New Zealand’s South Island is home to some of the most diverse and dramatic landscapes on the planet. Experience it all on our brand new Twin Trails tour. Combining two of New Zealand’s most famous trails, the Alps 2 Ocean and the Otago Rail Trail, this nine-day adventure takes you from the soaring peaks of Aoraki/Mt Cook to the historic port town of Oamaru (alongside the Pacific Ocean) to buzzing, adventure-filled Queenstown. This is a journey rich with cultural heritage, epic vistas and tantalising extras. Here’s what awaits:
Day 1: Christchurch to Mt Cook
Approx 30km of cycling.
Your Natural High representative will pick you up from your accommodation and drive you to Natural High headquarters to meet the crew and get you set up with your bike. Then it’s time to hit the road, stopping along the way to cycle the famous hydro canals and admire the pristine blue waters of Lake Tekapo and Lake Pukaki. Once at Mt Cook, you’ll have time for a stroll around the DOC information centre and museum, or a hike in Aoraki National Park.
Day 2: Mt Cook to Ohau
Approx 58km of cycling.
Wake to one of the best views in the world and an unforgettable start to your Alps 2 Ocean adventure: a scenic helicopter flight across Lake Pukaki to the start of the trail. Today’s riding is endlessly scenic: glacier-carved valleys, turquoise lakes, snow-covered peaks and tussock-covered highlands.
Day 3: Ohau to Omarama
Approx 55km of cycling.
Today’s riding starts with a small climb to the bush line where native beech trees meet the tussock. The track is wide and the gradients no greater than 5%. From the top enjoy stunning views of Lake Ohau, one of the coldest and deepest of the southern lakes. We detour for a picnic lunch at Clay Cliffs, before a short afternoon ride takes you to Omarama for an afternoon gliding flight over the Southern Alps, or a soak in some of the most scenic hot pools in New Zealand.
Day 4: Omarama to Kurow
Approx 67km of cycling.
Ease into the day with a gentle climb over the Otematata Saddle. Take a last admiring glance at the Southern Alps before rolling downhill to Otematata. For the rest of the day, you’ll pedal past pristine lakes and intriguing early engineering works, before arriving in Kurow – the hometown of former All Black captain Richie McCaw.
Day 5: Kurow to Oamaru
Approx 82 km of cycling.
Unusual geological features and Maori rock art are on the agenda today, along with a stop at Vanishing World Visitors Centre. Tonight’s final destination is the fascinating Victorian town of Oamaru.
Day 6: Oamaru & Dunedin
Plenty of time this morning for a stroll around Oamaru’s historic precinct with its period costume shops, or a visit to the famous Yellow Eyed Penguin colony. After a picnic lunch at the waterfront, we drive the east coast to Dunedin, with a stop along the way to see the famous Moeraki Boulders.
Day 7: Dunedin to Wedderburn
Approx 46m of cycling.
After breakfast we head to Dunedin Railway Station for a scenic train journey to Middlemarch or Pukerangi (depending on the timetable). After a transfer to Hyde, you’ll start your journey along the historic Central Otago Rail Trail. This easy-going trail throws up a stunning backdrop of turquoise blue lakes, big skies and flinty river gorges. Tonight’s entertainment is a spot of curling, followed by a slap-up meal at the quaint Danseys Pass Coach Inn.
Day 8: Wedderburn to Omakau
Approx 42km of cycling.
Today you’ll meander through the vast open expanse of the Ida Valley and take a peek at the Idaburn Dam, one of New Zealand’s few outdoor winter curling sites. A highlight of today’s ride is the beautiful Poolburn Gorge, featuring two tunnels and two viaducts.
Day 9: Omakau to Queenstown
Approx 29km of cycling.
Good news: today’s cycling is all downhill! You’ll cruise through the colourful fruit growing area of Alexandra before dismounting for the final time for a celebratory lunch at the Shaky Bridge café – where local wines and craft beers await sampling. Then, sit back and enjoy a relaxing drive to your accommodation in Queenstown.
Is this tour for you?
This tour is a fully-supported, all-inclusive tour that’s 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, please see the Twin Trail tour page.
Have a great week,
Photo: Lake Pukaki