Straddling the mid-South Island, the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail is all about highs—like New Zealand’s highest peak, Aoraki/Mt. Cook—and lows, such as the valley of pressed-limestone formations at Elephant Rocks. Day rides take in turquoise glacial lake vistas and grassy expanses, while starry skies and penguin sightings help you recharge between the trail’s eight legs covering 194 miles.
The Southern Alps’ incredible natural beauty is unique in Australasia. There are also man-made wonders at the trail's end in Oamaru, where you can sip New Zealand’s oldest whiskey, and visit Steampunk HQ, a Victorian elevator building now housing industrial-modern art installations and quasi-futuristic contraptions. A mix of surfaces, elevations, and access points make the ride an easy-to-intermediate trip for experienced cyclists.