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6 Day Alps to Ocean Classic Guided Cycle Trail

Days
6

Pricing From
$3095

Difficulty

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Overview

Experience the majesty of Aoraki Mt Cook and the sweeping tussocklands of the Mackenzie Basin in this 6 day cycling trip as you experience the ancient Maori trading and food gathering routes out to the coast at historic Oamaru.

Along the way you will be enchanted by the beautiful canal bike rides from Tekapo to Lake Pukaki and onwards to Lake Ohau.

Tour Grading:  Medium      

This trip is ideal for recreational cyclists. All tours can be adapted by the guides for recreational or stronger cyclists wanting to cover more ground.

Trip Highlights

  • Embark on an unforgettable journey along the entire Alps to Ocean Cycle Trail starting from Tekapo.
  • Optionally unwind in the soothing hot pools at Lake Tekapo.
  • Trek through the breathtaking landscapes of Aoraki/Mt Cook World Heritage National Park.
  • Ride along the vibrant turquoise waters of the hydro lakes.
  • Experience world-famous stargazing under the expansive night skies.
  • Discover the delightful Victorian Precinct in Oamaru.
  • Savor delicious meals and relish the company of fellow travelers.
  • Sit back and relax as your guides manage all the logistics and operate the support vehicle.

Alps to Ocean Cycle Tour

Cyclist on Alps to Ocean Cycle Tour

Alps to Ocean Cycle Tour

Cyclist on Alps to Ocean Cycle Tour

Alps to Ocean Cycle Tour

Support vehicle and cyclists on Alps to Ocean Cycle Tour

Alps to Ocean Cycle Tour

Cyclists on a bridge on Tekapo Canals on Alps to Ocean Cycle Tour

Alps to Ocean Cycle Tour

Cyclists at Ohau on Alps to Ocean Cycle Tour

Alps to Ocean Cycle Tour

Lake Tekapo and the Church of the Good Shepherd

Alps to Ocean Cycle Tour

Mount Cook Lily at Mount Cook, New Zealand

Alps to Ocean Cycle Tour

Reflections in Lake Tekapo - Fraser Gunn

Alps to Ocean Cycle Tour

Sunset at Evans Crossing near Timaru

Itinerary

Open All
Day 1Christchurch to Tekapo Up to 44km riding distance

Important: The night before your tour, your guide will call your pre tour Christchurch accommodation to advise what time they will collect you the following morning. Please make sure you have given us information as to where you are staying.

Your Alps to Ocean (A2O) adventure begins with the drive across the picturesque Canterbury Plains. After refreshments in the country town of Geraldine, we’ll continue through rolling farmland to reach Fairlie where we’ll stop for lunch. The scenic journey over Burke’s Pass is a fitting introduction to the famous Mackenzie Country, where Lake Tekapo soon appears as a bright blue jewel. From here, we'll warm the legs up with a ride on quiet backroads to Lake Alexandrina, a serene high country lake. Back at Tekapo Village, there's time to wander along the lakeside to see the Church of the Good Shepherd, then soak away any first-day aches in Tekapo Springs outdoor hot pools or take a night-sky tour.

Cycling distance: up to 44km

Accommodaiton : Lake Tekapo Village Motel

Meals: L,D

Day 2Lake Tekapo to Twizel Up to 55km Riding distance

Our second day marks the start of our Alps to Ocean journey with a ride along the hydro canals to reach a high terrace overlooking Lake Pukaki and the surrounding mountains. The A2O then dips down to meet the lakeshore and across expansive tussockland to reach Twizel. From here we drive to Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park where there is the chance to visit the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre (own expense) or the excellent national park visitor centre (free of charge) before we embark on a short but memorable walk. We'll then head back to Twizel, the friendly wee town that’s our stopping point for the night.

Cycling distance:

  • Tekapo to Lake Pukaki: 35km.
  • Lake Pukaki to Twizel: 20km

Accommodation : Mountain Chalets, Twizel

Meals: B,L

Day 3Twizel to Omarama64-83km Riding distance

The stunning scenery keeps coming as we ride alongside the Pukaki and Ohau canals, then Lake Ohau where we stop for lunch. Confident riders can continue on the trail to Tarnbrae Saddle (900m), the highpoint of the A2O. The vast Mackenzie Country views are just reward for the climb. Alternatively, riders can transfer to the historic woolshed at Quailburn for a much easier ride down to Omarama – our stop for the night. Translating as ‘place of light’, Omarama is known for its extraordinarily clear skies. They are best appreciated at the local hot pools where you can soak in fresh, mountain water (own expense).

