Image credits (clockwise from left): Tarnbrae Track and Lake Ōhau (Jonathan Kennett); Pukaki Flats (Jason Menard); Lake Pukaki/Aoraki Mt Cook (Geoff Gabites/Cycle Journeys)
Combining a good portion of the A2O Great Ride and a gentle climb over the Hakataramea Pass, this route bursts with natural splendour – mighty alps, surreal glacier-fed lakes and tussocky highlands. 

Starting from Lake Tekapo village, the ride follows the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail along the canal roads to vivid Lake Pukaki with Aoraki/Mt Cook as a backdrop (weather permitting!). It then continues across the Mackenzie Country flats to reach the old hydro town of Twizel before heading through to Lake Ōhau and over low foothills to Omarama. From there it hops from lake to lake down the Waitaki Valley before branching away at Kurow and climbing over Hakataramea Pass to Dog Kennel Corner and back to Lake Tekapo village.

This is a ride with some awesome off the bike-attractions and detours. Here are just some of them.


  • an al fresco hot soak at Tekapo Springs or Omarama Hot Tubs
  • stargazing at Lake Tekapo’s Mt John Observatory
  • detour to Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park
  • refreshing swimming in the hydrolakes
  • friendly Twizel town; try the local Burkes brew at the Ministry of Works bar
  • the view from Pukaki B power station – a hidden gem
  • new off-road section between Sailors Cutting and Benmore Dam
  • striking hydropower architecture including Benmore Dam
  • additional riding up Ōhau Valley including the 30km wind up to Monument Hut

Sweet new off-road section along Lake Benmore (Hamish Seaton)

A more detailed route description and map for this ride can be found in the Kennett Brothers guidebook, Bikepacking Aotearoa.