Cycling The Alps To Ocean Bike Trail

Adventure Inspiration Mini Break Sports

Our guide to the epic bike trail from Mount Cook to Oamaru.

The Alps to Ocean Bike Trail is a dream ride for cycling enthusiasts.  As the longest continuous ride in New Zealand, the bike trail traverses the majestic, alpine landscape of the Aoraki Mount Cook Mackenzie region.
 
Quick Facts:
 
  • The bike trail is 310km from Mount Cook to Oamaru.
  • Allow 5 to 7 days to complete the entire trail.
  • The trail includes both road and off-road sections.  
  • There are 8 main sections so you don’t have to cycle all in one go.
 
1.  Aoraki/Mt Cook - Braemar Road:  32 kilometres.
 
This section starts with a short bike ride (around 5km) from the White Horse Campgound out of Mount Cook National Park.  You then need to hop aboard helicopter with bike in tow for a scenic flight to the eastern side of Lake Pukaki.  From the Tekapo B Power Station, enjoy a magical ride with fantastic mountain scenery and glacial fed braided streams.
2.  Braemar Road - Twizel:  43 kilometres
 
This is a popular start point for many riders.  Enjoy biking along a country road with sweeping views across the crystal blue waters of Lake Pukaki as you head towards the Southern Alps.  The views have appeared on many an instagram feed with the turquoise lake framed by towering mountains.  The trail follows the entire length of the lake until you reach Mt Cook Alpine Salmon Farm which has a shop you can stop at.  Continuing on the trail, you’ll cycle over golden tussocks of the Pukaki Flats which are surrounded by distance hills,until you reach the township of Twizel which has a number of accommodation and dining options.   

3.  Twizel - Lake Ohau Lodge:  38 kilometres
 
Cycling along several roads, you’ll pass over the canal bridge past Loch Cameron.  From here, it’s around 18km until you reach the edge of the beautiful Lake Ohau.  An off-road trail then descends down to the lake foreshore to the Ohau Weir.  It’s then a lovely ride around the lake foreshore until the sealed Lake Ohau Road for the final 10km to Lake Ohau Lodge. (along the way you’ll pass through Lake Ohau Village).  There’s an alternate route for when the Ohau Wier is in flood. Check the trail status before departing. 

4.  Lake Ohau Lodge - Omarama:  40 kilometres

 
Following the base of the mountain, it’s a fairly easy ride until Freehold Creek where the trail climbs to 900m above sea level.  It’s then an approximate 18km descent to Quailburn Road.  Once the Quailburn Road reaches the highway, you’ll be riding alongside until the town of Omarama.  Note - At Quailburn Road there is the option of 14km return trip to see the Clay Cliffs - large clay spires, protruding out of the ground and rising high into the skies. 

5.  Omarama - Otematata:  24 kilometres
 
A shorter section that features both shingle and sealed roads as you head down east to the Waitaki Valley.  Enjoy off-road cycling until the top of Chain Hills before cycling along State Highway 83 until Pumpkin Point and reaching the camping and water activity spot of Sailors Cutting.  From here, it’s an uphill ride to the Otematata Saddle and lovely views of Lake Aviemore before riding down to Otematata.

6.  Otematata - Kurow:  44 kilometres
 
The riding of this section is pretty much all on sealed roads.  The trail offers a number of dams to see including Benmore, Aviemore and Waitaki before ending up in Kurow.

7.  Kurow - Duntroo:  23 kilometres
 
Cycling State Highway 83, the route traverses the alluvial plains and onto the wine growing region of Kurow.  Points of interest include the Kurow River Bridge and the Kurow Museum.  It’s then a brief climb near to the Māori rock art site before a nice downhill cycle to Duntroon. 
8.  Duntroon - Oamaru:  55 kilometres

 
This section of the trail passes through the limestone formations called Elephant Rocks.  Continue along peaceful country roads through to Weston before joining the old railway line to Saleyards Road.  It’s then onto Oamaru Gardens and close to the finish line.   Cycle through the gardens and follow the historic trail to Oamaru Harbour and Friendly Bay which marks the end of the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail.  Points of interest in Oamaru include Steampunk HQ, the Victorian Precinct, the North Otago Museum and the Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony.

More Info:
 
Visit the Alps to Ocean Trail website for more details and the latest news.
Check the latest trail status for conditions.

You can book a supported or guided tour with a bike tour operator. They’ll drop off your luggage at your accommodation and drive you to various points.  With fully guided tours they’ll manage all aspects as they’re with you at all times.