Our longest Great Ride takes you on a journey through some of our country's most majestic scenery by starting at the base of snow capped mountains, it follows rivers to turquoise coloured lakes, past hydro stations and onto rolling farm land before reaching the historic steam punk town on the edge of the Pacific Ocean.
The trail surface is generally smooth, however there are some unbridged stream crossings. While most of the trail is near flat there are a few moderate hill climbs suitable for the intermediate rider. Wrap up warm if you are riding in the colder months. The trail can be experienced in sections as day trips or as a multi-day journey.
Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail (A2O) is an incredible journey following the glacial waters from their source to the sea. The trail has a good all-weather surface with some quiet road sections. It caters for beginner riders along with some more challenging terrain for the more experienced.
There are eight sections of trail that can be experienced for a few hours at a time, as a full day or as a multi-day trip. The trail can be undertaken in either direction however, most people choose to go with the flow of the river as there is a 750 metre drop from the alps to the ocean. The classic length of time taken to ride the trail is six days however, for some it can be done in a fast four days or at a more relaxed pace of eight days.
In the first section, a helicopter flight transports you over the Tasman River. Some people elect not to fly and begin their trip at the lower end of Lake Pukaki or start at Tekapo following the canal - this is the alternative route to Twizel.
The full journey commences from the foot of the country's grandest mountains and glacial lakes. It then glides alongside the unbelievably coloured hydro lakes and their canals and passing through dry basins and hill country. The last part of the trip enters more lush and rolling farmland descending to the Pacific Ocean.
NZ's weather is very changeable. Check the weather before heading out and have sufficient clothing for all seasons. The main services and places to stay are located in towns along the trail at regular intervals ending in the largest town of Oamaru.