Getting amped for the Alps 2 Ocean

Published 2020-09-22

If the sight of New Zealand’s highest mountain isn’t enough to inspire you to ride this epic trail, allow us to share a few more reasons why you go A2O this summer. A free training plan will get you ride-ready too!

Aoraki/Mt Cook is just one unforgettable sight on this epic journey from the Southern Alps to the Pacific Ocean. Braided rivers thread through broad, glacier-carved valleys. Turquoise hydro-lakes nestle into the golden tussock of open high country. And bizarre, limestone rock forms lie scattered across rolling green pasture. If you’re looking for natural grandeur, this ride will deliver it.

Along the way, small towns and settlements provide atmospheric accommodation, friendly pubs and cafes, and easy access to shuttles and other services. There are plenty of off-the-bike activities, too, including wine tasting, penguin spotting, star gazing, and soaking in hot tubs under incredible skies.

But wait, there’s more! New trail developments and a free training plan make this summer the time to ride…

New trail from Sailor’s Cutting to Benmore

A new 16km section of trail in the Waitaki Valley means the A2O is almost entirely off-road. The section from Sailors Cutting to Benmore Dam is under construction and should be open by Christmas. The new section takes in stunning vistas not previously seen from the old road route (see below).

This opening of this new section marks a major milestone for the eight-year-old A2O as it means nearly all of the 306km trail is off state highways (with the exception of major road crossings and town centre riding). There is still some riding on backroads, but these are peaceful and scenic with low vehicular traffic.

New off-road trail under construction from Sailor’s Cutting to Benmore (3M Contracting)

New Awakino bridge

This new dedicated pedestrian and cycle bridge crosses the Awakino River on the Waitaki Dam to Kurow section of trail – another great A2O project to take riders off the road. The 24-meter, 5-tonne span was lifted in in just 30 minutes and slotted in perfectly – nice work Recreation Construction!

Waiareka community planting

In classic Kiwi community spirit, a planting day in September saw over 70 people turn up – including school kids, teachers, and the local Lions Club and landowners – to plant native trees, shrubs and grasses and landscape the area. A big thanks to all those involved, including Elderslie Farm who have freed up land for the trail route and planting.

Care in the community – planting day on the A2O; from left to right: Megan Rowlands, Vaimoe Sogivalu, Devine Esela and Gary Ross (Rob Miller).

'Save trees and enjoy the bike ride' – a charming, on-point plant protector personalised by a local pupil (Rob Miller)


Get ready to ride with Janet Stark's 12-week A2O training plan

Following on from her fabulous Timber Trail and Otago Central Rail Trail training programmes, professional cycle coach Janet Stark now brings you one for riding the Alps 2 Ocean.

Fun and achievable, it’ll help get you up to speed not just on fitness and bike skills, but also with practicalities such as equipment, bike set-up and clothing options. The easy-to-follow programme builds steadily each week, keeping you on track to achieve – and enjoy – your A2O adventure.

Janet is an accredited cycle coach and educator. ‘My goal is to help you on your own cycling journey – getting you on your bike and loving it!’

'Don't limit your challenges, challenge your limits.' says cycle coach Janet Stark.

Download Janet’s A2O training programme here.

Start planning your Alps 2 Ocean adventure now.

You can learn more about cycle coach Janet Stark and download her terrific Timber Trail and Otago Central Rail Trail training programmes here.

'Well, hello from Lake Benmore!' on the Alps 2 Ocean (