5. Omarama to Otematata

From Omarama, the scenery changes and brings to light how the region and its water catchment were used for the Waitaki Hydro Electric Scheme. Heading for your next stop at Kurow you cycle passed Lakes Benmore, Aviemore, and Waitaki.

Highlights and points of interest:
  • Chain Hills Viewpoint
  • Lake Benmore riding
  • Ahuriri gorge
  • Sailors Cutting Scenic Reserve
  • Otematata Wetlands Walk
  • Autumn Colours (April)
  • Distance: 35km
  • Fitness: Intermediate
  • Skill: Easy
  • Traffic: Moderate
  • Grade: 2/3
Track surface
  • 98% smooth shingle
  • 2% sealed road


Section 5: Omarama to Otematata

Departing from Omarama you head down the Waitaki Valley on the off-road trail to the top of the Chain Hills, 5 km away. From here you get a magnificent view of Lake Benmore and your descent beside State Highway 83.  The trail takes you past Pumpkin Point (10 km) and on to Sailors Cutting, the popular boat access to Benmore. There are toilets and a campsite situated here.

From here you take the new Benmore damn trail.  This follows the edge of the lake around to the top of the Benmore dam.  The views and riding situation are outstanding and maybe even the best part of the trail, we will let you decide?  This trail is quite remote so it helps to be prepared with a full water bottle, food, and puncture spares. The trail does have some hills so this section to the dam can take up to 2 hours if you include stops.

Once you arrive at the dam take the road right down the hill if you want to go to Otematata or ride left over the dam if you are heading to Kurow.  At the dam, you are 6 km from Otematata.