Twizel to Lake Ohau
A2O SECTION 3 – TWIZEL TO LAKE OHAU
Technical Difficulty: Grade 2
Fitness Required: Easy
Trail Overview: A mix of ¾ sealed road and ¼ cycle trail, mostly flat but be aware of potential headwinds on the canal road, especially later in the day, and that Ohau Weir may be impassible after very heavy rain or snow melt, there is a detour route but you will need to plan for it.
This is the only section of the A2O trail where the end point is higher than the start! You have a total elevation gain of 150m over the 37Kms. Cycle along Glen Lyon Road and join up with the Pukaki Canal, one of the canals that help link the massive hydroelectricity project together that supplies around a third of NZ’s total power needs. The modern hydro structures are only possible thanks to the enormous glaciers that originally shaped this landscape during the last ice age. Their evidence is everywhere in the first half of this trail as you pass over Moraine Walls and see the glacier landscape features that form the natural dams and lakes in this region.
Follow the canal road to the Lake Ohau Weir, a concrete structure that allows a part of the original Ohau River to continue to flow.
The Ohau Weir occasionally becomes impassable after high rainfall or snow melt and there is no other way of crossing the river other than at the weir.
*** Do not attempt to cross the weir if water is flowing over it. ***
Below is the live video feed of the weir from the official webcam. You MUST check that the weir is passable before you leave town, if you get to the weir and it’s in flood, you will have to follow the detour. The alternate flood route is to follow the highway from Twizel riding south 4km to Lake Ruataniwha. Just opposite the salmon farm by the highway, turn onto the 4WD track alongside the lake. Follow this for 15km to the weir. If the weir is closed it will be noted on the trail status page. The flood route is rough and steep in places and mountain bikes are recommended.
Webcam of the Ohau Weir (updates approx. every hour)
Once over the Ohau Weir, you join the dedicated cycle trail that winds around the picturesque shoreline of Lake Ohau. Eventually, you reach the public, sealed Ohau Road to cycle the last few kilometers to Ohau Village or a few more Kms to reach Ohau Lodge and the legendary hospitality of hosts Mike, Linda and their son Jock.
Didimo is present in all waterways in this area so please avoid walking or riding through any of the waterways. If you do get your bike or shoes wet from a permanent waterway or lake shore, please make sure you check, clean and dry anything that came into contact with the water. Visit the DOC Information Centre for more about Didimo.
Currently, there is 1 toilet on this section at the weir, so we advise you to carry a Poo Pot (and SheeWee for the ladies). Again, this region generally has very low humidity, so be sure to take plenty of water. We would not recommend using untreated lake or river water as drinking water.
Change nothing…you don't need to do more!
The whole trip was fantastic and I especially enjoyed the mountain bike tracks around the edges of the lakes. Thanks Sara and Vernon, We had the best time and we were very lucky to spend time in such a spectacular environment.
The bikes, the scenery and the accommodation and food exceeded my expectations. I have done very little mountain bike riding and was even a little apprehensive about it. As it turned out, I loved the bikes and my confidence on them soared. I could have taken my bike home with me!
(The guide) went the extra mile and encouraged me without being patronising.His knowledge and love of the area was tops and we missed him when the trip was over and we had to look at places without his explanations. He was the perfect guide.
I loved that everyone had the option of following their choices to ride through their challenges, or not, without judgement or pressure.
Thank you again for a truly memorable experience... you provided the greatest and most enjoyable service we have experienced in a very long time.
Every dietary need was offered...absolutely wonderful food.
I've been on lots of guided tours all around the world incl TDF, Vietnam, Greece, Turkey, UK and you have surpassed everything I have experienced in the past.
This trip surpassed expectations by quite a margin.
Fresh healthy and hearty meals. plenty of choices.
My favourite parts of the trip? Impossible to answer, so many wonderful aspects to the experience. Wineries were enjoyable, distances each day were manageable, bikes were excellent, food and accommodation were exceptional.
Totally amazed by the food. Can't give a top choice as each night was special and different. Breakfasts, lunches and snacks all superb. I ate far too much.
A really enjoyable morning MTB ride with a very professional outfit.
Great scenery. great company. great organisation.
The evening meals were fantastic. The guide was very accommodating, knowledgable about the area and their enthusiasm was inspiring. This was our first cycle tour, we had so much fun & the scenery was spectacular! Thanks to the guide for accommodating our little side trips … and gliding. It was an AWESOME cycle trail.
Fantastic attention to detail. Different experience/adventure every day. I have dietary restrictions which are a pain in the neck. This was handled brilliantly and without fuss. Very authentic Kiwi experience.
We thought the whole operation was marvelous. (The guide) was incredible, and everything was so well organised. Great variety each day in the cycling and different places we stayed each night added variety.
Thank you so much for the wonderful trip we have had and the photo – was just the ”icing on the cake!”
NON-RIDER. I didn’t actually ride, I was worried about the comfort of the bus but it was great. Excellent food and most of it was New Zealand made which was great. Loved the exclusive accommodations. Very nice. (The guides were) very informative and were very knowledgeable. I felt very safe being driven around by them. Bus very comfortable and plenty of room.
