6 DAY E-BIKE ALPS TO OCEAN
Christchurch - Tekapo - Mt Cook - Twizel - Kurow - Oamaru - Timaru - Christchurch
Re-charge, and explore New Zealand's Alps to Ocean Cycle Trail by electric bike. Go at your own pace as you wind your way through some of New Zealand's most scenic and diverse landscapes. From Aoraki, Mt Cook and the sweeping tussocklands of the Mackenzie Country to the flowing rivers, vineyards and farmland of the Waitaki Valley, this trail has so much to offer. Soak in thermal hotpools, discover ancient Maori rock art, dramatic limestone landscapes, stay in historic homesteads and explore the small local communities along the trail.
* Electric bike hire (including helmet)
* 5 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 4 dinners
* 5 nights hotel/motel ensuite accommodation on twin share basis
* Professional qualified driver/guide
* 2 professional guides/drivers on trips with 8 or more people
* Private vehicle transport/support vehicle
* Water and snacks while cycling
* Concession fees paid to the Department of Conservation
Day 1: Christchurch to Tekapo
Early this morning you will be collected from a central Christchurch location around 08:00am and taken to our depot for a bike fitting and tour briefing. We then drive south to Geraldine for a refreshment break before starting our first ride. We cycle quiet sealed roads through picturesque countryside, before stopping for lunch in Fairlie.
After lunch we drive to Lake Tekapo Village. Its picturesque lake is the first of the storage lakes which feed the hydro schemes in the basin and down the Waitaki Valley. Here we take our first ride from the alternate start on the Alps to Ocean Cycle Trail, on the quiet roads that follow the turquoise blue waters of the canal system.
On return to Tekapo we have the option to visit the local hot pools to ease any first day muscle aches (own expense). The famous Church of the Good Shepherd and nearby statue standing as a tribute to the sheepdogs that make farming the Mackenzie Basin possible are local icons.
Cycle Distance: Up to 35 kms
Meals: Lunch, Dinner
Day 2: Tekapo to Twizel
After breakfast this morning we drive to our next cycling point on the Alps to Ocean Cycle Trail alongside the Tekapo hydro canal. We enjoy some flat easy riding past salmon farms to the edge of Lake Pukaki, joining the lakeside cycle trail and with spectacular mountain vistas. From the road end, Mt Cook beckons so we load up and drive to The Hermitage where we have the option to enjoy a visit to the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre (own expense) or the informative Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park visitor centre (free of charge).
Stunning views of the 26 km long Tasman Glacier and Mt Cook are our reward for a short walk, before we drive back to Lake Pukaki for a final ride on the trail across the extensive tussock-lands of Pukaki flats to Twizel, where we stay tonight. Twizel was built for the Hydro project in the 1970’s and in recent years has been rejuvenated as a holiday and rowing destination, surrounded by rolling tussock hillsides.
Cycle Distance: Tekapo to Pukaki - 30 km Pukaki to Twizel - 11 km
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Day 3: Twizel to Omarama
This morning we cycle past Lakes Ruataniwha and Ohau, mostly on cycle trail, to Lake Ohau Lodge for lunch. After we've refuelled our bodies, those who would like a challenge can continue on the trail, which starts its steady climb up to the Tarnbrae Saddle. At 900m this is the highpoint of the whole Alps to Ocean Cycle Trail and your efforts are rewarded with stunning views across the Mackenzie Basin. The rough shingle Tarnbrae track is steep and narrow and is suited to the more confident and fitter riders.
Alternatively for those who want a relaxing afternoon there is the option to transfer by coach and enjoy a final, mostly downhill and flat ride on the trail from the historic wool shed at Quailburn into Omarama, our stop for the night. Omarama is called "Place of Light" in Maori terminology, a reference to its extraordinarily pure and clear sky. This region is also famous for gliding due to some unique air wave systems and feisty thermals.
This evening enjoy an optional soak in a private hot tub of fresh mountain water (own expense).
Cycle Distance: Twizel to Lake Ohau - 38 km Lake Ohau to Omarama via Tarnbrae Saddle - 41 km Short option: Quailburn to Omarama - 23 km
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 4: Omarama to Kurow
We set off on our bikes from our accommodation this morning, following the trail to Sailors Cutting, along the shores of Lake Benmore. From here there is the option to climb to the Otematata saddle or to take the support van to the top and enjoy a fabulous downhill cycle towards Aviemore Dam, where we will enjoy a lakeside picnic.
From here we avoid the very busy main road by driving a short distance to our accommodation in Kurow. The tiny village of Kurow can be explored by bike. An interesting option is to ride from the bridge over the Waitaki River to the beautifully restored St. Albans Church, then to the local Pasquale vineyards to taste award winning wines.
Tonights accommodation is at the Waitaki Braids Lodge where elegant ensuite rooms, open onto their own small conservatory and local art adorn the walls. Dinner is served in the comfortable onsite restaurant by an award winning chef serving local produce and wines. This is the perfect place to relax whilst recovering from a days biking.
Cycle Distance: 47 kms (optional climb to Otematata saddle - 5km)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 5: Kurow to Windsor
This morning the cycle trail takes us along the banks of the Waitaki River and through Kurow vineyards. We pass by a Maori rock art site before reaching Duntroon where we turn inland to cycle on a mixture of trail and quiet rural roads. A walk amongst the unusual rock formations known locally as Elephant Rocks is a must on the way past. Following a short section of an old branch railway line we cycle through Raki's tunnel before a downhill ride into the settlement of Windsor.
Tonight we drive to our boutique accommodation in Oamaru. This is a highlight of the trip and great way to spend our last night. Today finishes with a delicious dinner to celebrate.
Cycle Distance: Kurow to Duntroon - 28 km Duntroon to Windsor - 35km
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6: Windsor to Oamaru. End Christchurch
Today we are bound for Christchurch but not before we finish our Alps to Ocean journey with a final ride. Returning to Windsor we ride through picturesque rolling rural countryside and pass the Oamaru Stone quarry. Oamaru Stone has been extracted from the district since the 19th Century and its influence on local architecture is clearly seen as we ride our final section into the harbourside town of Oamaru. Here there is time to explore the old Victorian Precinct with its many galleries, shops and cafes.
There may also be time for an optional visit to the fascinating Steampunk Museum (own expense). After a late lunch we will travel back to Christchurch, passing through some of the rich agricultural regions of the Canterbury Plains, arriving at our destination around 6:00pm.
Cycle Distance: Burnside to Oamaru - 25 km
$2495 per person