Between the Lakes Benmore and Aviemore lies a stunning Summer camping destination: Ōtemātātā, the perfect place to relax and refuel. Originally established as a construction town for the nearby power stations it’s now an underrated locale for adventure seekers.

With a range of activities to indulge in, including mountain biking or walking on the trails at the Ōtematata Wetlands, jetboating, boating and fishing, the fresh Ōtemātātā air will get your heart pumping.

Take the roads less travelled around the back of Lake Aviemore to a camping ground primed for boating with ramps at the ready. From Te Akatarawa Road, after you cross the Aviemore Dam, lies the path to the deep stream walkway: a true hidden gem of the Waitaki. 20 minutes into the walk there’s a picnic table where you can savour lunch overlooking the lake.

After another stunning vista? The DOC Benmore Peninsula hike is an easy 4km loop circuit that takes around an hour and a half to complete. Both you and your pooch (on a lead) will be rewarded with views that are out of this world (but are definitely still in NZ).

The brand new trail section of the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail opens in December and it will take you off SH83 from popular fishing site Sailor’s Cutting, so named for the chosen hiding place of AWOL sailors, through the Waitaki Valley to the Benmore dam.

Built from a gargantuan weight of earth and clay, the Benmore dam— true to Kiwi spirit—is a vision of ingenuity.

Walk, pedal, or drive, you’ll want to traverse the Benmore dam anyway you can. NZ’s largest earth dam is home to fable-inspiring scenery that’ll steal your breath in the best way possible, especially if you are lucky enough catch the spectacle of the dam spilling after a heavy rain.

Benmore Dam which is the largest rammed earth dam in New Zealand and the second largest hydro-electricity producer in the country. Also nearby is the Otematata Wetlands which is a tranquil place to stop and relax.

As summer winds down and the days shorten, the area transforms with strong autumn colours from golden poplars and willow flanking the edges of the lake.


Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail

New Zealand’s longest and most spectacular cycle trail – this is a trail not to be missed. The name says it all; start at Aoraki Mt Cook in the heart of the stunning Southern Alps or the equally beautiful Lake Tekapo Village and wind your way round mountains, deep-blue lakes and canals, then rolling farmland before meeting the Pacific Ocean on the edge of Oamaru Harbour.

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Aviemore Dam

The Aviemore Hydro-Dam was constructed during the 1960s and became fully operational in 1968. The Aviemore’s generators are the largest in New Zealand, generating enough electricity each year for about 120,000 New Zealand homes. The pipes that carry water into the power station, called “penstocks,” are the largest in New

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Benmore Hydro-Dam

Benmore Dam is the largest earthen dam in the country and second largest producer of hydroelectricity. It was completed in 1965 and at the time was Aotearoa New Zealand’s biggest ever construction project.

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Benmore Peninsula Track

This circuit track passes through a forest and around a peninsula jutting out into Lake Benmore. The views are very impressive -especially earlier in the mornings when the weather is generally calmest. Complete a loop or return the way you came.

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Lake Benmore

Lake Benmore is New Zealand’s largest artificial lake, created by the Benmore Hydro-Dam. It is about 74km² and holds about 1.25 billion cubic meters of water – that’s 1.5 times the water in Wellington Harbour!

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Lake Waitaki

Lake Waitaki is the smallest, oldest and farthest downstream of the three man-made lakes of the Waitaki hydroelectric scheme. Close to Kurow, Lake Waitaki is below Aviemore and Benmore on the Waitaki River. It a great spot, popular for water-sports and fishing.

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Otematata Wetlands

Walking / Biking Track Time : 30 minutes – 1h for the loopDistance : 4.5km of trail  The Otematata Wetlands take in some some fantastic spots along the shoreline of lake Aviemore. This is an excellent network of small tracks, trails, picnic areas and swimming spots, making it the perfect

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Sailors Cutting

Sailors Cutting is a popular camping and fishing site for local Kiwis. A lovely resting spot on the shore of Lake Benmore, the view across the lake is a treat to behold.

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