Riding the Alps to Ocean – With Kids

We are collecting and sharing family experiences of riding the Alps to Ocean so you can see what others have done.   This will give you some confidence and understanding of whether your kids may be capable of doing the same type of ride. The age is only a guide – you are better to focus on matching your families capability or riding experience, with this in mind you may have to read more than one section.

This story is an active resource (we will be constantly adding to it) and sharing family experiences and comments.

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tow rope

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Alps to Ocean – Towing a Child Under 2yrs using a Bike Trailer

Family Details & Date of Ride

October 2020 from Lake Tekapo to Oamaru in 6 days with our daughter Matilda, 18 months. We’ve spent quite a lot of time cycling with her previously and she was always happy to go back in the trailer, often putting her helmet on herself signalling she was ready to go.

Bikes/Gear/Kids Bike Seat – Attached or Towed

We towed Matilda in a Thule Chariot double behind Colin’s mountain bike and she did really well. I rode my Surely Long Haul Trucker with 4 pannier bags and 2 bags on the rear rack. Colin has a rear rack on his bike with a bag too.

Describe how the ride was done – multi day ride

Originally we planned 10 days expecting to only do 30km a day, but we ended up doing it in 6 days because everyone was happy!

We rode Tekapo – Lake Pukaki Doc Campground – Ohau Lodge – Lake Benmore Holiday Park – Kurow Holiday Park (a big day because the council campgrounds we meant to stay in around the lake were quite yucky with lots of broken glass – the chariot got a puncture!) – Duntroon Domain – Oamaru.

alps to Ocean with kids
Canal roads between Tekapo & Lake Pukaki
Adult Comments/Kids Comments:

It was a glorious trip and we’re so happy to be able to spend times like this as a family.

The campgrounds were actually really great because Matilda had so much space to play. also used the washing machines to wash our nappies. Even if you weren’t camping I think cabins might be preferable to other accommodation options as you can relax and not worry about a toddler breaking anything!

We camped every night in our tent and we’d leave camp around 11:00 after Matilda had a good play and she’d fall asleep soon after. We’d then ride until she woke up, have lunch for a couple of hours and then she’d nap again. Often she’d wake up about an hour before camp and we had plenty of snacks to get her through. She had gone to one nap a few months ago, we certainly weren’t expecting so much sleeping, but it certainly made it easier.


After climbing Tranbrae Pass, heading to Omarama
Tips for Other Families

Matilda got bounced around a bit, but she only got upset by it twice in the rockiest sections over the pass out of Ohau, which makes me think she was happy with the rest of the bumps. Colin is a keen mountain biker and I think that certainly helped to have the control to be able to ride the best lines.

To get through the barriers we’d slant Colin’s bike under the arch then I’d line up the trailer and it would just squeeze through.  On about 2/10 occasions we had to disconnect the trailer.  Then I’d push my bike through the pinch gate and then Colin would lift the back wheel over because the panniers wouldn’t fit through! It was a bit tricky but we got quite efficient at it.

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