Two New Zealanders have smashed a world distance gliding record, beating temperatures as low as minus 35degC to fly 2500km over nearly 15 hours.

Christchurch pilot Terry Delore and John Kokshoorn, originally from Christchurch but now living in Australia, touched down in Omarama in Central Otago last night, having glided 2501km. They smashed the previous record by Klaus Ohlmann by about 80km, the Timaru Herald reported.

They took off from Omarama, flew to Ward in Marlborough, back to Clyde, near Alexandra, and then back up and level with Taihape in the North Island, before turning around and landing at Omarama.

During the trip, the pair hit speeds of up to 200km/h, but a rough patch over the Canterbury plains slowed the glider to about 80km/h.

Flying at 28,000 feet, or 8.5km high, for most of the way, the pair's water bags froze solid during the record-breaking flight. They relied on "electric socks, hand warmers, three hats, polyprops, three shirts, gloves and all that sort of thing", Mr Delore said.

Mr Delore bought the Ash 25 glider from Steve Fossett, a millionaire adventurer who died in a light plane crash in the Nevada desert two years ago. Together Mr Fossett and Mr Delore set 11 world records between 2002 and 2007.

Success followed four failed attempts. With the years of planning now behind him, Mr Delore was not sure what was next.

"I don't know, I haven't thought that far ahead. There are still some speed records to do, but I will cross that bridge when I come to it."