ALPS 2 OCEAN RIDE 4
Riding out of Omarama is on a off road trail at the side of the road for a few Km then a little section of uphill to get to Chain Hill. After catching our breath and taking in the view of Lake Benmore below us, we headed down on to the lakeside trail.
It tracks the shores of Lake Benmore for about 8Km. Riding along here was very autumnal, with the poplars lining the trail in their bright yellow colours and with the snow-capped mountains in the distance. I had to keep reminding myself to look back every now and then, to see the best of it!
This off-road trail took us to Sailors cutting. A popular camp ground for Kiwi’s in the summer time. Unfortunately, the Alps to Ocean crew are still working with landowners to get the trail off road here. So for now we had to ride on the main road which is not ideal. Also it involves a hill which is about 5Km long but the gradient is totally doable.
At the top you head down a fast 7km section of downhill to Otetmatata village, where there is a very nice little café to stock up on sustenance. The Cheese rolls are recommended if you fancy trying out a classic south islander snack!
The trail heads out of the little village following a quiet little road to the Benmore dam. The climb to the damn itself, is hard but short. It gets the muscles burning if you ride all the way up! We stopped for a snack break here with a view down the valley.
Lake Aviemore and Lake Waitaki
Next there is another fun downhill road section and a long but flat section around Lake Aviemore. This was easy riding, the Kms just flew by and we appreciated the sights and smells of autumn along the way. This road is a quiet country road, except in the height of summer, when it can be busy with cars towing boats. There are numerous campsites around the lake, which gives an insight into the old skool caravans that people are still using for their holidays!
Crossing Aviemore dam, the second of the day, the trail took us onto the highway. This is another section which the A2O crew are working to get permission to build the trail through private land. Unfortunately, this is probably the most dangerous section of road riding on the whole trail.
So we regrouped and rode together until we reached the 3rd dam of the day Waitaki Dam. Where we stopped for a quick look then continued to Kurlow. This is a good stop for supplies for day 5 (where there are no places to get supplied along the way) and we made the most of the great little chip shop and bought some hot chips and a hot chocolate!
We were excited to finally reach the Pasquale Winery in Kurow after the 64Km of riding. This is where we would be coming back to later for dinner! We left the bikes here and we were picked up by our hosts for the night, Amber and Patrick from Valley View Glamping.
We’d all been really looking forward to the Glamping tonight. Once we arrived, we excitedly headed straight to our glamping tent! And wow were they cool! Big and cosy with comfy beds complete with thick down duvets. Everything was great quality.
We were whisked away from our tents to Amber and Patricks home. The communal lodge isn’t quite ready yet so we were invited into their home.
We were served beautiful platters of local cheese and yummy homemade venison salami and were invited to taste Kurow winery’s wine. Trying a Pinot Gris for probably the 3rd time ever (I usually find it too sweet) I was very impressed with it. It was light, refreshing and was a perfect match with the cheese.
Amber and Patrick are fantastic hosts and their house is welcoming and warm, which is how they have designed the lodge as well. With a focus on open plan, roaring hot fire and being cosy.
We were driven back to the winery for an awesome section of stonebaked pizza and some more wine tasting. It was an awesome evening, chatting away to Amber and Patrick about our adventure so far and celebrating our progress!
Interestingly for our night in a tent, it rained ALL night….. Cosy in our comfy beds and warm under the thick down duvets I wondered whether there would indeed be any riding on our final leg of our Alps 2 Ocean journey on day 5!!
64Km of riding. A couple of little hills but mostly easy flat riding.
Following 3 lakes, crossing 3 dams, discovering the Waitaki valley.
Valley View Glamping was awesome and is a great place to stay for your Kurow stopover
Adventurers can organise your Alps 2 Ocean trip for you, just drop us a line.