Cycle distance:

  • 38km (Twizel–Lake Ohau);
  • 44km Lake Ohau–Omarama via Tarnbrae Saddle or 26km (Quailburn–Omarama (short option)

Accommodation : Sierra Motel, Omarama

Meals:  B,L,D

Day 4Omarama to Kurow67km Riding distance

Today’s ride takes us down the Waitaki Valley, known for its hydro lakes and dams. First, we follow the trail along the shores of Lake Benmore to Sailors Cutting. From there, we join the lakeshore to traverse around the shoreline of rocky outcrops, little beaches and even tree covered islands. The trail then drops us down from above the Benmore Dam to rejoin the quiet lakeside road. There is an easier option for less confident riders who would prefer to avoid this more technical section. Regrouped, it’s a fun downhill cycle towards Aviemore Dam, where we’ll enjoy a picnic by the lake. We’ll arrive at Kurow with plenty of time to explore the town’s surrounds. Highlights include beautifully restored St Albans Church and wine-tasting at local vineyards. We’ll stay overnight in Kurow in an elegant lodge serving dinner showcasing local produce.

Cycle distance: 67km

Accommodation : Waitaki Braids, Kurow

Meals:  B,L,D

Day 5Kurow to Burnside68km Riding distance

This morning the cycle trail takes us along the banks of the Waitaki River, past vineyards and a Maori rock art site to reach the small town of Duntroon. From there, we head inland into rolling country and wander around the unique Elephant Rocks, huge formations strewn across a field. Picking up the old railway line, we’ll ride through Raki's tunnel before rolling downhill to the settlement of Windsor. The historic Burnside Homestead is a fitting place for our final dinner together and a well-deserved night’s sleep.

Cycle distance: 28km (Kurow–Duntroon) & 40km (Duntroon–Burnside Homestead)

Accommodation : Burnside Homestead

Meals:  B,L,D

Day 6Windsor to Christchurch via Oamaru19km Riding distance

We get to enjoy one more ride on the A2O before we begin our road trip back to Christchurch. Setting off from our accommodation, we keep on rolling through picturesque rural countryside. We pass Oamaru Stone quarry, where stone has been extracted since the nineteenth century. We’ll see its influence on local architecture once we reach Oamaru. After riding through the town’s delightful municipal gardens, we’ll reach the Victorian Precinct and harbourside park where the A2O finish-line sign offers the perfect photo-op. If time allows, explore the shops and galleries or visit the mind-boggling Steampunk HQ museum. After a late lunch, we’ll begin our journey north across the Canterbury Plains, arriving in central Christchurch early evening.

Cycle distance: 19km (Burnside–Oamaru)

Meals:  B

Cost per person

Jul 2024 - Jun 2025

  • Trip Price: NZ$3,095
  • High Season: NZ$3,195

Extras

  • Single Supplement: NZ$895
  • Bike Hire: NZ$180
  • E-Bike Hire: NZ$600
  • Holiday Season surcharge: NZ$50

2025 Winter departures

  • Trip price: NZ$3,195
  • Single Supplement: NZ$950
  • Bike Hire: NZ$210
  • E-Bike Hire: NZ$600

Rates are correct at the time of publishing but are subject to change without prior notice.

Itinerary

Open All
Day 1Christchurch to Tekapo Up to 44km riding distance

Important: The night before your tour, your guide will call your pre tour Christchurch accommodation to advise what time they will collect you the following morning. Please make sure you have given us information as to where you are staying.

Your Alps to Ocean (A2O) adventure begins with the drive across the picturesque Canterbury Plains. After refreshments in the country town of Geraldine, we’ll continue through rolling farmland to reach Fairlie where we’ll stop for lunch. The scenic journey over Burke’s Pass is a fitting introduction to the famous Mackenzie Country, where Lake Tekapo soon appears as a bright blue jewel. From here, we'll warm the legs up with a ride on quiet backroads to Lake Alexandrina, a serene high country lake. Back at Tekapo Village, there's time to wander along the lakeside to see the Church of the Good Shepherd, then soak away any first-day aches in Tekapo Springs outdoor hot pools or take a night-sky tour.

