Our Tips for Riding Safe on the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail

Hopefully we can all agree that staying safe while riding the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail is as important as having fun. Being NZ’s largest cycle trail at 310kms, there is plenty of opportunities for hazards, however it’s all about being aware of them before you head out on the trail. Then of course there’s acting accordingly when you are out on the trail. With our experience and expertise we have summarised for you the important safety notes and challenges for each section of the A2O trail.

The following safety notes form part of our Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail Information booklet, which is packed with much more useful information, and is included in our trip packs for those who book a full package with us.

A2O-Information-Booklet

Section 1 & 2

Mount Cook Village – Braemar Station – 35Km
Braemar Station – Twizel – 42km

Safety Notes and Challenges

Riding-Safe-A2O
  • 1 : Crossing Tasman River is by helicopter only. Follow the safety briefing and instructions of the helicopter crew at all times.

  • 2 : Tasman Point – Jollie River Carpark – Several stream crossings and rough / bumpy trail surface.

  • 3 : Hayman Road – Traffic and other road users, particularly large logging trucks. Remember to keep left and ride in single file.

  • 4 : Crossing State Highway 8 from Lake Pukaki Info Centre to join the trail on the opposite side.

  • 5 : Pukaki Flats – at one point there is a short steep downhill with a sharp right hand turn at the bottom – this should be signposted – Take extra care!!

  • 6 : Crossing State Highway 8 as you enter the township of Twizel.

Section 1 & 2 (Alternative Route)

Tekapo – Twizel – 55km

Safety Notes and Challenges

  • 1 : Crossing State Highway 8 from Lake Tekapo Village to the start of the trail.

  • 2 : Crossing State Highway 8 while cycling along the canal roads.

  • 3 : Steep downhill section approaching Lake Pukaki with a sharp left turn at the bottom onto Hayman Road.

  • 4 : Hayman Road – Traffic and other road users, particularly large logging trucks.

  • 5 : Crossing State Highway 8 from Lake Pukaki Info Centre to join the trail on the opposite side.

  • 6 : Pukaki Flats – at one point there is a short steep downhill with a sharp right hand turn at the bottom – this should be signposted – Take extra care!!

  • 7 : Crossing State Highway 8 as you enter the township of Twizel.

Riding-Safe-A2O

Section 3

Twizel – Lake Ohau Lodge – 38km

Safety Notes and Challenges

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  • 1 : If there has been significant rainfall in the days leading up to today, there is a small possibility that the Ohau Weir may be closed. You can check the weir status on the A2O website, or by contacting our Twizel depot.

  • 2 : Do not cross the Ohau Weir if the “Weir Closed” sign is up or if there is water flowing over the top of the weir. Please contact our depot team to discuss alternative options if the weir is closed.

  • 3 : Take care on the boardwalk section alongside Lake Ohau.

  • 4 : Keep left and cycle in single file on Lake Ohau road.

  • 5 : Take extra care crossing one lane bridges and around Lake Middleton which is very popular with campers during holiday periods.

Section 4

Lake Ohau Lodge – Omarama – 45km

Safety Notes and Challenges

  • 1 : This section crosses the highest point on the trail. This area is potentially the most exposed to cold or hot weather so ensure you take appropriate clothing for all conditions.

  • 2 : At the start of the descent from the high point there are two switchbacks that require care – this has been the site of previous incidents.

  • 3 : On Quailburn road there may be loose gravel. Remember this is a public road and be aware of other vehicles. Keep left and ride in single file.

  • 4 : The bridge over the Ahuriri River is the road (highway) bridge. Exercise caution crossing using the shared bridge.

Riding-Safe-A2O

Section 5 & 6

Omarama – Otematata – 24km
Otematata – Kurow – 40km

Safety Notes and Challenges

Riding-Safe-A2O
  • 1 : Take extra care when riding on the highway up to Otematata Saddle. Keep left and ride in single file.

  • 2 : On the descent from Otematata Saddle on state highway 83, ensure you maintain control of your speed.

  • 3 : Also be sure to control your speed on the steep descent from the top of Benmore Dam.

  • 4 : Remain vigilant on Te Akatarawa Road alongside Lake Aviemore. This can be a popular area with campers, particularly during holiday periods.

  • 5 : There is potential for strong winds when crossing the Aviemore Dam.

  • 6 : Take care when crossing the highway to join the cycle trail after Aviemore Dam.

  • 7 : Remain aware of several more crossings over the highway between Aviemore Dam and Kurow as the trail zigzags down the valley.

Section 7 & 8

Kurow – Duntroon – 28km
Duntroon – Oamaru – 54km

Safety Notes and Challenges

  • 1 : Crossing side streams between Kurow and Duntroon – After periods of rainfall these may be uncrossable and sections of the trail may be closed – the alternate route is to cycle on the highway and use the road bridges to cross these streams.

  • 2 : Take care when crossing the highway to visit the Maori Rock Art.

  • 3 : Exercise caution on the boardwalks crossing the Duntroon Wetlands.

  • 4 : Between Duntroon and Oamaru there are several ups and downs so ensure you are ready for a few hill climbs, and also take care where the trail crosses roads at several locations.

  • 5 : On the steep descent towards the Rakis Tunnel, ensure you control your speed.

  • 6 : You may wish to use the torch mode on your cellphone to provide some light as you head through the tunnel.

  • 7 : Take care as you cycle through Oamaru, keep left and ride in single file.

Riding-Safe-A2O

We recommend reviewing these tips daily and discussing each day’s ride with your cycling buddies, either the night before, or over breakfast before you jump on your bike. Accommodation hosts along the trail are also worth chatting to, as they are aware of the most up to date trail conditions. If you have any other questions about the trail, please don’t hesitate to contact our customer service team.

Happy Cycling – Be Safe 🙂