Otematata to Kurow
Section 6 – Otematata to Kurow
On this section of the A2O, you get to see the largest dam within the Waitaki Hydro Electricity Power Scheme. Leaving Otematata you follow a cycletrail beside the Waitaki River to the base of the Benmore dam. With the Omarama Saddle hill climb behind you, the rise to get onto the top of the Benmore Dam will feel easy Crossing over the Benmore Dam and onto the northern shore of Lake Aviemore takes you along quiet back roads with very little traffic, except over the summer public holidays.
Following the sealed public roads along this entire section makes for easy riding and gives you many opportunities to stop for photos, a quick paddle in one of the lakes or to marvel at how NZ has developed such an amazing hydroelectricity scheme. Meander along the lakeside of Lake Benmore and Lake Aviemore to finally cross the Aviemore Dam and rejoin the state highway to finish at the rural township of Kurow (home town of current all blacks captain Richard Macaw). The state highway has some tight, blind bends that are not ideal for cycling. These are being widened to make the road section safer.
During summer holidays, beware, on this stretch of road there are many cars towing boats and caravans, as this area is a very popular summer camping and boating area. As there are lots of public camping areas along this section, there are also lots of public toilets on the way too! Still, if you think you may need it, please carry a Poo Pot and always be fire wise. Once again, we advise you to wear high viz cycling vests/jackets whilst on all road sections. Good on ya mate!
What To See & Do
Otematata to Kurow
- Visit the Hydroelectic Centre to learn more about now the generators inside the dams create power from water, great for kids.
- Stop at the Waitaki Dam Cafe, not only good coffee but with an interesting photo display of the dam being built by hand! (The cafe has limited opening hours out of season.)
Where to Stay
Kurow, like Otematata, is a small town with accommodation limited to a pub/ hotel, camp ground, and a couple of BnB’s. Expect all accommodation to be fully booked during public holidays and most summer time weekends.