The Alps to Ocean Cycle Trail EPIC is a challenging 300km cycle from the majestic snow capped peaks of the Southern Alps all the way to the Pacific Ocean at Oamaru on the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail.
The Alps to Ocean Cycle Trail is a challenging, yet achievable, 300km cycle trail that consists of a mix of purpose built firm gravel trails, and sealed and gravel public roads. The trail starts from the awe inspiring snow capped peaks of the Southern Alps, heads into the tawny tussocky Mackenzie Basin, down to the fertile farmland of North Otago and finally to the coast at Oamaru, a delightfully impressive Victorian city.
This tour offers a challenging but rewarding ride through some of the best scenery in the South Island.
Our Pure Trails bike tour package of the Alps 2 Ocean Trail features 100% cycling on gravel cycle trails/roads. The riding is rated Grade 2-3 and there are a few longer rides and challenging climbs that can be skipped if desired.
Our support vehicle is available throughout the cycle tour. Refer to our Level of Difficulty page for more information.
We also have a Grade 1 rated itinerary of the Alps 2 Ocean Trail, our Alps to Ocean Trail EASY tour, in which we cycle 177km of the easier sections of the trail.
Alps to Ocean Trail EPIC Cycle Tour Highlights
- Cycle 300km on the Alps 2 Ocean Trail from mountains to sea
- Enjoy the spectacular scenery of the Mackenzie Basin
- Bike through film locations used in ‘The Hobbit’ & ‘Lord of the Rings’
- Admire the engineering of the Waitaki Valley hydro scheme
- Explore the small communities of Omarama, Kurow and Duntroon
- Discover the Maori Rock art and limestone rocks of North Otago
- Step back in time in Oamaru’s splendid Victorian Precinct
Day 1 Christchurch – Twizel
Our Alps to Ocean cycle trail tour gets underway as we head south across the plains towards the Mackenzie Basin, past Lake Tekapo, finally reaching Lake Pukaki and the start of our cycle trail ‘great ride’. Alternatively we can organise a bus transfer from Queenstown to Tekapo. The first cycle ride section is on a sealed road providing a good opportunity to get familiar with your bike. Ride alongside the Lake Pukaki foreshore, featuring fantastic views of Aoraki Mount Cook and the snow-capped Southern Alps, all the way to the spillway. Enjoy a refreshment break at the Lake Pukaki foreshore before embarking on the cycle trail across the Pukaki Flats to Twizel. Finally, we check into our comfortable accommodation for the next two evenings.
Cycle Distance: 25km
Day 2 Twizel
This morning’s Alps 2 Ocean cycle trail section is a highlight of the bike tour and could contend for the title of the best bike ride in the country. The cycle trail travels 8km north deep into the mountains to ‘Rotten Tommy’. The views here are quite simply superb and will take your breath away. The trail then retraces south to Jollie River where we enjoy a picnic lunch. The next section follows the shores of Lake Pukaki, passing by the location of ‘Lake Town’ in the Hobbit Trilogies, back to the Tekapo B power station. At the conclusion of the bike ride we drive back to Twizel.
Cycle Distance: 45km
Day 3 Twizel – Omarama
Cycle out of Twizel this morning to the Pukaki – Ohau canal to Ohau Weir. The fields in this area became the setting for the pivotal battle of Pelennor Field in the Lord of the Rings ‘The Return of the King’. Here we enjoy morning tea with a fabulous view overlooking Lake Ohau and the Ben Ohau and Barrier Ranges. Following the refreshment stop the next section of cycle trail follows the edge of Lake Ohau to Ohau Lodge where a sumptuous platter lunch awaits. From here a challenging but spectacular section of Alps 2 Ocean trail beckons, featuring a climb to the Tarnbrae highpoint and down to the Quailburn. The final ride takes you on an easy descent of the Quailburn to Omarama and our accommodation. After the ride enjoy an optional visit to the Omarama Hot Tubs.
Cycle Distance: 82km
Day 4 Omarama – Duntroon
Today’s bike ride takes us down the Waitaki Valley. Firstly we bike from Omarama to Lake Bemore via Sailors Cutting on a lovely bike trail alongside the lake. From here a new section of trail takes you up and over the hills to Benmore Dam of a very scenic but challenging trail. Then the next section follows Benmore Dam, past the power station and along the pleasant sealed road beside Lake Aviemore. From here we follow the Waitaki River down the valley to Kurow and (conditions pending) onto Duntroon. This section features an ancient Maori rock drawing site. In Duntroon explore the township and enjoy the warm southern hospitality at our accommodation in the recently restored country hotel.
Cycle Distance: 94km
Day 5 Duntroon – Oamaru
Today the trail leaves the Waitaki valley and heads inland through the North Otago countryside, home to the unusual limestone ‘Elephant Rocks’ to Windsor. Enjoy lunch before the next cycle trail section through very attractive looking ‘English’ countryside, and into Oamaru, finishing up by the sea at Friendly Bay. Check into our accommodation in the historic precinct, walking distance to all the sites. After the ride there is time to explore the splendid Victorian precinct of Oamaru featuring some of New Zealand’s best 19th century architecture and enjoy a celebratory meal together.
Cycle Distance: 54km
Day 6 Oamaru – Christchurch
Have a well deserved lie in and leisurely breakfast. Spend the morning taking in the sights of the amazing Victorian precinct of Oamaru, before we head back to Christchurch arriving at approximately 5pm. Alternatively catch a travel connection through to Queenstown, arriving at 7:20pm.
Cycle Distance: 0km
16 Oct 2021
28 Nov 2021
19 Dec 2021
23 Jan 2022
30 Jan 2022
13 Mar 2022
24 Apr 2022
What’s included in the Alps to Ocean EPIC tour package?
- 5 nights twinshare ensuite accommodation
- 5 evening meals; 4 lunches; 4 continental breakfasts (indicated by B/L/D in the itinerary)
- fruit, snacks & morning teas on the trail
- the services of a tour leader who provides vehicle support & information
- cycle repair support
- all transport from/to Christchurch
- Goods & Services Tax of 15%
Not included in the Alps to Ocean EPIC tour package:
- wine; beer; espresso coffees
- lunch on Days 1 & 6; breakfast on Day 6
- bike hire ($200) or e-bike hire ($500)
- single accommodation supplement ($400)
- Queenstown to Tekapo transfers Day 1 ($50 approx)
- Oamaru to Queenstown transfers Day 6 ($70 approx)
Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail – Official Partner
The Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail showcases New Zealand’s geological, geographical and historical highlights from the Southern Alps to the Pacific Ocean. PureTrails New Zealand’s Official Partner membership with the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail is assisting this new trail to become established as one of NZ’s premier cycle trails.