Vivienne’s Alps 2 Ocean Adventure

Vivienne was part of a group of 8 friends who recently rode the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail. Viv is a bit of a foodie, so we thought there is no one else better to give us some tips on where to stop along the trail for a bite to eat!

Why did you choose to cycle the Alps 2 Ocean?

Last year we did the Otago Central Rail Trail and blindly decided the A2O would be a great idea, we are all relatively fit and our ages range from mid 50’s to early 70’s. We loved the E-Bike concept so we booked. A couple of our group did some training but the rest of us are walkers and swimmers so that’s all we did. I’m so proud of our achievements; we all rode well and worked hard with no accidents. Would not have done this on a normal bike!

Tell us about your cycle group and how you came together

We are a group of long time friends. In the past we have done decent day walks, half marathon walks, Tongariro Alpine Crossing, and the Otago Central Rail Trail. We socialise once a month and know each other pretty well. We all love food and drink and have no complaints of the standard we experienced!

What was your favourite accommodation on the Alps 2 Ocean trail?

This is hard as they were all good! For me personally I loved the Duntroon Hotel, it’s your typical Kiwi pub with a twist of magic – and I don’t drink!!! The pub from the outside looks nothing special, but you step inside and its been refurbished. The rooms were clean, everything was new, and had the most comfortable beds. As there was a group of us (8 in total) we had the use of the washing machine, very important when on a 5 day ride in heat. Ken the lovely and interesting owner made one of the best long black decaf I’ve ever had! Bar snacks were superb and dinner that night was Thai (beautiful).

Another one to mention was Valley Lodge Otematata and the lovely Anita. We arrived after Anita collected us, as we over shot the directions by 15k!!! We arrived at Valley Lodge to a bar of chilled beverages (we had rode close to 100k that day), fresh carrot cake in the upstairs fridge, fabulous rooms and bathrooms – complete with beautiful toiletries. We also used Anita’s washing machine and did our washing. Anita booked us into a local cafe where we ate a beautiful almost home cooked meal.

We hear you’re a bit of a foodie, can you share your food highlights along the A2O trail?

Lake Ohau Lodge: Dinner was in a large dinning room with several large groups. We started with fresh nutty bread and plenty of butter (good start). We had a choice of spicy carrot soup, followed by either lamb shanks (which all the men went for) or salmon (which all the girls went for). It was the best salmon I’ve ever tasted, which rested on a mash with fresh green beans, broad beans and a lemony glaze. Dessert was an old fashion sponge with fresh berries and cream – we needed this fuel as the next day’s ride was big!

Duntroon Hotel: A local Thai lady came in to cook and the food was exceptional! Fresh, tasty, and well presented – hard to fault and I’m sure you would struggle to get that quality in Auckland.

Fort Enfield Tavern: Everyone except myself took lunch from the Duntroon Hotel (everyone said they were the best sandwiches they had ever tasted) they looked beautiful – fresh, bursting with fresh green salad, and a chosen filling. I bought a date and cinnamon scone at the tavern along with a slice and coffee; the others after eating their lunches could not resist the beautiful pies. The tavern staff were so polite and you could have eaten off the floor the place was so clean – well worth the stop!! It made the ride to Oamaru very pleasant.

Cucina: Located in Oamaru, Cucina is an Italian restaurant that was recommended by several people. It was superb, we could not fault anything – would recommend to anyone if you’re in the area.

Is there anything you would have changed about your planning in retrospect?

  • It would be great if you could name the cafes and restaurants on the trail, so clients know where to go and maybe make it a lunch stop (carrying sandwiches for 4 hours on a hot day is not that pleasant).
  • On the biggest day of riding make sure riders are aware that beautiful food and drink is available at the Wrinkly Ram Cafe (Omarama).
  • Bells on bikes, as the section between Omarama and Otematata is quite narrow
  • We all bought lambswool seat covers for the bikes, none of us complained about sore bums!