A2O Trail

Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail Map and Information

The Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail stretches over 300 kms from Aoraki/Mt Cook Village, through the magnificent Mackenzie Basin and down the Waitaki Valley, to end at Oamaru by the Pacific Ocean. You get to ride in a helicopter to start the trail, see breathtaking views of Aoraki/Mt Cook, New Zealand’s highest mountain, enjoy days of riding past stunning glacial lakes and snow capped peaks followed by rides along our main Hydro Electric System and finishing through incredible rock and fossil formations. All while cycling predominantly downhill, descending 780 metres to the mighty Pacific Ocean over the course of the trail.


Elevation profile map of the alps 2 ocean cycle trail

Approximate Elevation Profile of the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail – Elevation(m) vs Distance(km)


Driving Times

These times are approximate, please allow for stops, traffic and different weather conditions.

  • ​From Christchurch to Mt Cook: 330km, 4.5 hours
  • From Queenstown to Mt Cook: 263km, 3.5 hours
  • From Twizel to Mt Cook: 65km, 45 mins
  • From Christchurch to Oamaru: 247km, 3 hours
  • From Queenstown to Oamaru: 287km, 3.5 hours
  • From Twizel to Oamaru: 145km, 1 hour, 45 mins


The Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail is a mix of off road tracks, purpose built cycle trail, unsealed and sealed roads. There’s huge variety every day in both the trail and the scenery. In our opinion it’s this variety that makes this one of New Zealand’s most epic Great Mountain Bike Rides.

Be warned though, this is not a rail trail, it is a cycle trail with hills and corners, loose surfaces and a mix of gradients so you need to be bike fit and capable of riding a bike off road.

If you are riding the entire trail without a support vehicle, please make sure you are fully prepared as parts of this trail are remote and with limited mobile cover. Ensure you are fit enough, have the right clothing for our changeable weather and have the ability and spare parts to carry out minor bike repairs. After 5 years of trying different bikes and listening to the feedback from hundreds of customers, we highly recommend riding a mountain bike. Our bike of choice that has been the perfect all rounder for this trail is a front suspension mountain bike with quality components, a good range of gears (preferably at least 10) and larger wheels (27.5″ or 29″).


Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail Sections:

1. Aoraki/Mt Cook Village to Braemar Station

A2O Start at Mt Cook VillageDistance: 35km
Riding Ability: Grade 2, undulating and slightly downhill. Off road experience recommended

Trail Information

You can miss the fist section of trail by starting at Tekapo or the Jolly Road Carp Par. But why would you?! Start at the official start near Mt Cook Village and take a short but stunning helicopter flight across the Tasman River and into the wilderness. Bike on easy mountain bike trail (with some stream crossings), then gravel road, down to Braemar Station…
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2. Braemar Station to Twizel

Alps 2 Ocean Cycletrail Lake PukakiDistance: 42km
Riding Ability: Grade 2, undulating and slightly downhill

Trail Information

Gravel road, sealed road and purpose built trail takes you alongside the bottom of Lake Pukaki and then across the fields into Twizel, the town that was never meant to be. To make the view even more enjoyable, although it’s undulating, it’s mostly downhill…
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3. Twizel to Lake Ohau Lodge

A2O Twizel to Lake OhauDistance: 38km
Riding Ability: Grade 2, undulating with some short steep sections

Trail Information

Cycle alongside the hydro canals past the salmon farm to Lake Ohau. Cross the weir and cycle around the lake on single track cycle trail before joining the road on to Ohau Lodge…
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4. Lake Ohau Lodge to Omarama

Omarama Hot PoolsDistance: 45km
Riding Ability: Grade 3, undulating with a very long but gentle uphill section

Trail Information

Ride up a long steady climb before enjoying a flowing and mostly downhill ride to finish the alpine section of the Alps 2 Ocean Trail. End the ride by exploring the natural beauty of the stunning Clay Cliffs before soaking your tired muscles in the Omarama Hot Tubs…
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5. Omarama to Otematata

Distance: 24km
Riding Ability: Grade 2, undulating

Trail Information

Cycle around the shores of Lake Benmore before joining a short road section that has the biggest hill climb on the trail but is rewarded with the biggest downhill. It is on the State Highway so be careful. Great views over the start of the Waitaki Hydro System…
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6. Otematata to Kurow

Benmore Dam A2ODistance: 40km
Riding Ability: Grade 2 off road, grade 3 on road. Undulating with some short steep sections

Trail Information

Another uphill starts the day but is rewarded with the amazing spectacle of the Benmore Dam. Cycle on the quiet roads around Lake Aviemore and end by crossing the Aviemore Dam on the way to Kurow…
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7. Kurow to Duntroon

A2O Kurow to Duntroon Stream Crossing

Distance: 28km
Riding Ability: Grade 2 on cycle trail

Trail Information

Leave the mountains far behind and enter the flat, fertile farmland of the Lower Waitaki Valley. The increase in Oamaru stone buildings lets you know you’re almost at your final destination…
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8. Duntroon to Oamaru

A2O Duntroon to OamaruDistance: 54km
Riding Ability: Grade 3, many small hills with some short steep sections

Trail Information

Venture along the Vanished World Trail on quiet roads and purpose built cycleway. Explore the Elephant Rocks, maori drawings and dinosaur fossils. The final small hills keep those legs spinning until you finally taste the salty air of Oamaru…
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