Omarama to Otematata
Section 5 – Omarama to Otematata
You’d better be feeling fit today, today’s the day of the Omarama Saddle climb, one of the biggest hill climbs on the A2O Cycleway. Some of you will relish the challenge and others might not! The reward is that you also get the great downhill into Otematata. There is purpose built cycle trail from Omarama by the side of SH83 that runs all the way alongside Lake Benmore up to Sailors Cutting so over half of this section is off road. But, be warned, the second half of this section is all on state highway (although not high traffic flow) with a mixture of local, farm vehicles and tourist traffic travelling at a scary 100kph. At sailors cutting, you’ll find a public picnic area beside the lake with toilets, ideal to refresh yourself before you start the big climb up the Otematata Saddle. It’s 8km long but the exhilarating ride down the other side makes it worth it. If you’re on our tour, talk to the guide nicely and they’ll shuttle you to the top so you just get to ride down into Otematata.
There are 2 toilets on this section, so you probably won’t need your Poo Pot. We’d advise you to always carry it in case of emergency. You are also travelling on the State Highway and vehicles are not used to seeing bicycles on this stretch of road. We highly recommend a high visibility cycle vest on all road sections and strongly discourage you from riding at night. You will also see Fire Danger signs, regardless of what the potential fire risk shown, as with all parts of this trail, please do not light any open fires and take great care to dispose of cigarette butts safely. With cigarette butts, treat them as you would litter. Don’t throw them away, take them home with you to dispose of properly. If camping, please use only gas stoves and do not cook around any long grass.
What To See & Do
Otematata has a traditional New Zealand style pub/ hotel so check it out for your evening entertainment. There are 2 dairies (otherwise known as the corner store or newsagent, depending where you are from), to get a few essential supplies, and there is a cafe for all you caffeine addicts who need your daily coffee fix!
Where to Stay
Otematata has a pub/hotel and a camp ground, so accommodation is limited.