Our Alps 2 Ocean (A2O) journey begins!

Day 3

March 30th

This day was set aside for pure mountain biking, but we were disappointed. We had to ask several people before we found one that knew of a track that mountain bikes were allowed on. On our way back to the hostel we found the A2Otrails, and were a bit bummed that no-one thought to mention them!

On a more positive note, we were spoilt for choice for glacier’s to see! We settled on one that was close to a mountain bike trail and set off. It was an easy 9km to the trial start, where Clare and Evie broke off to climb to the top on foot. The others embarked on a tough, slippery, and rocky 4km uphill. It got so steep that the bikes were soon discarded and Marina, Anna, Chris, and Di had to scramble up on their hands and feet. They peeked over the rim of a ledge and were rewarded with views of the steep cliffs and icebergs of the Tasman Glacier. They were so close that they could hear the creaks and groans of the ice.

A slippery return home made a nice little 26km warm up ride1 Everyone was too stuffed to back up with another ride, so we had a beer and serviced our bikes instead.

Day 4

31st March

Today we said goodbye (and good riddance) to the Mt Cook Backpackers, and their super-thin mattresses, and drove to the other side of Lake Pukaki to where the A2O officially begins.

On the way we stopped at a Fresh Salmon Outlet and picked up out dinner (Jonesy was disappointed he didn’t get to catch it with his own hands!). We drove as far up the A2O trail as possible, then rode even further north, almost back up to the Glacier, while Clare and Evie drove the car back to our accommodation.

The ride as pleasant and undulating, with spectacular scenery – turquoise water, snow capped mountains, and fields dotted with cows and deer. We turned off the A2O trail, to embark on the final 5km of our journey to a Farm Homestead, which was our accommodation for the night.

That 5km was entirely uphill…. not just any kind of hill; a steep, relentless, soul destroying, and torturous Goliath of a hill. In a nutshell, it was character-building!

Jonesy was the first to drop off, and one by one we all followed. By the top, only Marina and Chris were still claiming to be fine! In the end it was a 4hr ride, and 37.4km – not bad considering the incline at the end!

A big thank you to Anna and Chris, who got straight into making dinner as soon as we got to our accommodation! Everyone assisted, but they were the instigators, and the last to get in the shower. And Anna shared her chocolate 🙂

Everyone has settled around an open fire for the night. We have been blessed with an open check out time, which I think everyone will need.


Day 5

April 1st

Today was one of the longest days, but it was hard to set out early – we had to say goodbye to our little 50’s home, with all the dogs and cows and chickens running around! Never the less we were on the road by 10am. The hill we had to ride up yesterday, we now made our way precariously down. The gravel was patchy and the thick patches caused a few slides. However everyone made it down in one piece.

From there it was a gentle, flat ride along Lake Pukaki. It was particularly serene in the last half of the morning session, where we left the road and took a bike trail along the water’s edge. For a late lunch we were met by Clare at the Salmon store, arriving with bread and honey (just in case food).

Clare had a longer ride than necessary getting to the Salmon store, as she first couldn’t fins the A2O trail from Twizel, and then took it in the wrong direction… Luckily Evie was patient for the first hour or so…

After lunch the trail was grassy, and mostly downhill. The views changed to vast plains of long, dry grass, characteristic of the Pukaki region.

Our hotel is only a block from the track today, which was a refreshing end to a long day (and certainly a lot better than yesterday!).

Today was 48km, mostly flat, and took us 5hrs (even with stops).

Everyone was relieved to be in their rooms and in bed around 4, everyone except Marina that is, who promptly mounted her bike and set off to check out the rowing centre!

The owners here have two little kids so Evie has been able to run a muck and burn some much pent-up energy! A day off for half the team tomorrow, and a Helibiking trip for the other half!

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