Photo copyright: Miles Holden

Alps 2 Ocean Trail

OverviewTrail Status: Open

Aoraki Mt Cook Village — Oamaru (6 days, 301km)

The Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail is the longest continuous ride in New Zealand and takes in some of the country’s most incredible scenery.

From New Zealand’s highest mountain, Aoraki Mt Cook, the trail descends over 2000ft and travels 300km to the coastal town of Oamaru. This trail showcases New Zealand’s geological, geographical and historical highlights from the Southern Alps to the Pacific Ocean.

Experience an unspoilt paradise in the South Island halfway between Christchurch and Queenstown where people come from all over the world to enjoy stunning vistas, wide open spaces and expansive landscapes.

The Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail encompasses a World Heritage National Park, glacial-fed lakes, hydro dam lakes, golden grasslands, limestone cliffs, Maori rock art and more.

Suitable for all abilities of cyclists, the trail includes a mixture of off- and on-road trail, which can be enjoyed in sections or in its entirety.

It’s recommended that you start from Aoraki Mt Cook Village (the Southern Alps) although there are numerous access points along the trail. A number of tour operators begin their tours to Aoraki Mt Cook from Christchurch.

This cycle trail is a joint initiative involving the Waitaki and Mackenzie District Councils and the New Zealand Cycle Trail project.

Aoraki Mt Cook & the Tasman Glacier

Aoraki Mt Cook Village is perfectly positioned to take advantage of some sensational scenery. Aoraki Mt Cook towers above a range of massive peaks in the World Heritage-listed Aoraki Mt Cook National Park.

From the village you can take a guided boating tour on a glacial lake and experience the mighty Tasman Glacier, explore the mountains on a walk or hike, take a scenic flight above the dazzling scenery, go skiing or snow-boarding (heli-skiing and glacier skiing available), or go horse riding, fishing, 4WD touring and more.


Duntroon is home to the fascinating Elephant Rocks – intriguing limestone formations – and key fossil sites. Abseiling and rock climbing is available here with a local tour company.

Be Prepared

The Alps 2 Ocean Trail is a grade 2-3 (easy to intermediate) cycle trail.

The trail includes a number of sections on public roads, where riders should be prepared to meet vehicles. You may also encounter stock grazing along the roadside or being moved.

The trail descends approximately 2000 feet, so ensure you take a few layers of clothing and be prepared for sudden changes in the weather.

There is a range of services and accommodation available in the towns dotted along the trail, including Mount Cook Village, Twizel, Omarama, Otemetata, Kurow, Duntroon and Oamaru.  Public toilets are also available at Lake Pukaki and Lake Ohau (with plans for more to be installed along the trail).

MOBILE PHONE COVERAGE: Coverage is generally good along the trail, though may be patchy in places.

DRINKING WATER: Water is available in the towns along the trail.

Weather Info

The Alps 2 Ocean trail is characterised by two distinct climate zones across its length: Inland South Island and Southern New Zealand.

These zones are largely determined by the presence of the Southern Alps extending the length of the South Island, which has a major effect on the climate of the various regions and produces much sharper climatic contrasts from west to east, than from north to south.

Riders are advised to be prepared for all weather conditions.

Regional forecasts

Trail Partner

Trail Updates

The Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail has had a flurry of media coverage over the last few weeks. One of the stories was about Ashley Cassin, a man who most certainly likes a challenge. Ashley who is from the West Coast pledged to ride the entire 301km Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail in one day for Blue September, a month devoted to...
Phil Brownie
Riders on the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail will experience a wonderful ride with outstanding landscapes, from snow-capped peaks and beautiful lakes to the dry inland landscape and green pastures characteristic of North Otago. PHIL BROWNIE – Destination Mt Cook