Allowing seven days to ride the track gives time to enjoy the scenery. Most people ride from Tekapo to Twizel which, although it’s 54 kilometres, is fairly flat alongside icy-blue canals then downhill towards the end. Day two from Twizel to Lake Ohau, a ride of 38 kilometres, is also mainly downhill or flat with much of it around the edge of Lake Ohau, where water-skiers and kayakers may be spotted. Day three is the toughest with a rocky trail that seemingly never ends as it climbs to the highest point of the A2O trail, giving spectacular views over the lake. The ride of 45 kilometres to Omarama, a tiny township, is made longer with a side-trip to Clay Cliffs, adding on 14 kilometres. It’s worth it though! Relax in the Omarama Hot Tubs under the stars and soak those biking pains away.
Days four and five include stretches of on-road cycling, but this part of the world sees relatively little traffic. Riders pass by summer camping spots on lakesides. Be sure to pack your swimming gear, there are great places to cool off on the way. A stay in Otematata breaks the days up and in Kurow, there’s a well-stocked supermarket. Cyclists won’t have seen one for a few days, this is rural New Zealand. A fairly short ride day to Duntroon of 28 kilometres on day six is gradually downhill and alongside the river which may be dry in summer, before the final day which is a long 54 kilometres with some evil hills to the final destination of Oamaru and the ocean.
Riders should carry food for lunches as there is little between towns. Check with accommodation providers as to whether meals can be provided or if there are food stores in the vicinity for self-catering. Food may need to be bought for one or two days in advance.