I could not fault (the guide's) commitment, energy, knowledge, good humor and patience and evenhandedness and attention to each individual. I would imagine that we all felt absolutely attended to, as I did.
How would I rate the cycle tour? It exceeded expectations. We were very well supported with excellent guides who were Very attentive and co-operative. Accommodation exceeded expectations.
All accommodation was very good. All food was excellent. The guide's home cooked meals/breakfasts were great. Meals out delicious. Also liked the fact that when we ate out we could have what we liked without restrictions. We suggested it could be marketed as a gourmet tour!
Accommodation exceeded my expectations, especially the last night which just blew my mind.
I was concerned about the price at first... now I would rate it as absolute value for money… it was much better value than we possibly imagined.
I was very worried about how I was going to survive the 300km ride on a different bike seat without destroying some of my anatomy, however the bikes were totally appropriate for the trail we were doing & the guide reassured us, adjusted & tweaked until all of us were comfortable in the saddle.
All meals were excellent Always looked forward to eating! It was great to stay in a range of different accommodation. a job well done finding the variety of places. nice to have some meals at the accommodation as well and not have too go out.
I thought it was a good mix of wine tours, cycling, resting, exploring, hot tubs, shopping, food, information, walks and talks. Don't change a single thing.
I did a few gulps at the price - shortly into the trip it was obvious that we were Definitely receiving Value For money. Worth every cent.
Both Vernon and Sara are very professional, nothing was too much trouble.
Enjoyed every day and thought the guides and accommodation were very good. The tour was better than I thought. Food was very good and I thought the tour was well balanced but particularly enjoyed unique accommodations where food was provided on site.
I loved your selection of interesting and sometimes spectacular accommodation and eating locations. You adapted according to changing weather and cyclist abilities with quiet grace and thought for the group.
The accommodation and food was excellent, much better than anticipated in comparison with previous rides.
All accommodation was very good and some outstanding.
The best recommendation I can give about the bikes is that I have purchased a new bike the same as those used on the trip. Unfortunately it hasn't come with the excellent van and trailer we became used to on the trail - we were spoilt rotten with such good quality, well maintained equipment.
The guide's explanations and information added to the enjoyment of the ride. It was great when we had a guide to support the slower cyclist so that the rest could go at their own pace.
We came to this tour from word of mouth and we've been to Central Otago many times before so we knew how great the environment and scenery would be, but the efforts made with accommodation and meals was much more than we expected. I loved the cycle tour and we're determined to come back and try out your new tours.
...riding in the middle of nowhere was a beautiful experience ... Thank you for making our honeymoon a truly amazing experience. We loved every day of it and did not want it to end. We will be back!
You guys are awesome. Thanks again for a wonderful experience...we appreciate all of the things you guys did to make this pretty special.
The cycle tour was better than my expectations. Honestly I can't think of anything you could do better.
Professional ,informative & well organised tour still adding a personal touch making the trip a memorable one. Ability to adapt to any situation maintaining group dynamics and moral. Well done an outstanding team!
Food was fantastic and better than we expected. Thoroughly enjoyed the variety of accommodation.
I didn't expect so many extras to be included plus the freedom to order any meal off the menu at the evening cafe's. The food was exceptional. All the accommodation was first class, and the different types added to the experience. Each day was an adventure and I cannot think of any aspect that I could possibly recommend a change.
Thoroughly enjoyable day out, May 2014. Really nice riding...it was quite cool in May with dusting of snow on neighbouring hills - which made for gorgeous photos.
We managed to bike almost 200kms and still come home a bit heavier! So nice to have healthy fresh food, good coffee and a different dinner experience each night. Food was fantastic!
Excellent food; excellent variety; all needs cared for including snacks en route.
Big thanks to you for a great trip and especially to the guide who with his sound knowledge and advice I was able to cycle a good chunk of the track despite not being able to walk! Thanks so much we really had a great time. Everything was good, keep doing what you are already doing well :)
Lunches were perfect - sandwiches, make your own and plenty of choices. Healthy - good balance. Breakfast was excellent - the cooked breakfasts were a great 'base' for a day's biking. Evening meals were good to amazing.
Nothing was a problem. The welfare, safety, experience and comfort of the group was paramount. We were so well looked after. Thank you!
Awesome scenery, wonderful service, and helibiking was "fabulous" to quote daughter Odette!
Every meal we had, without exception was excellent... the best breakfasts, the lunches were always in the most perfect spots, dinners ... well YUM! Great variety, tasty fresh ingredients ... nice.
I was totally inexperienced but thoroughly enjoyed tho whole day...Our guide exuded passion for the region and was full of information regarding flora and fauna and history... giving me helpful tips enabling me to complete the ride with growing confidence!!!
I was blown away by the scenery and organisation of your trip. All I can say is thank you and congratulations!
Your guides were excellent, couldn’t have asked for anything better. Loved everything about the trip. Wonderful value for money. My thanks to you all.
C/O Not A Rail Trail PO Box 2716,
New ZealandNew Zealand: 0800 4 CYCLE (429 253)
Australia: 1 800 445 709
World: +64 (0) 3 428 2912