Alps to Ocean is the longest of Aotearoa’s great cycle rides, traversing from the vistas of Aoraki Mount Cook to Oamaru over five to seven days. You can ride the full trail or sections, independently, stopping at local towns along the way, or take a guided tour through a tour operator.
For day excursion trail riders there are mountain bike tracks in the Herbert Forest, south of Oamaru, that cater to a range of levels, from kids loops up to technical riding, and in Oamaru there are two trails areas, at Cape Wanbrow and the Oamaru Reservoir, which has a kids skills area.
The beauty of nature, settled weather and sunshine of the Waitaki District are great for camping.
The lakes area has six beautiful camping sites offering stunning views, peaceful spaces, shelter, boat ramps and water sports. Walking, biking, fishing, paddle boarding and water skiing are popular activities for campers, and for those who like a refreshing dip there’s swimming!
Spanning from the ocean right up to the majestic Southern Alps, the pristine beauty of our natural landscape is easily accessible by day trip.
Visit the lakes for fishing, boating, paddle boarding and canoeing or take a walk from Benmore or Aviemore Dams, where you can also learn about the history of the dams and power generation in the area. The Lake Ōhau and Omarama areas have longer walks ranging from 2 to 7 hours through rural countryside. See Department of Conservation maps and tips for those areas.
Or head south to Palmerston for some beautiful coastal walks. Puketapu Hill has a stunning 360 degree view of rolling farm country out to sea. There are several bush walks at Trotter’s Gorge picnic and campsite area off SH1, including one to a cave featuring glow worms at night. Anderson’s Lagoon, also off SH1, is a 2-3 hour coastal walk with spectacular sea views.
Closer to town, Oamaru has many walking trails including the popular Harbourside walkway from Harbourside Gardens to Wanbrow Reserve, where you can visit the Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony.
The stunning Ōhau Snow Field opens from June to October 1. It caters for beginners to advanced skiers, has lessons and gear available for hire and a cafeteria. The spectacular views of Aoraki Mount Cook and Lake Ōhau from the mountain are worth a visit alone.
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