Alps 2 Ocean Cy­cle Trail

The Insider's Guide to New Zealand - - SOUTH ISLAND -

In the space of 300 kilo­me­tres the A2O low­ers cy­clists al­most 800 me­tres from an alpine vil­lage at the foot of the coun­try’s tallest moun­tain, Ao­raki/ Mt Cook, through moun­tain-girded tus­sock land, around turquoise glacial lakes, along a canal sys­tem and through the deep Waitaki River Val­ley with its hy­dro dams, lakes and pa­per-bag-brown sheep coun­try.

The trail then glides along­side lush pad­docks of bizarre ge­o­log­i­cal phe­nom­ena, through a sweetly green and leafy val­ley, and de­liv­ers the cy­clists to the har­bour fore­shore of Oa­maru, one of the pret­ti­est towns in New Zealand.

Of­fi­cially opened in Fe­bru­ary 2013, the trail is still un­der de­vel­op­ment with 37 kilo­me­tres of cy­cling still on State High­way 83, first from Sailor’s Cut­ting on the edge of

Lake Ben­more to Otem­atata and then from Aviemore Dam to Dun­troon. The trail falls 780 me­tres over un­du­lat­ing ground with a few no­table ups. The 350-me­tre ver­ti­cal gain over 11 kilo­me­tres from Lake Ohau Lodge to Quail­burn his­toric wool­shed is the tough­est part. And then there’s the Ben­more Grunter – the short but steep stretch to the top of the Ben­more Dam.

There is no fee for us­ing the trail. Some in­di­vid­u­als and groups bring their own bi­cy­cles and pro­vi­sions and camp out un­der the night sky. Oth­ers en­gage any one of the dozen or so tour op­er­a­tors who are of­fi­cial A2O part­ners and of­fer ev­ery­thing from straight cy­cle hire to fully man­aged tours.


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