Established to house workers on the Upper Waitaki Hydroelectric Scheme, Twizel now serves as a gateway to Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park. It’s located along the famous Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail and has made an international name for itself as an exceptional stargazing destination.
Things to do in Twizel
Relax on the shores of Lake Ruataniwha, one of New Zealand’s main rowing venues. Visit during the early morning hours when the still lake waters perfectly mirror the mountains behind or opt to soak up the scenery while sailing or water skiing.
Twizel is located on the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail, which extends for 301 kilometres from Aoraki/Mount Cook to Oamaru on the Pacific Coast. Slowly ride past glacial lakes and gushing rivers to golden tussock and native forests while exploring vineyards and Maori rock art sites along the way.
Looking for something to do after dark? Twizel forms part of the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark-Sky Reserve, which boasts some of the cleanest, driest and darkest skies in the world. Visit the Mount John Observatory on the shores of Lake Tekapo to discover the wonders of the Southern skies through powerful telescopes.
Spend a day or two exploring the alpine hiking trails of Mount Cook, which at 3,754 metres high is New Zealand’s tallest peak. Jump aboard a scenic flight to witness the Tasman Glacier from above or don crampons to go glacier walking.
Getting around Twizel
Twizel is around 2.5 hours’ drive from Queenstown and 3.5 hours from Christchurch International Airport. The town is small enough to explore on foot, but having your own vehicle is best for accessing the surrounding sights.