Photo copyright: Miles Holden

Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail

OverviewTrail Status: Open

Aoraki Mt Cook Village — Oamaru (6 days, 306km)

The Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail is the longest continuous ride in New Zealand and takes in some of the country’s most incredible scenery.

From New Zealand’s highest mountain, Aoraki Mt Cook, the trail descends over 2000ft and travels 300km to the coastal town of Oamaru. This trail showcases New Zealand’s geological, geographical and historical highlights from the Southern Alps to the Pacific Ocean.

Experience an unspoilt paradise in the South Island halfway between Christchurch and Queenstown where people come from all over the world to enjoy stunning vistas, wide open spaces and expansive landscapes.

The Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail encompasses a World Heritage National Park, glacial-fed lakes, hydro dam lakes, golden grasslands, limestone cliffs, Maori rock art and more.

Suitable for all abilities of cyclists, the trail includes a mixture of off- and on-road trail, which can be enjoyed in sections or in its entirety.

It’s recommended that you start from Aoraki Mt Cook Village (the Southern Alps) although there are numerous access points along the trail. A number of tour operators begin their tours to Aoraki Mt Cook from Christchurch.

This cycle trail is a joint initiative involving the Waitaki and Mackenzie District Councils and the New Zealand Cycle Trail project.

Aoraki Mt Cook & the Tasman Glacier

Aoraki Mt Cook Village is perfectly positioned to take advantage of some sensational scenery. Aoraki Mt Cook towers above a range of massive peaks in the World Heritage-listed Aoraki Mt Cook National Park.

Explore the mountains on a walk or hike, take a scenic flight above the dazzling scenery, go skiing or snow-boarding (heli-skiing and glacier skiing available), or take a guided boat tour on a lake and experience the mighty Tasman Glacier. Also visit the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre at the Hermitage Hotel.

Duntroon

Duntroon is home to the fascinating Elephant Rocks – intriguing limestone formations – and key fossil sites. Abseiling and rock climbing is available here with a local tour company.

Be Prepared

The Alps 2 Ocean Trail is a grade 2-3 (easy to intermediate) cycle trail.

The trail includes a number of sections on public roads, where riders should be prepared to meet vehicles. You may also encounter stock grazing along the roadside or being moved.

The trail descends approximately 2000 feet, so ensure you take a few layers of clothing and be prepared for sudden changes in the weather.

There is a range of services and accommodation available in the towns dotted along the trail, including Mount Cook Village, Twizel, Omarama, Otemetata, Kurow, Duntroon and Oamaru.  Public toilets are also available at Lake Pukaki and Lake Ohau (with plans for more to be installed along the trail).

MOBILE PHONE COVERAGE: Coverage is generally good along the trail, though may be patchy in places.

DRINKING WATER: Water is available in the towns along the trail.

Weather Info

The Alps 2 Ocean trail is characterised by two distinct climate zones across its length: Inland South Island and Southern New Zealand.

These zones are largely determined by the presence of the Southern Alps extending the length of the South Island, which has a major effect on the climate of the various regions and produces much sharper climatic contrasts from west to east, than from north to south.

Riders are advised to be prepared for all weather conditions.

Regional forecasts

Featured Trail Partner
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Trail Partner

Inspiration, News and Updates

Fancy cycling the greatest rides in the land as a job? That's exactly what trail designer and cartographer Gary Patterson accomplished over the past six months. Gary rode and mapped our 22 Great Rides to develop the first mobile app for the trails. The free app downloaded as 'Great Rides' from Apple's App Store ...

 

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Discover another part of New Zealand these July school holidays with Heritage & CityLife Hotels in 15 destinations and WIN*. Book your school holiday accommodation online directly with Heritage & CityLife Hotels between 3 June and 21 July 2017 for stay between 7 July and 21 July 2017 for the chance to WIN*...
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TRAIL SAFETY UPDATE: Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail DATE ADVISED: 29 May 2017 TRAIL DIVERSION - Weston to Saleyards Road SECTION 8 - Duntroon to Oamaru ISSUE - Please note there will be diversions in place in Weston to allow for subdivision construction work. The work is scheduled to start on June 6th and is expe...

