1. Mt Cook to Braemer Road

This is the first day of the A2O experience and the first day of the rest of your life. But your life will never be the same again. You will fly with a helicopter over one of the most beautiful areas in the world. You are going to breath air your lungs will get addicted to. You will be amazed until night time. And then... the stars come out. Do you know the opening of Richard Strauss' Also Sprach Zarathustra? It's like that, but then for all senses.

Highlights and points of interest:
  • Aoraki/Mt Cook
  • Tasman River
  • Lake Pukaki
  • DOC Visitor Centre
  • Glacier Landings
  • High Country Stations
  • Walking Tracks – Hooker Glacier Terminal Lake, Red Tarns, Governor’s Bush, Blue Lakes, Mueller Hut
  • Distance: 35km
  • Fitness: Easy
  • Skill: Moderate
  • Traffic: Low
  • Grade: 2
Track surface:
  • 48 % gravel road
  • 1% dirt track
  • 32% rough shingle
  • 20% smooth shingle

>> Map section one of A2O trail

Section 1 of the A2O: Mt Cook to Braemar Road

The Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail starts at the White Horse Hill Campground, just north of Mt Cook Village. At the campsite next to the toilets and shelter the off-road trail departs from the start sign towards the airport (8km).

A short helicopter flight across the Tasman River takes you to The Rotten Tommy to continue along the trail. The trail here feels remote and can be soft in small areas as it is built on the glacial breaded river scree. There are several river crossings along this section; be careful crossing swollen streams in times of heavy rain. From The Rotten Tommy, it’s 10.6km to the Jollie Car Park at the top of Hayman Rd. Remember to stop and look back at Aoraki/ Mt Cook at 3,754 meters high.

On reaching the car park it takes 16.8 km to reach the end of the section at Braemar Road junction. There are no services at this section junction but accommodation is available at Braemar Station.