Map of Cycle New Zealand: Alps to Ocean including New Zealand

Put the brakes on daily life and escape on a South Island lakeside ride from the Alps to the Ocean

If there’s a land made for cycling, this is it. After a visit and short hike in the Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park follow the path of the bright blue waters of Lake Pukaki near Twizel as it flows down from the Southern Alps, twisting through valleys, passing through lakes, and rolling out into the open Pacific Ocean at Oamaru. Jump on the saddle and you’ll flow down descents from forested summits, twist along roads squeezed between peaks and shores, and roll along backroads, side trails and the official Alps 2 Ocean trail. With an expert leader directing the pack, the only directions you’ll need is when to detour to the best trails and special stops only the locals know. With memorable accommodation and tastes of New Zealand along the way, this is a real gateway to some seriously great outdoors.

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Terms & Conditions

Start
Christchurch, New Zealand
Finish
Oamaru, New Zealand
Destination
New Zealand
Style
Original
Theme
Cycling
Code
PHXA
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 11

Why you'll love this trip

  • The South Island scenery will take your breath away in more ways than one – enjoy a short hike in Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park then cycle mostly traffic-free trails from the majestic Southern Alps to the shores of the Pacific Ocean.

  • Taste some of New Zealand’s best produce, from trying lake-caught salmon to sampling drops from the country’s newest wine region before the rest of the world discovers them.

  • Experience firsthand the famous hospitality of the locals, with memorable stays from lakeside lodges to unique, historic huts.

  • Experience the best New Zealand scenery has to offer – from peaks and gorges to turquoise-coloured lakes – with nothing but fresh air separating you.

Is this trip right for you?

  • This trip is new to our range this year. And while we have thoroughly researched every detail of the logistics, new destinations and working with new partners can sometimes throw us some unexpected surprises. More often than not, it’ll be a great surprise. But every now and again there might be a hiccup. We like to think that’s what puts the ‘adventure’ in ‘adventure travel’. For Cycling trips these changes are usually around finding even better roads to ride on, which can alter the distance/time we spend riding on a day to day basis, but can sometimes even extend to accommodation or included activities if needed.

  • Accommodation on the Alps to Ocean Trail can be booked out months in advance so there may be occasions where we stay in locations nearby to those advertised. Your leader will inform you at the initial group meeting if this is the case on your departure.

  • Unlike many Intrepid Cycling trips this itinerary does not have a full-time support vehicle constantly following the group. As well as the short cycling distances making it unnecessary, no vehicles are allowed to drive along the vehicle-free trails we use. Your luggage is always transported for you (by vehicle) between accommodations.

  • Due to the relatively small distances cycled on this trip we have a single leader that rides with the group. There may be times when the leader asks one of the group to act as a back marker.

Itinerary

Kia-ora! Welcome to Christchurch. This cycling adventure from the Alps to the Ocean kicks off with a pick-up at 8am. After the meeting you’ll jump in a private vehicle to head past Lake Tekapo (approximately 4 hours), and on to the southern shores of the turquoise-coloured Lake Pukaki. With the stunning peaks of the Southern Alps and the towering Mt Cook close by, it’s a truly remarkable sight. Continue to nearby Twizel for a quick bite for lunch then be fitted with your bike. After lunch drive north (approximately 1 hour) to the iconic Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park and swap your biking shoes for hiking shoes and enjoy a short hike in the national park along part of the Hooker Valley Track. The views of Mt Cook are nothing short of spectacular. Afterwards return to Twizel and perhaps join the locals for dinner (the locally caught trout and salmon are amazing!) before settling in for a well-earned sleep.
Accommodation
  • Hotel/Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • 1-2 Hour Hike
  • 6 Days Bicycle Hire
  • 5 Days Guided Cycling
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
There is no included cycling today. It’s very important that you are at the designated meeting point at the assigned time. We will be collecting insurance and emergency contact details at this time. If you are going to be late please let your booking agent know.
Pickup will be at 8am outside the Canterbury Museum at 11 Rolleston Avenue.
Enjoy breakfast at the cafe next door then take the short drive (approximately 20 mins) to the eastern shores of Lake Pukaki for your first ride, a flat and leisurely 24 kilometre cycle back down to Twizel, arriving in time for lunch. From here set off on a longer ride (approximately 38 kilometres) from Twizel to the western shore of Lake Ohau, where the clear waters of the Hopkins and Dobson Rivers flow directly off the Southern Alps. While longer in distance this is an easy ride as you make your way in the shadows of the Ben Ohau mountain range along flat sealed road beside the Pukaki canal and past Loch Cameron and the Ohau canal. Leave the tarmac and take the smooth gravel road that skirts the south shore of Lake Ohau, passing a property known as Maori swamp. Re-join the tarmac and enjoy some stunning views of the crystal-clear lake on your right and the brooding mountains on your left – truly spectacular. Cycle on to your secluded home for the night, the locally owned and spectacularly located Lake Ohau Lodge.
Accommodation
  • Lodge (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Special Information

