Braemar Station to Twizel
A2O SECTION 2 – BRAEMAR STATION TO TWIZEL
Technical Difficulty: Grade 2
Fitness Required: Easy
Trail Overview: A mix of undulating gravel road, smooth flowing cycle trail alongside Lake Pukaki, a short section of sealed road and a then more purpose built cycle trail over the Pukaki Flats to Twizel.
Section 2 of the A2O starts from Braemar with a couple of hours riding along a public gravel road. Although this road is very quiet, please be attentive to traffic. This road section still requires effort as the terrain undulates and the gravel may have brake bumps depending on when it was last graded. Peter Jackson recently filmed a part of the upcoming Hobbit movie along this area of Lake Pukaki shore line, so once the movie screens, see if you can spot the location used. There are toilets on the right-hand side of this section but look out for the signs as they’re easy to miss. Look out as well for the sign for Aussie Rock, and guess why it’s called that…
After the gravel road section, you finally reach the sealed road. Marvel at the government ‘Think Big’ hydroelectric project as you pass under massive penstock pipes, large enough to drive a double decker bus through. The road takes you to the southern end of Lake Pukaki and onto the new dedicated scenic smooth trail to the Lake Pukaki Information Kiosk with information on the local Hydro systems. This is also where you’ll find more toilets. From here, it’s mostly downhill cycling across the Pukaki Flats on to Twizel.
Twizel, the town that was never meant to be, is the gateway to the Aoraki Mount Cook National Park. Whatever has been said about the town in the past, it is now a thriving community and the largest town you will visit along the Alps 2 Ocean journey until you reach Oamaru. Twizel has a full range of accommodation, supermarkets, restaurants and cafes where you can stock up on all your supplies, have a great night out or just relax with a drink and yarn to the friendly locals.
There are a few toilets on this section and are very few places to hide behind! Once you leave the Lake Pukaki Kiosk, you are riding for miles over flat tundra, this is one of the driest and hottest area of NZ, so be sure to take plenty of water. We would not recommend using untreated lake water as drinking water.
A really enjoyable morning MTB ride with a very professional outfit.
I was concerned about the price at first... now I would rate it as absolute value for money… it was much better value than we possibly imagined.
I've been on lots of guided tours all around the world incl TDF, Vietnam, Greece, Turkey, UK and you have surpassed everything I have experienced in the past.
Thank you so much for the wonderful trip we have had and the photo – was just the ”icing on the cake!”
I could not fault (the guide's) commitment, energy, knowledge, good humor and patience and evenhandedness and attention to each individual. I would imagine that we all felt absolutely attended to, as I did.
I didn't expect so many extras to be included plus the freedom to order any meal off the menu at the evening cafe's. The food was exceptional. All the accommodation was first class, and the different types added to the experience. Each day was an adventure and I cannot think of any aspect that I could possibly recommend a change.
Nothing was a problem. The welfare, safety, experience and comfort of the group was paramount. We were so well looked after. Thank you!
You guys are awesome. Thanks again for a wonderful experience...we appreciate all of the things you guys did to make this pretty special.
Your guides were excellent, couldn’t have asked for anything better. Loved everything about the trip. Wonderful value for money. My thanks to you all.
I loved that everyone had the option of following their choices to ride through their challenges, or not, without judgement or pressure.
The evening meals were fantastic. The guide was very accommodating, knowledgable about the area and their enthusiasm was inspiring. This was our first cycle tour, we had so much fun & the scenery was spectacular! Thanks to the guide for accommodating our little side trips … and gliding. It was an AWESOME cycle trail.
The cycle tour was better than my expectations. Honestly I can't think of anything you could do better.
Both Vernon and Sara are very professional, nothing was too much trouble.
I did a few gulps at the price - shortly into the trip it was obvious that we were Definitely receiving Value For money. Worth every cent.
The accommodation and food was excellent, much better than anticipated in comparison with previous rides.
Professional ,informative & well organised tour still adding a personal touch making the trip a memorable one. Ability to adapt to any situation maintaining group dynamics and moral. Well done an outstanding team!
I thought it was a good mix of wine tours, cycling, resting, exploring, hot tubs, shopping, food, information, walks and talks. Don't change a single thing.
I was blown away by the scenery and organisation of your trip. All I can say is thank you and congratulations!
The best recommendation I can give about the bikes is that I have purchased a new bike the same as those used on the trip. Unfortunately it hasn't come with the excellent van and trailer we became used to on the trail - we were spoilt rotten with such good quality, well maintained equipment.
Fresh healthy and hearty meals. plenty of choices.
This trip surpassed expectations by quite a margin.
All accommodation was very good. All food was excellent. The guide's home cooked meals/breakfasts were great. Meals out delicious. Also liked the fact that when we ate out we could have what we liked without restrictions. We suggested it could be marketed as a gourmet tour!
