The ‘Jewel in the Crown’ of New Zealand’s Great Rides


​​​​The Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail takes it’s riders from the foot of Aoraki Mt. Cook or Tekapo as two possible starting points in the Mackenzie basin and finishes at the Pacific coast in the Waitaki district’s main town of Oamaru. The Trail and has just been confirmed as one of the world’s 50 great destinations in a book “Wish You Were Here” written by Professor Terry Stevens, an international tourism consultant who in 2019, was awarded the prestigious LUXLife title of the Best Destination Development Expert in the World. 

On the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail, Terry Stevens writes - “When one of the most respected tourism operators you know eulogises, at length, about an exhilarating, uplifting and extraordinary experience know that he has visited somewhere, and done something very special. “ At just over 300km the Trail is the longest of the 22 New Zealand Great Rides and takes you through some of the best scenery the South Island has to offer. 
The book places the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail amongst such iconic and well know destinations as Barcelona, Chicago and Cape Town. While it does not constitute as a destination in the same genre as most of the examples covered in the book, the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail “qualifies, however, because it exhibits all the characteristics that define a great destination: it is well-managed, innovative, transformative and is delivered through a strong collaborative effort.” 
“The vision for the project is clear: it states that A2O is to be ‘the jewel in the crown of New Zealand’s great rides that provides riders with an Alps to Ocean cycle experience that is second to none.’ It has succeeded in this goal.” 
“The Mackenzie Basin has always been popular due to the alpine lakes and Aoraki/Mount Cook but now also has its Dark Skies initiative. Oamaru has been building on its Victorian heritage and architecture and Steam Punk credentials and more recently the Waitaki Whitestone Geopark was created and is currently seeking UNESCO recognition as a world geopark region. Now, since its inception the A2O has received a great deal of media and international press and news coverage, establishing the region as a destination in its own right, rather than a transit route. “ 
The Mayors of the two District Councils responsible for the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail, Graham Smith for the Mackenzie and Gary Kircher for the Waitaki, are in complete agreement on the magnificent splendour and natural beauty of the region… “where else can you be captivated by such awe-inspiring landscapes and skies” - ‘the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail is an amazing opportunity to experience the constantly changing vistas of some of New Zealand’s most awe-inspiring scenery.  From our tallest mountain, Aoraki Mt Cook, to the beautiful Victorian coastal town of Oamaru, the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail is full of fantastic memories, just waiting to be captured. 
Terry Stevens says of the book, “I truly hope that this will help readers understand the effort that takes place to make their trip enjoyable. Good management in tourist destinations will become even more important as we move into the next era of travel and tourism and these 50 destinations have all shown how this can be achieved.” 

The Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail 

The Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail is New Zealand in all its colour and natural beauty - from our highest mountains, past great lakes and rivers, and down to the ocean. Suitable for all ages, the 9 section cycle trail is an easy to intermediate grade, linking the Southern Alps to the Pacific Ocean. 
Allow 5-6 days to cycle the entire trail and remember to add some time to investigate the region while you are here. Alternatively, if time is at a premium, simply make a day excursion or tick off a section or two over a long weekend... What better way to reconnect friends and family or simply get away from it all, either way, you will be enjoying genuine hospitality in some of the best scenery that the South Island has to offer. 
Whichever option anyone chooses, the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail is sure to be a great destination and a most memorable experience. 

Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail website:​ 

Facebook page:​ 
  • For additional information regarding the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail contact Rob Miller, Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail Specialist, Tourism Waitaki, 8 Itchen St., Oamaru 9400.  Tel. 021 1960 127 
  • For further information regarding the book Wish You Were Here contact the publisher Graffeg, 24 Stradey Park Business Centre, Llanelli, SA14 8YP, Wales UK.  Tel +44(0) 1554 824 000  Website: ​​​
Page reviewed: 21 May 2020 8:43am