Explore Waitaki Valley
The Waitaki Valley is an unspoilt, untouched paradise with some of the best scenery in New Zealand.
A drive through the Valley will inspire you to get in touch with nature, either through exploring geological wonders, camping, boating or picnicking by the beautiful braided river or one of the three lakes. The developing wine industry in the Valley provides the opportunity to experience cold climate varietals while enjoying a platter made of local produce. Popular activities include soaking in the hot tubs, gliding over the McKenzie basin, skiing or snowboarding in the mountains or riding the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail.
Ohau showcases real New Zealand; it's a small holiday hideaway and gateway to lake Ohau, numerous walking tracks, the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle trail and the Ohau ski field. The ski field offers stunning vistas and being a smaller ski field, provides a wonderful community atmosphere up the hill. The Ohau lodge has spectacular views of the lake and mountains and is a great place to stay and socialise. Alternatively, there are a number of campgrounds around Lake Ohau.
If you want to get away from it all and relax amongst some of the most spectacular scenery in New Zealand then Ohau is the place to visit.
Omarama – the place of light – is a great place to visit and stay if you're coming from Christchurch, Queenstown or from Ohau via the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail. Have a relaxing soak in the Omarama Hot Tubs or watch a live sheep shearing show at Wrinkly Rams. Omarama has a stellar reputation for world-class gliding; here you can soar over the beautiful Waitaki Valley and McKenzie basin. The Ahuriri river and Waitaki lakes offer excellent fishing, boating, picnicking and other recreational opportunities.
Don't miss the interesting geology of the Clay Cliffs, just north of Omarama.
Otematata is positioned right between the hydro dam lakes and is a popular destination for water sports holidays, walking, cycling, swimming, boating and fishing. The township also has a nine-hole golf course, various accommodation options and other facilities.
You'll be in for a treat during autumn when the valley becomes a vibrant blend of golds, yellows, oranges and reds.
Starting at the Vanished World centre in Duntroon you can wind your way through the Valley and visit some key fossil sites that have been preserved by local landowners. Duntroon has also retained some of the more unique aspects of its past in a restored gaol and blacksmiths forge, and is home to some incredible geological formations that attract visitors from far and wide. The Elephant Rocks site is the perfect location to explore incredible limestone formations.
You can even go abseiling or rock climbing for a truly memorable experience.
Kurow is centrally located in the middle of the Waitaki Valley and provides the base for many activities including watersports, camping, cycling and fishing. Do a wine tour to Kurow Winery for a platter and wine tasting or stop in at regional wine tasting room, Vintners Drop in the old Post Office. The Kurow Museum is a interesting stop and provides great insights into local history. You can also continue on (or begin your ride on) the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail in Kurow.
Take your time and enjoy some excellent food, wine and warm Waitaki hospitality in a lovely rural setting.