Grand Tour de TekapoBeginner - Intermediate
Submitted by Geoffrey Smith
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Undulating, small hills only
Plantation/exotic forestRiversideLakesideOpen tussock/grasslands
Beginner - Intermediate
Fastest Known Times (FKTs)
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Head along the lakeside of SH8 until you get passed Peppers Bluewater Resort, then cross over the road and link up with the walking trail that heads up onto the bank bordering the road. Continue on this until it flattens out and then along to Tekapo Canal Road; be careful in the last 300m as you may have to stick to the road side as the track hasn't been continued to Canal road. Turn left down Tekapo Canal Road and continue through to the bridge over the canal, then turn left.
You are now on the Alps 2 Ocean alternative route. Follow along the road until it gets to the cycle gates that straddle the Tekapo Power Station Control Gates, push yourself through these and continue on the gravel road for about 650m. Before you start to head up what would be a second climb, turn right and follow a 4x4 track that heads towards the edge of the Tekapo River bed. After about 500m you will see a dirt single track heading up the bank, follow this up and continue along the top of the bank until you eventually pop out on the side of the new development of the town.
The track through this area is fairly average but it is about at this point where you think the track has completely disappeared, that you will need to head down through the pine trees and link up with the gravel road that heads along the riverside. This small downhill is the only unmarked section and can be slippery when wet. Continue along the track and up onto SH8, head over bridge and then turn right onto Cowans Hill Track.
Follow this around the few houses in that area and up hill and into the young Pine Plantation. This track continues up onto the open grasslands that overlook the town and provide really stunning views across the lake and Southern Alps. Follow the track until it links to SH8 and cross over the road about 500m towards town, link onto the mountain bike track and continue on the outer trails until you get up to the northern part of the park.
It's at the northern end of this section where you will link onto a new trail (Oct 2021) that heads up some steep technical trail for a few hundred meters, then as the saying goes, what goes up, must come down - yes you head down steep trails to the main trail again. You will eventually come out on Lilybank Road, cross over the road and follow the dirt track that follows between Lilybank and the lakeside. Continue along the trail until you turn right beside Pioneer Drive, follow the single trail behind Church of the Good Shepherd, around to the foot bridge and over. Then finally follow the gravel road round to the playground beside the Four Square and up to your car.
Features of interest
Run along the Tekapo Canal and past the Tekapo Power Station, along Cowans Hill Track, through the Mountain Bike Park and finish up with a run along Lake Tekapo.
Make Up of Run
Untracked / Route only: 1%
Technical Single Track: 2%
Moderate Single Track: 22%
Easy Single Track: 50%
Gravel Road: 10%
Sealed Road: 15%
The following trails overlap with this run to some degree. You may wish to combine them but please note that to qualify for FKTs on these runs you should record a separate Strava activity for each
Park in the car park adjacent to the Four Square and then walk out onto SH8 road side and 20m past the entrance to Rapuwai Lane is the start point.
Rapuwai Lane has plenty of parking, between the Four Square, Dark Sky Project and SH8.
There are a few trails within the Mountain Bike Park, which is why the outer trail was selected, just keep linking onto the outer trail and you will find yourself on Lilybank Road.
Short-sleeved thermal top, Windproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Whistle, Cellphone, Headtorch and spare batteries.
Best to carry your own supply as there is none available.
Getting yourself down the bank towards the river, when heading back into town.
Post run indulgence
The Greedy Cow Cafe
16 Rapuwai Lane, Lake Tekapo
Great coffee and they sell Fairlie Bakehouse Pies - if you feel up to indulging.
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