The Lake Ohau Lodge is the perfect place to stay if you want to go skiing high above Lake Ohau. The trip to the lifts takes only 15 minutes from the lodge.
With the NZ Ski Pass which also covers Mt. Hutt, Coronet Peak and The Remarkables you have unlimited skiing at the Ohau skifields as well.
After the skiing you soak in the hot outdoor spa pools, and I heard that they serve mulled wine (Glühwein) at this occasion. Take care you do not get too much while in the water and do not drown... ;-)
If you do not stay at the lodge a day pass for all lifts costs NZ$ 62 in 2007, if you stay at the lodge only $51. You can hire all gear and even snow chains if you do not want to use the shuttle bus. There is no road toll to the skifields. Up there are three lifts.
If you want to check the itineray before you start your walk get a map of the area at a DOC Visitor Centre. When we arrived at the picnic area in the Temple Forest there was no map, so we were not really sure which walk we should go for, so we only made the little walk to the Temple Viewpoint which did not take us longer than 40 minutes (1hr for the return trip is indicated). BTW The signposts are clear and good.
This little walk lead up rather steeply and included two minor creek crossings, and from the top you had a good but not spectacular views to the surrounding snow-capped mountains and valleys. The special feature of this recreation park are the mistletoes that have disappeared in this beautiful beech forest due to the presence of possums and are regrowing due to extensive possum trapping with the - I would call them head-off traps. The birds we mostly spotted were the very cute yellow-breasted tomtits.
Other walks which start at this very nice picnic place (toilets, small shelter) are the walk to the South Temple Hut which takes 3 hours one way, and the walk to the bush line of the North Temple Valley (2.5 hours). Both start with a river crossing - which I do not consider as an ideal start LOL
The map you need for this area is for the Ruantaniwha Recreation Park.
As said in my introduction, already the trip to Lake Ohau is wonderful, especially on a late autumn or even a winter morning when the tussock grass is covered in glazed frost, every single blade of grass looking like a piece of white jewellery.
On the left side of the road is Barrier Range, on the right side is Ben Ohau Range. The mountains are up to 2500 metres high. The highest peak at the end of the lake is Mt. Glenmary, part of the Neumann Range, which is 2598 metres high. You might also spot Mount Cook, New Zealand's highest peak, behind Ben Ohau Range.
On a calm morning do not only stare at Lake Ohau on the right side of the road (coming from SH8) but also look to the left every now and then until you spot Lake Middleton. If you have not seen it until Lake Ohau Village you have missed it! Make a U-turn, it is just 100 or 200 metres before the village.
The reflections on this little lake are magic. You recognise every little branch and pebble as a 1:1 reflection like in a mirror. It was even more impressive than Lake Hayes in Central Otago which is New Zealand's most photographed lake for exactly this reason.
However, like everywhere else the magic is gone as soon as the wind sets in :-(
one of the many Lakes around the Area and on the way to Mount Cook National Park, easy drive through a scenic landscape, around 1hour from Twizel
it is pure nature around here, when on a roadtrip, watch your petroltank, fill up, buy some food and water, there are not many shops or gasstations around
scenery like this you will see along the way from Twizel to Mt. Cook and Lake Tekapo.....Lupins in the Summer Haze