Cycling distance: up to 44km

Accommodaiton : Lake Tekapo Village Motel

Meals: L,D

Day 2Lake Tekapo to Twizel Up to 55km Riding distance

Our second day marks the start of our Alps to Ocean journey with a ride along the hydro canals to reach a high terrace overlooking Lake Pukaki and the surrounding mountains. The A2O then dips down to meet the lakeshore and across expansive tussockland to reach Twizel. From here we drive to Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park where there is the chance to visit the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre (own expense) or the excellent national park visitor centre (free of charge) before we embark on a short but memorable walk. We'll then head back to Twizel, the friendly wee town that’s our stopping point for the night.

Cycling distance:

  • Tekapo to Lake Pukaki: 35km.
  • Lake Pukaki to Twizel: 20km

Accommodation : Mountain Chalets, Twizel

Meals: B,L

Day 3Twizel to Omarama64-83km Riding distance

The stunning scenery keeps coming as we ride alongside the Pukaki and Ohau canals, then Lake Ohau where we stop for lunch. Confident riders can continue on the trail to Tarnbrae Saddle (900m), the highpoint of the A2O. The vast Mackenzie Country views are just reward for the climb. Alternatively, riders can transfer to the historic woolshed at Quailburn for a much easier ride down to Omarama – our stop for the night. Translating as ‘place of light’, Omarama is known for its extraordinarily clear skies. They are best appreciated at the local hot pools where you can soak in fresh, mountain water (own expense).

Cycle distance:

  • 38km (Twizel–Lake Ohau);
  • 44km Lake Ohau–Omarama via Tarnbrae Saddle or 26km (Quailburn–Omarama (short option)

Accommodation : Sierra Motel, Omarama

Meals:  B,L,D

Day 4Omarama to Kurow67km Riding distance

Today’s ride takes us down the Waitaki Valley, known for its hydro lakes and dams. First, we follow the trail along the shores of Lake Benmore to Sailors Cutting. From there, we join the lakeshore to traverse around the shoreline of rocky outcrops, little beaches and even tree covered islands. The trail then drops us down from above the Benmore Dam to rejoin the quiet lakeside road. There is an easier option for less confident riders who would prefer to avoid this more technical section. Regrouped, it’s a fun downhill cycle towards Aviemore Dam, where we’ll enjoy a picnic by the lake. We’ll arrive at Kurow with plenty of time to explore the town’s surrounds. Highlights include beautifully restored St Albans Church and wine-tasting at local vineyards. We’ll stay overnight in Kurow in an elegant lodge serving dinner showcasing local produce.

Cycle distance: 67km

Accommodation : Waitaki Braids, Kurow

Meals:  B,L,D

Day 5Kurow to Burnside68km Riding distance

This morning the cycle trail takes us along the banks of the Waitaki River, past vineyards and a Maori rock art site to reach the small town of Duntroon. From there, we head inland into rolling country and wander around the unique Elephant Rocks, huge formations strewn across a field. Picking up the old railway line, we’ll ride through Raki's tunnel before rolling downhill to the settlement of Windsor. The historic Burnside Homestead is a fitting place for our final dinner together and a well-deserved night’s sleep.

Cycle distance: 28km (Kurow–Duntroon) & 40km (Duntroon–Burnside Homestead)

Accommodation : Burnside Homestead

Meals:  B,L,D

Day 6Windsor to Christchurch via Oamaru19km Riding distance

We get to enjoy one more ride on the A2O before we begin our road trip back to Christchurch. Setting off from our accommodation, we keep on rolling through picturesque rural countryside. We pass Oamaru Stone quarry, where stone has been extracted since the nineteenth century. We’ll see its influence on local architecture once we reach Oamaru. After riding through the town’s delightful municipal gardens, we’ll reach the Victorian Precinct and harbourside park where the A2O finish-line sign offers the perfect photo-op. If time allows, explore the shops and galleries or visit the mind-boggling Steampunk HQ museum. After a late lunch, we’ll begin our journey north across the Canterbury Plains, arriving in central Christchurch early evening.

Cycle distance: 19km (Burnside–Oamaru)

Meals:  B

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