Relaxed Comfort in the Mount Cook Region

Activities in and around Twizel and Mount Cook

The activities in and around Twizel and the Aoraki-Mount Cook Region of New Zealand are extremely varied.


There are walks from the Lodge to suit all levels of fitness and time constraints. The town walkway follows the Twizel River and the belt of trees on the town boundary. Further afield, you can follow the river down to Lake Benmore. The Kettleholes, a remnant from the Ice Age near the Pukaki control gates, provides great views up Lake Pukaki towards Mount Cook. For the more adventurous, one of our favourite walks is at Temple Basin, near the head of Lake Ohau, taking a path along a mountain stream flowing through native beech forest.

At Mount Cook, the Hooker Valley Track takes you on a gentle walk over two swing bridges to a meltwater lake at the foot of the Hooker Glacier.

We have a good stock of local maps available at the lodge.

The following sites provide excellent information:

Department of Conservation
Discovery Tours


Mountainbiking and Cycle Trails

We have two bicycles suitable for road and light track work for use by guests. Tracks cross the Pukaki Flats to the Haldon Arm and the Dusky Trail follows the lower slopes of the Ben Ohau Range. Many cycle tours follow the hydro canal access roads from Lake Tekapo and the riverside track is a favourite of ours.

As cycling enthusiasts, we can also offer advice on suggested routes.

A new development is the Alps to Ocean Cycleway that runs from Mount Cook, though Twizel down to Oamaru. It links two existing tracks, the Te Araroa tramping trail and the Twizel River Trail. A large part of it is already in place from Mount Cook, along the eastern side of Lake Pukaki, past Twizel, with sections leading to Lake Ohau and down the Waitaki Valley. Large offroad sections are now in place and developments are continuing through 2013 and 2014.

We offer secure cycle storage, a range of accommodation options, meals and luggage transport to the following night’s accommodation.


Twizel has its own nine hole course, the Ben Ohau Golf Club, where visitors can play a round for a nominal fee. Omarama Golf Club, twenty minutes drive away has a pleasant, flat, 9 hole course bounded by the Omarama Stream with fine views of the mountains. Clubs can be hired locally.


Trout and Salmon Fishing

Flyfishers come from Europe, North America and Australia each year to fish for rainbow and brown trout in the rivers, streams and lakes. Many of our fishing guests are repeat visitors, drawn by the clear waters and the opportunity to sight fish for trophy size trout. The Twizel area has the advantages of reliable weather, fantastic scenery and few sandflies as well as a large number of waters of all types. We have excellent qualified guides working in the area who can supply all equipment needed.

Some guides we can recommend are:

Steve Carey
Ian Cole
Declan Wong
Alan Campbell


Horse Trekking

There are several horse-trekking operators in the area who can take clients of all abilities on rides into the mountains on back country tracks. Glentanner Park, on the way to Mount Cook, operate backcountry horse treks into the ranges


We are short drive from some excellent ski facilities. Round Hill at Lake Tekapo is an hour’s drive away and Mount Dobson is a little further on, below Burke’s Pass. A half hour drive will take you to the Ohau Field, an award winning boutique ski resort. Our local fields do not have the crowds and wait times of the larger resorts. Twizel is the nearest town to Ohau and is fast becoming an accommodation centre for this ski-field. We have good drying facilities and welcome skiers back with hot drinks and a warm fire.

Wine Trails

Twizel is too high for successful grape growing. Our property is adjacent to a trial vineyard. A short drive will take you to the shores of Lake Dunstan, over the Lindis Pass, to New Zealand’s premier Pinot Noir region. Some of the best known vineyards can be found here and on the road through the Kawarau Gorge to Queenstown. The Waitaki Valley, past Omarama and on the way to Oamaru is fast developing, a new winery producing excellent wines has opened at Kurow.



The Mackenzie Basin, with its clear air and absence of light pollution has long been known for its brilliant night skies. The area has achieved World Heritage Status as a Dark Sky Park. The Mount John Observatory at Lake Tekapo, runs tours to view the stars and planets nightly. Heartland Lodge is on an unlit road and Jim regularly points out stars to our guests.



Twizel is home to the Department of Conservation Black Stilt Recovery Programme. The black stilt, or kaki, is the world’s rarest wading bird. The aviaries are open to visitors daily. Jim is a keen ornithologist and is happy to direct guests to places where the kaki and other native birds can be seen in the wild.

We also have the New Zealand falcon, which can sometimes be seen skimming over the lower mountain slopes.

Lord of the Rings Tours

The largest battle scene, Pelennor Field was filmed on the flats below Ben Ohau. The site was chosen for its snowy mountain backdrop and no sign of habitation. Discovery Tours will guide you there and provide a behind-the-scenes view of the filming that took place.

The area was chosen again as a film location for the two films of Tolkein’s “The Hobbit”, the first of which is due for release late in 2012.



The ranges around Twizel are home to the Himalayan Thar, chamois and smaller numbers of deer and wild boar. Hunters from other parts of New Zealand and from around the world come here to gather a trophy of these wonderful animals. There are large numbers of Canada geese on the lakes, Californian quail are found in the lower valleys and chukor on some of the hilltops. We have a game preserve with pheasants and partridges run on the same lines as a British driven game shoot within easy driving distance. Jim has a good knowledge of local hunting opportunities and can make arrangements for hunters.


There are at least eight eateries in Twizel, ranging from fish and chip takeaways to full restaurants. Two that we recommend and use ourselves are Shawty’s, in the shopping mall, and Poppies, which is at the north entrance to the town. Both have excellent food and service. Menus range from pizzas and pasta to fish, lamb, venison, beef and poultry. Save room for a dessert. Booking is recommended in the high season.


Heartland Lodge is available for those wishing to celebrate their special day. Our local wedding celebrant has officiated at many weddings in the area. We can arrange wedding venues from snowfield to lakeside and anywhere in between. Our luxury accommodation is well suited for pre and post wedding celebrations. We cater for small group dinners and have links with other function and accommodation providers.




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