Lake Ohau area tracks: Walking and tramping in Ruataniwha Conservation Park

Introduction

There are plenty of tracks around Lake Ohau for walking and mountain biking. This is a stunning location in both summer and winter.

Track overview

4 - 16 km

Walking and tramping

Various times Advanced: Tramping track

Mountain biking

Various times Easy: Grade 2
Intermediate: Grade 3

Other activities

  • Four wheel driving
  • Horse riding

About this track

Description

Freehold Creek Track

Dog access: Dogs on a lead are allowed on the Freehold Creek Track. 

Parsons Creek to Freehold Creek bushline

Track category: Tramping track
Time: 2 - 3 hr
Distance: 6 km

This track has always been a favourite with visitors to Lake Ohau. Look out for the DOC sign and car park just before the one-lane bridge over Parsons Creek on Lake Ohau Road.

Climb up past mountain beech and native mistletoes to an ancient glacial moraine terrace. A gravelled track for the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail goes along this terrace and makes easy walking. Watch out for mountain bikers on any hidden corners. Cross Freehold Creek bridge and turn right to walk uphill on Freehold Creek Track, on an old beech logging trail. Check out the distinctive curved nature of the track which is where bullocks (young bulls) dragged large beech and totara logs from the forest over 100 years ago.

At the bushline the vegetation changes to sub alpine scrub, scree slopes and tussock country.

Glen Mary Ski Club huts access to Freehold Creek bushline

Track category: Tramping track
Time: 45 min
Distance: 2 km

This track provides a more direct route to Freehold Creek. It is also part of Te Araroa. Please park in the designated area near Lake Ohau Road, not by the huts. Toilets are here for public use.

Freehold Creek bushline to Dumb-bell Lake

Track category: Route
Time: 4 hr
Distance: 4 km

There is a lightly marked route in Freehold Creek basin to follow uphill. Travel past a tarn at 1479 m and climb up to the ridge. Sidle through the low part of the ridge between high points 1922 m and 1817 m. Head north to Lake Dumb-bell outlet.

Freehold Creek basin.
Freehold Creek basin

Tarnbrae Track

Track category: Tramping track
Time: 5 hr
Distance: 16 km
Dog access: Dogs are not allowed as this track passes through Ohau Moraines Wetland Complex.

Park at the car park area at the bottom of Ohau Snow Fields Road. You will need to pre-arrange a pick-up at the other end in Quailburn Road. The track passes through patches of remant beech forest and open tussock country with scattered native scrub, as well as the Ohau Moraines Wetland Complex . It is worth the short detour to explore the Quailburn historic site near the finish in Quailburn Road.

Mountain biking

Track category: Intermediate/Grade 3
Time: 3 hr

It is a gradual climb from Lake Ohau Road to the high point of the track at 900 m. From here it is a short descent to Quailburn Road and the Ohau Moraines Wetland Complex. The track is part of the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail.

Tarnbrae Track.
A mountain biker climbs up from Lake Ohau on the Tarnbrae Track

Lake Ohau Track

Track category: Walking track
Time: 3 hr
Distance: 8 km
Dog access: Dogs on a lead are allowed on this track. 

This is a magnificent walk around the shores of Lake Ohau with breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. This track is part of Te Araroa. Start at either Glen Lyon Road or Lake Ohau Road. You will require transport at the other end if you decide to walk one way. The hut you pass beside the track is privately owned.

Mountain biking

Track category: Easy/Grade 2
Time: 1 hr

This track is a fabulous ride for any age rider. It is part of the New Zealand Cycle Trail.

Greta Track

Track category: Tramping track
Time: 6 - 7 hr
Distance: 16 km loop
Dog access: Dogs on a lead are allowed on the Greta Track. 

There is a choice between two entry points to this track on either side of Gretas Stream. If you start from the southern car park you will pass an old derelict musterer's hut from the 1890s called Back Hut.

It is then a 5 km climb up the western flank of Ben Ohau/Ruataniwha Peak. You will need to deviate from the track to climb to the true summit at 1522 m.

Pass by fellfields (blocky scree) and short rock bluffs above Gretas Stream. Lower down you need to cross Gretas Stream several times so you may get wet feet.

Horse riding

Greta Track is suitable for horse riding.

Mountain biking

Track category: Advanced/Grade 4
Time: 4 - 5 hr

It is best to ride this track in a clockwise direction. Start north of Gretas Stream and finish with the downhill descent on the western flank of Ben Ohau/Ruataniwha Peak.

Dorcy Track

Track category: Tramping track
Time: 2 hr
Distance: 4 km
Dog access: Dogs on a lead are allowed on the Dorcy Track. 

This track provides a direct route to Flanagan Pass (1225 m). You can park your vehicle just before Dorcy Stream and start walking from Glen Lyon Road. Or, you can 4WD up to the airstrip parking area. It is a 1 hr 30 min walk from the airstrip to Flanagan Pass.

Four wheel driving

4WD vehicles can drive on Dorcy Track to the airstrip.

Horse riding

Dorcy Track is suitable for horse riding.

Mountain biking

Track category: Intermediate/Grade 3
Time: 1 hr

Ride from the start at Glen Lyon Road or drive up to the airstrip car park. Parents could drop kids off the airstrip car park for a fun descent back to Glen Lyon Road. The longer diagonal descent track to Glen Lyon Road is an easier option.

Dorcy Track.
Dorcy Track above Lake Ohau

Getting there

To reach the start of the the Freehold Creek, Tarnbrae and Lake Ohau Tracks, turn off SH 8 onto Lake Ohau Road, 13 km from Twizel.

For the Greta Track, Dorcy Track and the eastern end of Lake Ohau Track, take Glen Lyon Road from Twizel.

Mountain biking

These are shared-use tracks. Follow the mountain bikers code: respect others, respect the rules, respect the track.

Know before you go

Map: NZTopo50 BZ14, BZ15

Contacts

Te Manahuna / Twizel Office
Phone:   +64 3 435 0802
Email:   twizel@doc.govt.nz
Address:   15 Wairepo Road
Twizel 7901
Full office details
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