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Alt Route: Lake Takapō to Twizel

Scenic views of the Southern Alps and across the Mackenzie Basin, riding alongside the Takapō Canal.

Alt Route: Takapō/Lake Tekapo to Twizel

 DistanceFitnessSkillTraffic Grade

The Alternative Route begins in the Takapō township near Hamilton Drive.

Follow this track until you reach Aorangi Crescent. Following the A2O arrows, turn left and continue along Aorangi Crescent until it turns into Andrew Don Drive. Eventually Andrew Don Drive becomes a gravel road, continuing to Tekapo A Power Station.

Passing Tekapo A Power Station (3km) continue along the Tekapo Canal Road to the gate where vehicles are excluded (9km).

Take care crossing SH8 (15km) then continue on past the salmon farm and toilet (24km), before dropping down to Lake Pukaki (30km).

Turn left onto Hayman Rd and ride to the start of the off-road Trail on your right (35km) which follows the Lake Pukaki shoreline. With Aoraki/ Mt Cook as a backdrop, the Trail passes over the Pukaki dam, taking you to the car park at Lake Pukaki Visitor Centre 44km.

You then cross the highway and follow the Trail across Pukaki Flats – an expansive area of dry grasslands that are characteristic of the Mackenzie landscape.

This takes you to the town of Twizel. Take care crossing State Highway 8.

  • Takapō / Lake Tekapo
  • Lake Tekapo Regional Park and local cycle trails
  • Lake Tekapo Footbridge
  • Church of the Good Shepherd
  • Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve - Stargazing
  • Mt John Observatory
  • Tekapo Canal and Pattersons Ponds
  • View of Tekapo B Power Station, Lake Pukaki and Aoraki  Mt Cook from the Tekapo B Canal look-out
  • Scenic Flights available from Tekapo and Pukaki Airports
  • Ruataniwha Conservation Park

  • High winds – this section of Trail is exposed to strong and gusty winds. Be extremely careful in exposed areas, especially crossing bridges.  Consider dismounting.
  • There is an exposed region of the trail which has significant high wind risk. The location is 6kms south (towards Pukaki) from Canal/SH1 crossing, on canal road. Follow signage and use the lower road in these conditions, consider dismounting, and take extreme care. Failure to take the lower road in high winds may result in severe injury.
  • There are sections of this Trail close to cliffs and drop offs. Take care in these parts.
  • Vehicles - take care and be alert for vehicles crossing the section of Trail around the south end of Lake Pukaki.
  • Overflow weir – this is signposted 2km from the Pukaki Visitor Centre. Do not stop or camp in between the signs.
  • The alternative Tekapo Canal Road route is a private road. Genesis Energy reserves the right to close the Tekapo Canal Road at any time, and may do so without notice.

Section map - Tekapo

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