View of Temple valley and Hopkins valley from Ben Ohau Peak early morning
Image: Kiersten McKinley | DOC



A region of rugged mountains, tussock lands, beech forest and sparkling rivers, the park includes Dobson, Hopkins, Huxley, Temple and Maitland valleys and the Ben Ohau Range.

Find things to do and places to stay Ruataniwha Conservation Park

Ruataniwha Conservation Park has a variety of mountaineering options for both the beginner climber and the more technically advanced. Some of the more popular summits include Rabbiters Peak, Mt Glenmary, Mt Ward,

Mt Strauchon and Mt Hopkins. Popular rock climbing areas include 'Hemi's Bowl' (adjacent to Ohau Skifield), South Temple valley and Dasler Pinnacles.

Popular fishing destinations include Temple Stream outlet into Lake Ohau and the Hopkins and Dobson valleys. Brown and rainbow trout are the most common fish encountered. The fishing season runs from early November to the end of April, with a daily bag limit of two trout. Within the Hopkins and Dobson rivers kokanee (sockeye salmon) may also be found.

On the eastern side of Ben Ohau Range foot and non-motorised access is via marginal strips on Dry Stream and Twizel River, on the valley floor. Bait fishing is not permitted in Twizel River. A well-marked track follows Fraser Stream from Pukaki Canal Road.

Some access roads require permission from private landowners before using - see plan and prepare section for details.

Some tracks are not suitable for light 4WD’s or 4WD sedans, but quad bikes and trail bikes can be used.

Most tracks involve river crossings. Rivers are subject to frequent floods, especially during spring and early summer, which can change the depth and width of fords. Soft sand is left behind after floods which can easily trap vehicles.  

Four wheel driving in Mackenzie/Waitaki brochure (PDF, 1005K)

River care code

  • River birds nest on the ground. Their eggs and chicks are almost impossible to spot from a vehicle. Please refrain from driving in riverbeds from August to December.
  • Birds swooping, circling or calling loudly probably have nests nearby. Move away so they can return to them, or their eggs and chicks could die.
  • A dog running loose can wreak havoc. Leave your dog at home or keep it under strict control.
  • Jet boats disturb birds and can wash away nests near the water’s edge. The speed limit for boats is 5 knots within 200 m of the bank.

To ensure weeds are not spread into this sensitive environment, ensure you:

  • overnight your horses on local grass (not lucerne or meadow hay) before entering the park
  • check your horse’s hooves for foreign matter before entering the park
  • do not bring hay or feed grain into the park.


DOC Customer Service Centre
Phone 0800 275 362
Address DOC offices
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