The 2020 tour plan was to cover 1000km and link key sections of 5 trails: Alps 2 Ocean, Otago Central Rail Trail, Roxburgh Gorge Trail, Clutha Gold Trail and finally the Around the Mountains Trail. Start point was Lake Tekapo and end point was Queenstown.
Overall route map: https://connect.garmin.com/modern/course/29986015
DAY 1 LAKE TEKAPO TO LAKE OHAU LODGE (96km)
Our friend Damien from Wanaka was very kind and drove us to Lake Tekapo for the grand journey to commence. This stage is part of the Alps 2 Ocean Trail. After the obligatory drinks and meal, the stunning scenery started immediately as we made our way to Twizel for lunch and then onto the Lodge which is the only accommodation in this destination.
Route map: https://www.strava.com/activities/3087254912
DAY 2 LAKE OHAU LODGE TO KUROW (114km) (Alps 2 Ocean Trail)
The days starts with an immediate shale trail climb from the lodge to Tarnbrae High Point at 900m. Great views before a technical start to the descent and then a nice flowing trail to the bottom. From here we pass by a couple of dams and then join the gravel for our arrival in Kurow. Great pub meal here.
Route Map: https://www.strava.com/activities/3089644623
DAY 3 KUROW TO NASEBY VIA INFAMOUS DANSEY PASS (93km)
Our final section of the Alps 2 Ocean Trail as we need to cross Dansey Pass for the next trail link. A little bit of nervous chat as Dansey Pass appears on a website called Dangerous Roads. So not sure what to expect but it turns out to be a super scenic run to the start of the climb as we pass through a local lavender farm and are encountered by 4000 sheep on the road being driven to somewhere on the pass. Last 4 km of the climb is a tough slog and care needs to be taken with any oncoming traffic; fortunately not much. A very satisfying day with a stay in former gold rush town of Naseby.
Route map: https://www.strava.com/activities/3092461249
DAY 4 NASEBY TO CLYDE (Otago Central Rail Trail. 110km)
This stage focussed on joining the Otago Central Rail Trail and staying at another gold rush town of Clyde with a couple of very good restaurant option.. Bit of head wind sth send but otherwise a nice gentle day with a welcome cafe along the way for lunch.
Route Map: https://www.strava.com/activities/3095345927
DAY 5 CLYDE TO BEAUMONT (Roxburgh Gorge and Clutha Gold Trail) (100km)
This was the highlight ride day. Beautiful ride down Roxburgh Gorge to connect with a Jetboat that takes you 13km down a dam to then continue the gorge ride to Roxburgh town for a very good lunch. Good cafe choices here. Then a quick connect onto the Clutha Gold Trail for a fantastic scenic run into the the one pub town of Beaumont for the night and a pretty expensive bar tab the next morning!. Felt like to locals jumped onto it.
Route Map: https://www.strava.com/activities/3098033283
DAY 6 & 7 GORE AND OTAUTAU (Largely bitumen en route to Fiordland)
This two stages involved some gravel on local roads and also quiet bitumen roads as we moved through Southland on route to Fiordland. Travel through rolling farmland first to Gore which is famous for fishing (allegedly) and Otauatu which is famous for nothing but has a terrific local hotel owned by a couple of locals who provide excellent hospitality and meals.
Route Map : Gore https://www.strava.com/activities/3100400473. (90km)
Route Map : Otautau :https://www.strava.com/activities/3103422496. (101km)
DAY 8 OTAUTAU TO MANAPOURI AND REST DAY ON DOUBTFUL SOUND FIORLAND (114km)
All very tired as we set off for our 8th day of 100km and a bit of a slog to get to this paradise location. Rest day spent on a cruise on Lake Manpourie and Doubtful Sound which is so spectaular
Route Map: https://www.strava.com/activities/3106756028
DAY 10 MANAPOURIE TO GARSTON (UNEXPECTED GRAVEL SECTION) (124km)
Set out on our 120km stage expecting to spend it on bitumen. Midway on route and over lunch realise we were close to the Around The Mountains Trail. As it turned out it was the 2nd best section of trail we rode. Stayed in Garston which is a neat little spot with great Art Deco hotel, art gallery and brilliant coffee van for the next morning start to the day. Large bar tab again next morning!
Route Map: https://www.strava.com/activities/3112525828
DAY 11. FINAL RUN INTO QUEENSTOWN (67km)
Fortunately we started the day on the final 20km gravel section of Around The Mountain Trail which ends in Kingstown before the final run into Queenstown with spectacular views of the lake on your left side all the way.
Route Map: https://www.strava.com/activities/3115349180
THANKS GUYS FOR A TERRIFIC JOURNEY IN THE MOST PERFECT PART OF THE WORLD