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things to do
Twizel is a paradise for lovers of the outdoors, and there is never any shortage of things to do. Aside from its world-class rowing course and regular rowing events, Lake Ruataniwha is also a popular spot for boating and other watersports. The local lakes, rivers, and hydro canals are an angler’s dream, full of salmon and trout. Twizel is also on the popular Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail and has plenty of options for walking, tramping, and climbing in native forest or alpine wilderness.
Scenic flights from Lake Tekapo and Aoraki/Mt Cook offer breathtaking panoramas of the Southern Alps, and ski-plane landings on the Tasman Glacier provide an unforgettable experience. Or you can jump out of a plane on a tandem skydive above the town, combining thrills with spectacular views.
As part of the Aoraki Mackenzie Dark Sky Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage area, Twizel is also a stargazer’s dream. Take a trip up to the Mt John observatory in Lake Tekapo for a guided night sky experience, or simply just look up on a clear night to gaze the wonders of the Milky Way spread out across the Twizel sky.
If you prefer to stay on terra firma, the self-guided Upper Waitaki Hydro Heritage Trail offers a unique way to learn the history of Twizel. Or perhaps mini-golf or disc golf is more your thing – Twizel has them both, along with plenty of other sporting opportunities. With countless options for things to see and do, Twizel is the perfect base for exploring the Mackenzie Country.
Image: Lakeland Explorer
With the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail and several conservation parks on its doorstep, Twizel is ideally situated for cycling enthusiasts. You can choose to do the whole Alps 2 Ocean or just one leg, and you can either bring or hire a bike and go solo or join a tour.
Image: Nikki Adams
The Canterbury high country is a standout destination for hunting. Deer, tahr, chamois, wallabies, and goats are among the top targets. Enjoy staying in a backcounty hut with a stunning backdrop, and employ the services of a local guide to ensure success.
Image: Ōhau Snow Fields
Just a 30-minute drive from Twizel, Ōhau Snow Fields is fantastic for skiers and snowboarders of all abilities. The runs boast incredible views of Lake Ōhau and beyond. Click below to find out more about Ōhau Snow Fields and Lake Ōhau Lodge.
With five stunning lakes on its doorstep, Twizel is a mecca for watersports enthusiasts. In summer, waterskiing and jetskiing are popular, but for those seeking quieter water-based activities, there are plenty of opportunities for kayaking and paddleboarding.
Twizel has walking tracks of all lengths for all abilities. The town is surrounded by its own walking trails, or hikers can enjoy more challenging routes in the nearby Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park. Click below for a map of the walks around Twizel township.
Image: Christchurch NZ
The Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve was created in 2012 and is the world's largest such reserve. It promotes both research and tourism. Click below to find out more about night skygazing tours and astrophotography guides in Twizel.
Image: Skydive Mt Cook
Skydive Mt Cook has recently opened out of Pukaki Airport and provides a fantastic experience and literally breathtaking views. Choose to jump from 15,000ft, 13,000ft or 9,000ft for the experience of a lifetime. Click below to find out more.
Scenic flights operating out of Pukaki, Glentanner, and Aoraki/Mt Cook airports provide the chance to marvel at the grandeur of the Mackenzie landscapes from above. Jump in a biplane or gyrocopter, or land on an alpine snowfield. Click below for operators.
Image: Shellie Evans
Twizel's waterways attract anglers from all over the world, and both salmon and trout can be caught in the hydro canals, lakes, and rivers around the town seasonally. Fish & Game NZ licences, gear hire, and fishing guide services are all available locally.
Image: Sport Twizel
Although Twizel has only a small population, the town impresses with its top-class sports facilities and wide range of sports clubs. From badminton, tennis, and squash, to climbing, aikido, and swimming, there is something for everyone, no matter your age or ability.
Thanks to the foresight of Max Smith, project engineer on the Waitaki Power Scheme, Twizel is home to the Meridian Lake Ruataniwha Rowing Complex, a national course that attracts thousands of top-class rowers each year. Click below for a list of upcoming regattas.
Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park boasts 19 peaks towering to more than 3,000m, including New Zealand's highest peak, Aoraki/Mt Cook (3,724m). It attracts serious climbers from around the world, who come to challenge themselves on the region's classic snow and ice routes.
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