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Section 5: Ōmarama to Otematata

Ride from Ōmarama, on the hills and alongside the foreshore of Lake Benmore.

Section 5: Ōmarama to Otematata

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Leaving Omarama you ride east down the Waitaki Valley, following the off-road Trail to the top of the Chain Hills 5km. From here, you descend beside State Highway 83, then follow the edge of Lake Benmore to Pumpkin Point (10km).

Continue beside the lake to Sailors Cutting – a popular boating, fishing and camping destination 13km. Following the A2O signs through the campground. Your next 16km includes a mix of Grade 2 and narrower Grade 3 Trail.

Arriving at Benmore Dam car park 29km, you have a choice to take the Cycle Trail in to Otematata (12km return) or continue over the Dam to Kurow (Section 6) – a further 38km away at this point.

  • Chain Hills Viewpoint
  • Pumpkin Point
  • Sailors Cutting Scenic Reserve
  • Lake Benmore and views of Turnagain and Junction Islands
  • Views from Benmore Peninsula and Dam
  • Otematata Wetlands Walk
  • Autumn Colours (April)
  • Waitaki Whitestone Aspiring Geopark

  • SH83 crossing at Chain Hills – take extreme care at this crossing.
  • Sailors Cutting to Benmore Dam
    • Carparks can be congested with towing vehicles during the camping and boating season (Dec. /Mar.).
    • Allow up to four hours to ride this section
    • Take plenty of water as there are no water stops on route. Water from the lake may be drinkable but filtering is recommended. Take high energy food.
  • The Trail is narrow in places and there are fall hazards at many points – be prepared to dismount to allow on-coming traffic to pass.
  • Take extreme care in windy weather.
  • There is limited cell phone reception, we recommend carrying a PLB (Personal Locator Beacon).
  • Much of this Trail is Grade 3 (intermediate) – please refer to grade information on page 13.
  • If you are an e-bike user, ensure you are in the right gear and take extra care on the corners.
  • This section goes through private property:
    • No motorbikes, animals, firearms or machinery are permitted.
    • No fires are permitted.
    • Stay on the Trail, do not enter any farmland.

Section 5 map

Trail route

Trail surfaces

Interactive VR tour

Take a VR tour of Sailors Cutting, Lake Benmore courtesy of Virtual Waitaki:


Trail sponsor