Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail.

This is the second in our series about cycle trails in New Zealand. Today we are taking a look at one of the great trails, the 'Alps 2 Ocean' starting in the highlands of the Aoraki/Mt Cook region in the South Island and slowly descending to the Pacific, finishing at the town of Oamaru.

This is a 190 mile cycling adventure and although there are some significant hills scattered throughout the trail, the general direction is a downhill slope to the ocean. 

The trail ranges from an easy to intermediate grade. Each section is clearly marked on the provided maps, with elevation, required fitness & skill levels, trail surfaces, and safety notes. Some sections are easily suited for a day ride with the family, others a bit more challenging.

New Zealand Vacations can organize support arrangements for you, including luggage transfer, shuttles, and of course bike hire. Another option is to hire a van & trailer and take turns driving your own support vehicle. The trail is never too far from a nearby road, so it's quite easy for all ages and fitness levels.

To cycle the full trail takes an average of 4-6 days or you might prefer to enjoy a 1 or 2-day section. The 'Alps 2 Ocean' is more than a cycle trail – it's 190 miles of attractions, dining, shopping and activities. It's not a race but rather a leisurely journey with plenty of opportunities to get off the bike and discover the region. Hot springs, wine tastings, boutique shops, penguin viewing and stargazing are just some of the enjoyable diversions along the way.

The 'Alps 2 Ocean' can be enjoyed on almost any budget: from the basic backpacker level through to 5 star luxury lodges. Groceries can be purchased in bulk at the start of the trip and carried along in your support vehicle, or you can choose to eat out along the way. It’s entirely up to you.

A recurring theme of the 'Alps 2 Ocean' is the rapidly changing scenery, from day to day, sometimes several times in one day. From the snow-white icing of the Southern Alps, past turquoise glacial lakes, golden grass, verdant paddocks, towering pines, dense beech forest all the way to the sandy beach at the finish. 

The lasting impression of the 'Alps 2 Ocean' is the sense of having achieved something remarkable, yet within easy grasp of anyone with even a moderate level of fitness. This is New Zealand, in all its colour and beauty, and memory of completing such a journey will stay with you always.


If you would like your itinerary to incorporate a part of, or the complete 'Alps 2 Ocean' cycle experience, this can be easily arranged by the team here at at


After writing this blog we visited the region where the Alps to Ocean starts and finishes. There's a photo here that we took of the trail, right at the place where Peter Jackson created 'Lakeside' village in his movie "The Hobbit; The Desolation of Smaug" -  Day 1 - The Rakaia Gorge, Lake Pukaki, The Hobbit, Aoraki Mt Cook

Lindsay Barron

Lindsay Barron • Sep 14, 2016