New Section of A2O Opens in time for the Holidays


​​​The Alps 2 Ocean Joint Committee, elected officials, and official trail partners celebrated the opening of the new off-road section this weekend. They gathered at Sailors Cutting campground to watch Mayor for Waitaki, Gary Kircher, Mayor of Mackenzie, Graham Smith, and Chair of the Alps 2 Ocean Joint Committee, Sally Jones officially cut the ribbon. Following this, over 150 cyclists took to the trail for the first time.

Sally Jones acknowledged all those who contributed to this section build and the significance of getting the trail off State Highway 83 to deliver a safer ride for all to enjoy.

Gary Kircher praised the co-operation involved in the creation of this off-road section, “It’s a real testament to ongoing inspiration and aspiration that this trail has got to where it is.”

Graham Smith felt the success of the track was, “a credit to all those involved in building it.” 
Chiefly built by M3 Contracting and finished with barriers and bridges by Recreation Construction, the new section took five months to build and cost $1.2 million, the primary funding coming from MBIE, which was matched by other contributors.

Kaiwhakahaere of Moeraki Justin Tipa sent blessings from the local iwi and shared the historical importance of the valley as a traditional food gathering site.

The section is mostly Grade 2 (easy), with some narrower and steeper 5 Grade 3 parts.
Starting at the Sailors Cutting car park on the shores of Lake Benmore, the 16km section combines purpose-built gravel cycle trail with DOC’s Benmore Peninsula and finishes at the car park above Benmore Dam. The section weaves through the high country of the Waitaki Lakes District following the Ahuriri arm of Lake Benmore with deep clear waters and golden tussock providing stunning backdrops.

Enjoying the preview of the trail, Lyn Menzies loved getting to see a different part of Lake Benmore you can’t see from the road, “I loved seeing all the little islands in the lake…It’s going to be an absolute must-do for sure, not just in New Zealand, it’s a world class bike ride.”

Page reviewed: 22 Dec 2020 9:50am