier.
Day 3 – Lake Ohau Lodge
Due to unfavourable conditions, the trail for today was altered (kind of doing the A2O in reverse). Total distance covered was 33km (I missed a few kilometres here and there due to the very steep uphill and downhill that would probably be better if I have the training for it).
I am really impressed with our guides (Sue and Kaye) from Adventure South NZ! Their experience, flexibility and patience definitely made today a rideable day despite the weather. A huge shout out to them!
Day 4 – Twizel to Lake Ohau Lodge
Another cloudy and moody start to our fourth day of A2O Cycling Tour. But the clouds cleared to a very sunny day with clear blue skies! Today, we did the Twizel to Lake Ohau Lodge, totalling 39km.
All of us were exhausted after 3 days of cycling. My whole body was very sore especially the legs, arms and bums. I was running out of energy already! A few of the braver, more experienced and determined ones did the very challenging trail from Lake Ohau Lodge to Omarama (the Tarnbrae Track). Some of us just hang out around the peak of the Tarnbrae Track, then chauffeured to Omarama in the comfortable support van.
Day 5 – Kurow to Duntroon then to Burnside Homestead (Enfield)
It was a chilly start but the sun was out! Yay! We started riding some off-road trails with a few climbs and switchbacks for 5km. My upper thighs were seriously burning on the hills! Then we rode from the town of Kurow to Duntroon for another 29km. Today’s bike trails included river crossings (more specifically dried river bed) and tunnel! This cycling tour comprised of so many different kind of terrains!
I skipped many of the steep hills and also tricky downhills and rejoined the team for another 10km, riding from Windsor to Burnside Homestead where we stayed for the night. Total distance covered was 44km.
Day 6 – To Oamaru – Our Final Destination
Our final day of A2O Cycling Tour!!! Woo hooo! Hard to believe I made it through to the last day! It was a very cold and foggy morning to start our final day of riding. We rode from our accommodation (Burnside Homestead) to Friendly Bay in Oamaru overlooking the Pacific Ocean, 25km in distance.
I really could not believe that I have cycled 222km for the past six days! And on a normal bike! I am so grateful for the whole experience. Everyday was a challenge especially on gravel as this was my first time riding on gravel! So thankful to make it through without any major injuries except a few bruises, as expected.
I am very thankful for the two incredible guides, Sue and Kaye from Adventure South NZ for their immense support, guidance and help throughout the whole tour. I would not make it to day 6 without them! I am so inspired and encouraged by the other riders. They were so determined and supportive too. I am grateful to be riding alongside them.
(I really need to get a bike when I am back in Melbourne and keep on riding! I hope I do not lose this momentum and that it would encourage me to continue cycling in Melbourne!) – I wrote this in April 2019 at the end of the tour – I am happy to inform that I have bought a bike in October 2019 and have tried to continue cycling in Melbourne! However, 2020 threw us a bomb! To stay active amid the endless lockdowns and restrictions, I bought an indoor trainer (Wahoo Kickr) so that I can continue training at home!
All photos and videos were taken using iPhoneX.
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