Several years ago, the idea was mooted to establish a bike trail that would take cyclists from Mt Cook/Aoraki (New Zealand’s highest peak) to the Pacific Ocean at Oamaru Harbour through some of the South Island’s most beautiful countryside. New Zealand has a number of very popular bike trails already, including the most famous one along the Central Otago Railway line. The new trail would extend 312km and would follow a largely downhill course, with some undulating sections so that you don’t just coast all the way from Mt Cook to the trail’s end at the Pacific.
Sections of the trail began opening last year, (this article from the Otago Daily Times lists the sections that are already open) and at this point enough of it is open that it is possible to navigate most of the distance on the trail itself (though in some sections you have to divert a bit onto roadways or other non-trail detours). Already there are companies offering support services for people interested in biking the Alps2Ocean trail, as it’s been named, with one in particular offering an especially wide range of services from their base in Oamaru.
Alps2Ocean Cycles has a stable of brand-new, NZ-built bicycles for visitors to hire for use on the trail (you can also hire them for local use), and just in case you’re interested, you can even hire a tandem bicycle, complete with two different varieties of trailer for children to use, depending on their age, and for the truly adventurous there’s a unicycle available, too! They also have helmets (which are required by NZ law) and other accessories so you needn’t bring any of that with you. Panniers for your stuff are also available so that you could do the trail without a support vehicle, though if you wish, they also have caravans available for a support driver to carry your luggage. A service is also available to drop you off with your bikes at the top of the trail at Mt Cook so that you can arrive in Oamaru, collect your bikes, and then return to Oamaru at the end of the trail. Very convenient!
Their website has a helpful list of sights to see along the way while you’re on the trail, so there’s really no reason not to put the Alps2Ocean trail on your list of things to do while in New Zealand!