Thoroughly enjoyable day out, May 2014. Really nice riding...it was quite cool in May with dusting of snow on neighbouring hills - which made for gorgeous photos.
How would I rate the cycle tour? It exceeded expectations. We were very well supported with excellent guides who were Very attentive and co-operative. Accommodation exceeded expectations.
The guide's explanations and information added to the enjoyment of the ride. It was great when we had a guide to support the slower cyclist so that the rest could go at their own pace.
(The guide) went the extra mile and encouraged me without being patronising.His knowledge and love of the area was tops and we missed him when the trip was over and we had to look at places without his explanations. He was the perfect guide.
...riding in the middle of nowhere was a beautiful experience ... Thank you for making our honeymoon a truly amazing experience. We loved every day of it and did not want it to end. We will be back!
We managed to bike almost 200kms and still come home a bit heavier! So nice to have healthy fresh food, good coffee and a different dinner experience each night. Food was fantastic!
All accommodation was very good and some outstanding.
The whole trip was fantastic and I especially enjoyed the mountain bike tracks around the edges of the lakes. Thanks Sara and Vernon, We had the best time and we were very lucky to spend time in such a spectacular environment.
Accommodation exceeded my expectations, especially the last night which just blew my mind.
All meals were excellent Always looked forward to eating! It was great to stay in a range of different accommodation. a job well done finding the variety of places. nice to have some meals at the accommodation as well and not have too go out.
I loved your selection of interesting and sometimes spectacular accommodation and eating locations. You adapted according to changing weather and cyclist abilities with quiet grace and thought for the group.
We came to this tour from word of mouth and we've been to Central Otago many times before so we knew how great the environment and scenery would be, but the efforts made with accommodation and meals was much more than we expected. I loved the cycle tour and we're determined to come back and try out your new tours.
Every dietary need was offered...absolutely wonderful food.
Enjoyed every day and thought the guides and accommodation were very good. The tour was better than I thought. Food was very good and I thought the tour was well balanced but particularly enjoyed unique accommodations where food was provided on site.
Big thanks to you for a great trip and especially to the guide who with his sound knowledge and advice I was able to cycle a good chunk of the track despite not being able to walk! Thanks so much we really had a great time. Everything was good, keep doing what you are already doing well :)
We thought the whole operation was marvelous. (The guide) was incredible, and everything was so well organised. Great variety each day in the cycling and different places we stayed each night added variety.
Excellent food; excellent variety; all needs cared for including snacks en route.
I was totally inexperienced but thoroughly enjoyed tho whole day...Our guide exuded passion for the region and was full of information regarding flora and fauna and history... giving me helpful tips enabling me to complete the ride with growing confidence!!!
Great scenery. great company. great organisation.
Awesome scenery, wonderful service, and helibiking was "fabulous" to quote daughter Odette!
Fantastic attention to detail. Different experience/adventure every day. I have dietary restrictions which are a pain in the neck. This was handled brilliantly and without fuss. Very authentic Kiwi experience.
Food was fantastic and better than we expected. Thoroughly enjoyed the variety of accommodation.
NON-RIDER. I didn’t actually ride, I was worried about the comfort of the bus but it was great. Excellent food and most of it was New Zealand made which was great. Loved the exclusive accommodations. Very nice. (The guides were) very informative and were very knowledgeable. I felt very safe being driven around by them. Bus very comfortable and plenty of room.
Lunches were perfect - sandwiches, make your own and plenty of choices. Healthy - good balance. Breakfast was excellent - the cooked breakfasts were a great 'base' for a day's biking. Evening meals were good to amazing.
Totally amazed by the food. Can't give a top choice as each night was special and different. Breakfasts, lunches and snacks all superb. I ate far too much.
My favourite parts of the trip? Impossible to answer, so many wonderful aspects to the experience. Wineries were enjoyable, distances each day were manageable, bikes were excellent, food and accommodation were exceptional.
The bikes, the scenery and the accommodation and food exceeded my expectations. I have done very little mountain bike riding and was even a little apprehensive about it. As it turned out, I loved the bikes and my confidence on them soared. I could have taken my bike home with me!
Thank you again for a truly memorable experience... you provided the greatest and most enjoyable service we have experienced in a very long time.
Change nothing…you don't need to do more!
Every meal we had, without exception was excellent... the best breakfasts, the lunches were always in the most perfect spots, dinners ... well YUM! Great variety, tasty fresh ingredients ... nice.
I was very worried about how I was going to survive the 300km ride on a different bike seat without destroying some of my anatomy, however the bikes were totally appropriate for the trail we were doing & the guide reassured us, adjusted & tweaked until all of us were comfortable in the saddle.
C/O Not A Rail Trail PO Box 2716,
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