10 December 2017

Lake Ohau & its Alpine Village

Lake Ohau is a glacial lake south of Twizel. It's the smallest of the three lakes that run north to south in the Mackenzie Basin. The other two are Lake Pukaki and Lake Tekapo.

To get to Lake Ohau we headed south of Twizel and traveled along the Twizel-Omamara Road. There's a large sign indicating a right turn onto 'Lake Ohau Road' and this took us to the lake.
From the turn off it's 17 kms along a sealed road. The landscape was bare, spacious and burnt golden.

It didn't take long for the lake to appear - its bright turquoise colour a beautiful contrast to the dry hills.

The lake is fed by Hopkins River and Dobson River, their headwaters are in the Southern Alps.

The water flows from the Lake Ohau into the Ohau River, which then feeds into Ohau A Power station at the head of Lake Ruataniwha. It's part of the Waitaki River hydroelectric project.

The hill 'Ben Ohau' sits to the east of the lake. When there's no wind the reflections are amazing. Unfortunately we visited on a breezy day but the scenery was still special.

Lake Middleton is a tiny lake that sits to the west of Lake Ohau. It has a campground and is situated just before Lake Ohau Alpine Village.

It's a nice area to camp but for bigger campers the low branches near the entrance could cause problems. We drove around and decided we wouldn't be able to get the rig in without scratching the solar panels.

Lake Ohau Alpine Village is on the south/west side of the lake. It's a delightful village with a mixture of modern houses and log cabins.

Heading home we were waved down by a young couple. Their camper van had become stuck in deep, loose gravel as they'd attempted a u-turn.  We didn't have a tow rope but stayed and helped them dig the gravel out from around the tyres. After three attempts and further digging, they were out.

Back home, we had another camper van pull up as the sun began setting.

Later that evening we were teated to another spectacular sunset over Lake Pukaki.

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