Riding Distance: Today's riding distance is approximately 62 kilometres, mostly flat, along approx. 70% sealed and 30% gravel roads.
Today is a tougher and slightly more technical day as you leave Lake Ohau behind and enjoy an easy cycle to Freehold Creek (with stunning views back across to the Ben Ohau Mountain Range) before starting your first real climb of the trip. Test your fitness (or e-bike battery) among the native Beech forests as you cycle up (approximately 11 kilometres) to the highest point of the trail. At 900 metres above sea level the magnificent views over the Mackenzie Basin, Ben Ohau and Lake Ohau and Lake Ruataniwha make the climb worthwhile. As does the rolling descent to the historic woolshed at Quailburn Road where you'll pause for a well-earned packed lunch. From here it is a gentle ride on a quiet backroad and a short side trail to take you all the way into the small town of Omarama. Depending on the fitness and preferences of the group, there is an option to use the support vehicle for the harder parts of the trail. There is also an option today to cycle to the nearby Omarama Clay Cliffs. This side trip will add an extra 14 kilometres, but the sight of these surreal cliffs – tall pinnacles separated by narrow ravines – makes it a worthwhile diversion.
Accommodation
  • Hotel/Guesthouse (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Special Information
Riding Distance: Today's riding distance is approximately 45 kilometres, including a long uphill of approx. 11kms followed by rolling descents, along approx. 20% sealed and 80% gravel/shingle roads and tracks
It’s your longest day in the saddle today – around 67 kilometres in total but not overly strenuous or technical – as you make your way through lake country along 30 kilometres of dedicated trail from Omarama. Ride east down the Waitaki Valley, past the Chain Hills Viewpoint, then follow the edge of Lake Benmore to the oddly named Pumpkin Point (seriously, we’ve never seen a single pumpkin here!). This section includes a new route through the Benmore Gorge onto the top of the dramatic Benmore Dam. After lunch enjoy the quiet sealed road from Otematata alongside the southern shore of Lake Aviemore, once again cycling right up to the Hydro-dam wall before enjoying the last 16 kilometres of dedicated trail, past the haunting Wharekuri ruins, mostly downhill to Kurow. On the banks of the braided Waitaki River which separates the Canterbury and Otago provinces, Kurow (birthplace of the legendary All Black Ritchie McCaw) is an ideal place to simply put your feet up at the end of a long day’s ride, and perhaps enjoy a well-earned drink from one of the local producers in New Zealand’s newest wine region.
Accommodation
  • Hotel/Guesthouse with shared facilities (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Riding Distance: Today's riding distance is approximately 67kilometres, mostly undulating and slightly downhill, along approx. 40% sealed and 60% gravel roads.
Leaving sleepy Kurow behind you, enjoy a relaxed ride of 28 kilometres down the valley on the mostly traffic-free smooth shingle road alongside the Waitaki River. Pass vineyards (stopping at the River-T winery), the Takiroa Maori rock art site and Duntroon Wetlands, before arriving into Duntroon itself just in time for lunch (not included) at the charming and iconic Duntroon Hotel. No need to worry about your sweaty cycling clothes here as the local proprietors are incredibly welcoming to cyclists of all kinds. After lunch it’s back onto the bikes as you deviate slightly from the official trail and take an 19-kilometre side trip into Otago to your home for the night, the historic and welcoming Tokarahi Huts. Built by one of Oamaru's finest craftsmen using salvaged materials from the original building that once stood on the site, and with a welcome from the farm owner himself, this is one of the best examples of locally owned and operated sustainable businesses in the region, and one we’re proud to be associated with.
Accommodation
  • Hut with shared facilities (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Today's riding distance is approximately 47 kilometres, mostly flat/downhill, on smooth gravel/shingle roads.
Today is your last day on the bike as you make your way to the South Pacific Coast and the charming seaside town of Oamaru. After a good early breakfast leave Tokarari behind and rejoin the ‘official’ trail, passing through the historic Rakis Railway Tunnel and following the old railway line to Windsor and all the way through to Enfield. Take an early lunch then enjoy your final ride of the trip with a last 12 kilometres into Oamaru via the Botanical gardens – the oldest such gardens in New Zealand – and Historic Victorian precinct, with a stunning finish at Oamaru Harbour and the shores of the Pacific Ocean itself.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Today's riding distance is approximately 44 kilometres, mostly flat/downhill, mostly on smooth gravel/shingle roads. Please note that the trip finishes on arrival into Oamaru and no accommodation is included in Oamaru tonight. For those wanting to continue on to Christchurch, Dunedin or Queenstown, there are a number of public transport options available including the Intercity or Atomic bus company (not included). If you plan to stay on in Oamaru there is plenty to see and do, including a visit to the Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony and the unique Steampunk HQ.

Meals

5 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

Transport

Bicycle (e-bike available, subject to availability), Minivan

Accommodation

Hotel/Guesthouse (3 nts), Lodge (1nt), Hut (1 nt)

Included activities

  • 1-2 Hour Hike
  • 6 Days Bicycle Hire
  • 5 Days Guided Cycling

Dates & availability

Trip departures are unavailable.

There are currently no scheduled departures on our Cycle New Zealand: Alps to Ocean trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.

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Important notes

1. This trip starts at 8am in Christchurch and finishes on arrival into Oamaru on Day 6 (approx 1pm)
2. Please note we do not currently offer pre/post trip accommodation in Oamaru .
3. To complete this trip it is important that you are both confident and competent in riding a bicycle.
4. On this trip we have a single leader that rides with the group.
5. This trip includes a support vehicle and your luggage is transported for you from accommodation to accommodation each day.
6. Our riding is done mostly on a well graded and maintained gravel cycle path, however there are a few short but rough sections of trail. We recommend those not confident descending on this terrain should walk these sections or use the support vehicle.
7. As accommodation on this trip is multi-share, single travellers will share a room with other travellers of the same gender. If you’d prefer not to share, a single room supplement (excluding night 5 at Tokhari) is available at an additional charge. Please ask your travel consultant for more details.
8. An e-bike option (at additional cost) may be available on this trip. We have limited numbers of these bikes available and they are on an 'on request' basis only. A request does not guarantee an e-bike, only a confirmed booking. Please ask your agent for more details at the time of booking.

Essential trip information

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