Alps 2 Ocean: One of the World’s Most Epic Rides

alps 2 ocean trail
It’s official: the Alps 2 Ocean Trail is one of the world’s most epic rides!

The 301km trail has just has earned a place in Lonely Planet’s newest publication Epic Bike Rides of the World. The guide spotlights 200 of the world’s best rides, with destinations ranging from France, Spain and Italy, to the wilds of Mongolia and Patagonia.

Running from Aoraki/Mount Cook to the cool little coastal town of Oamaru, the Alps 2 Ocean is the longest continuous ride in New Zealand and serves up a dazzling array of scenery, from sweeping mountain vistas to beautiful blue lakes and golden grasslands.

It’s an epic adventure on its own, but we can offer you something even better! We’ve paired the Alps 2 Ocean with another classic ride, the Otago Rail Trail, to create the ultimate South Island adventure. The Twin Trails Tour is our newest offering for summer 2016/17. It’s a nine-day, fully-guided tour that encompasses the Alps 2 Ocean Trail, the Otago Rail Trail and buzzing Queenstown.

What will you experience along the way? Intriguing Maori rock art, interesting townships, old railway tunnels, great vineyards, scenic hot pools – and a helicopter ride across dazzling Lake Pukaki. Click here for a full overview of the itinerary.

The tour is fully-supported and suitable for riders of all abilities. You’ll be accompanied at all times by an experienced guide and support vehicle and have all your accommodation and most meals taken care of. Plus you’ll be able to ride without luggage, since this will be transferred daily to your next overnight stop. For departure dates and to download an itinerary, check out the Twin Trail page.

Have a great week,
Steve

P.S. Wondering whether any other NZ rides made the Lonely Planet guide? Auckland to Piha, the Forgotten World Highway, the Great Lake Trail, the Heaphy Track, Mountains to Sea, Queenstown and Whakarewarewa and the Old Ghost Road are also included.


Cycling McCaw Country: Tour The Home Town Of the All Blacks Captain on the Alps 2 Ocean Trail

cycling mccaw country on the Alps 2 Ocean Trail

He’s the man of the moment: a two-time world champion with 147 test caps and a 88 per cent winning percentage. We’re talking of course, about All Black captain Richie McCaw.

If you’ve been gripped by this year’s Rugby World Cup and want to dig deeper into the McCaw legend don’t miss our six-day guided Alps 2 Ocean tour – it runs right through Richie’s home town of Kurow.

Sitting on an isolated stretch of State Highway 83 between Omarama and Oamaru, Kurow is real New Zealand rugby country. After spending some time here, you’ll understand why McCaw is the tough, relentless force of nature he is.

As part of your cycle tour, you’ll get to spend an evening exploring Kurow: pop for a pint at McCaw’s local, admire the 4.8m high image of the man himself on the main street or head to the local Pasquale vineyards to sample the local vintage.

Of course, this tour isn’t just about rugby. Other highlights of the Alps 2 Ocean trail include:

Lake Tekapo
By day, the turquoise blue waters of Lake Tekapo glisten against a backdrop of snow-capped mountains. By night, the Milky Way lights up the sky. Thanks to minimum light pollution and crystal-clear air, this region is one of the best in the world for stargazing. While in Tekapo, you’ll have the opportunity to visit the famous Church of the Good Shepherd and relax in the local hot springs.

Aoraki Mt Cook National Park
New Zealand’s highest peak is an impressive sight. You’ll spend a morning enjoying a visit to the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre or the local Department of Conservation centre.

Black Stilt Recovery Centre
Enjoy a visit to the Black Stilt Recovery Centre to learn about one of New Zealand’s most endangered bird species. Black stilts are under pressure from lupins, an invasive plant species, as well as foraging rats and hedgehogs who attack their nests.

Omarama
Known as “Place of Light” to Maori, in reference to its extraordinarily pure and clear sky. This region is also famous for gliding.

Maori rock art
You’ll have the opportunity to visit the Maori Rock Art Centre to see the most significant collection of ancient Maori rock art in New Zealand. A little further along, stop to admire the unusual rock formations known as Elephant Rocks.

Oamaru
There’s plenty to see and do in this intriguing town, including visiting the yellow eyed penguin colony or wandering through the Victorian historic precinct with its period costume shops and whiskey tasting opportunities!

Scenic cycling
Sweeping tussock lands, beautiful canal rides and spectacular southern lakes – this is South Island scenery at its best. Average daily distances are around 40-50km and the cycling is largely easy-going – making it the perfect route for those new to cycle touring.

What’s included with this tour:
The Alps 2 Ocean tour is available through to April 2016. Head here for exact dates. The tour costs $1765 NZD per person, which includes:

  • Five nights of three-star, twin share accommodation.
  • Five breakfasts, six lunches and four dinners.
  • Support vehicle.
  • Luggage transfer for lightweight touring.
  • Knowledgeable, friendly tour guide.
  • Entry to DOC Stilt Recovery programme.
  • DOC fees.

See full details of the tour here:
www.naturalhigh.co.nz/alps-2-ocean-tour/

To book, simply send me an email.

Have a great week,
Andrew Hunt

Image: СНΛЯАKΛ


From High Peaks To The Pacific: The Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail

alps 2 ocean cycle trail Natural High tour guide Leona recently led a group along the Alps 2 Ocean cycle trail.

This 310km route has fast become one of the South Island’s must-do trails – and for good reason.

Running from Aoraki/Mount Cook to the cool little coastal town of Oamaru, it’s the longest continuous ride in New Zealand and serves up a dazzling array of scenery; from sweeping mountain vistas to beautiful blue lakes and golden grasslands.

Along the way there’s intriguing Maori rock art, interesting townships, an old railway tunnel, great vineyards and some exceptional hot pools all waiting to be discovered.

There’s even the possibility of a helicopter ride, since the official start is on the eastern side of Lake Pukaki (just out of Aoraki/Mt Cook Village and not accessible by vehicle). Alternatively, you can kick off your riding from Lake Tekapo and ride along the canals.

The trail generally takes between 4-6 days to complete and is a Grade 2-3 ride (easy to intermediate). Be aware that it’s not all downhill riding – there are several steep climbs and lots of off-road terrain. You’ll want to be moderately fit and have experience riding on loose gravel.

The best way to get a feel for this ride is to read Rachel Lamb’s blog of the recent Natural High tour:
http://sungrl18.com

Cycling Tips also posted a brilliant account of the Alps 2 Ocean cycle trail. Head to their website for a read:
http://cyclingtips.com.au

And if all this reading inspires you to ride the Alps 2 Ocean trail in real-life, we offer a 6-day guided tour. Find more details here:
http://www.naturalhigh.co.nz/cycle_tour/gr021-5-day-alps-to-ocean-cycle/