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Cycle trip – AO2 – Alps (Aorangi) to ocean (Oamaru)

  • August 5th, 2015

Raving about the joys of an 8 day cycle tour in Catalonia prompted suggestions that others should get the benefit, on Trip Advisor.

That reminded me of this year’s previous bike delight – the 301km Alps 2 Ocean trail from Mt Cook Village to Oamaru.

The guide books suggest 4-6 days – and they are right. Our group of 4 cyclists did it in four days with three overnighters, stopping at Twizel, Omarama and Kurow.

That is not arduous for fit cyclists, but if I did it again I’d build in more time to do side events and to play. The country is so spectacular it is a shame to rush through.

It is great late summer country. Though it was February, we started from Mt Cook village in snow turning to sleet for the first few km down Lake Pukaki. By the bottom of the lake  we were pushing along under hot dry sun.

Next time I’d:
a) Stop for a meal or coffee at Braemar Station down the side of Pukaki;
b) Try salmon fishing around the farms in the Ohau Canal.
c) Stay at Ohau Lodge because it is a favourite place. That could make a short trip from Twizel so build in a long picnic, or fishing.
d) Go gliding at Omarama
e) Spend more time around the Waitaki hydro lakes, taking more swims.
f) Otematata might have been a good overnight stop to extend the time on the Waitaki hydro lakes.
g) Perhaps do a farm stay nearer to Oamaru, instead of the Kurow motel (though it was clean and spacious). Kurow the town does not have great eye appeal but the pub was friendly.
h) Spend more time looking around Oamaru. Arriving there very early afternoon should be a target, and stay overnight.

We had a spouse car taking luggage from motel to motel. A commercial service doing the same thing would make the logistics easy. Our dedicated driver enjoyed the trip. There are plenty of sights and cafes and things to do, though it would probably work better for the drivers if there were two of them for company.

The track surface is good but you’d not take specialist road bikes on it. Cross over tyres would be fine. The last day is mostly riding great plains and rolling hills

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