 

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TRAIL STATUS UPDATE: Flooding between Kurow & Duntroon SECTION 7: Kurow to Duntroon DATE NOTIFIED: April 6th 2017 ISSUE: Due to severe weather there is flooding on the Otiake and Otekaieke Rivers. The flood routes are covered in water and not able to be cycled on. If you opt to use State Highway 83 please ...

 

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TRAIL UPDATE - Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail (Pukaki Flats closed March 22nd) DATE NOTIFIED: March 21st 2017 SECTION 2: Pukaki Flats ISSUE: The Pukaki Flats will be closed March 22nd from 6am until approximately 5pm. This is so Broadspectrum can spray Meridian owned land. Please note you will have to make plans...

 

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TRAIL SAFETY UPDATE - Trucks on Hayman Road SECTION 2 - Landslip Creek to Braemar Station DATE NOTIFIED - February 9th 2017 ISSUE - Starting on February 13th 2017, Meridian would like to inform all users of Hayman Road and Braemar Road that for a period of three to five weeks Downer NZ will be hauling rocks from Lan...

 

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The spillover at the Ohau Weir has now receded and it's safe again to cross. It's a beautiful calm sunny day for cycling, enjoy! More information on riding the trail and maps can be found here. ...

 

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TRAIL STATUS UPDATE - Ohau Weir flooded SECTION 3 - Twizel to Lake Ohau Lodge DATE NOTIFIED - 19/1/17 ISSUE - Due to recent rain the Ohau Weir is flooded and cannot be safely crossed until further notice. Please see the Ohau Weir flood route on the Section 3 map as an alternate route to Lake Ohau Lodge. ...

 

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TRAIL STATUS UPDATE: Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail - Ohau Weir flooded SECTION 3: Twizel to Lake Ohau Lodge DATE NOTIFIED: May 15th 2016 ISSUE: The Ohau Weir is flooded. You cannot cross while water is flowing across the weir. Please use the Ohau Weir flood route as shown on the Section 3 map. You can view the Ohau...

 

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TRAIL STATUS UPDATE - TRAIL CLOSURE SECTION 7: Kurow to Duntroon DATE NOTIFIED: May 6th ISSUE: Trail beside the Waitaki River will be closed May 7th & 8th as it is opening weekend for duck shooting. Signs have been posted at the entrance to these sections. Please use SH83 instead. The trail parallel to the hi...

 

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TRAIL STATUS UPDATE: Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail DATE: 22 March 2016 We are absolutely completely and utterly delighted to inform everyone the Trail is now fully open. ...

 

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URGENT TRAIL STATUS UPDATE: Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail SECTION 1 CLOSED (Tasman Point to Jollie Carpark) DATE NOTIFIED: March 21 2016 ISSUE: The Tasman River has completely washed away the trail near the Jollie Carpark. There is no land to cross on. We are urgently seeking an alternate route and will publish an ...

 

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TRAIL STATUS UPDATE - FIRE TRAIL - Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail DATE: January 9th, 2016 SECTION 7: Kurow to Duntroon ISSUE: There is a fire by the Waitaki River, east of the the Oteike River. Until further details emerge this section is closed between Kurow and the Otekaieke River....

 

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The Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail has had a flurry of media coverage over the last few weeks. One of the stories was about Ashley Cassin, a man who most certainly likes a challenge. Ashley who is from the West Coast pledged to ride the entire 301km Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail in one day for Blue September, a month devoted to...

 

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Jason Menard
This is New Zealand, in all its colour and beauty – from the highest mountain, past great lakes and river, down to the ocean. It's a journey that will stay with you always. JASON MENARD – Tourism Waitaki