Central to all the attractions of the Aoraki / Mount Cook Mackenzie region, with the Southern Alps as a backdrop, the alpine retreat of Twizel is close to five picturesque lakes, including a world-standard rowing course and Formula One class boating area at Lake Ruataniwha.
If fishing is your love and catching salmon, brown, or 17kg (37.4lb) rainbow trout is what you dream of then don’t go past any of Twizel’s rivers, lakes, or canals.
Twizel’s terrain is ideal for skydiving, and rock and mountain climbing. Unwind enjoying a round of golf, skiing, or snowboarding in winter, relax in the cafes or take a trip to the fascinating Kaki / Black Stilt visitor hide.
Twizel is now a center for tourism in the Aoraki / Mount Cook Mackenzie region. It has a rich cultural community and is a favored destination venue for the Royal New Zealand Ballet. With the community’s and Council’s investment in the new Twizel Events Centre, group, sports, and team building activities are superbly catered for with a 200 seat theatre, sports hall, an amazing climbing wall, gym, squash facilities, and functions lounge.
Twizel has a rich but brief history linked to the development of the massive Waitaki Valley hydroelectric scheme. A display with information on this is a must-visit at the Twizel Events Centre and at the Lake Pukaki Visitor Centre.
The alpine village of Aoraki / Mount Cook, located in Aoraki / Mount Cook National Park, provides a range of accommodations from an international style hotel to motels, backpackers, and camping.
At 3,724 meters, New Zealand’s highest mountain, Aoraki / Mount Cook is dazzling, yet there are 27 other mountains in this alpine backbone that peak at over 3,050 meters, and hundreds of others not far short of that all making up the famous Southern Alps.
You can enjoy 4WD safaris, boating on the glacier lakes, horse treks, fishing, scenic flights with snow landings, and numerous Walks and Hikes.
During the winter guided ski experiences onto New Zealand’s longest glacier, the Tasman is a popular activity and a unique Aoraki / Mount Cook wedding location.
On the shores of Lake Tekapo – the country’s highest large lake (710m above sea level) – is the Church of the Good Shepherd, built in 1935 as a memorial to the pioneers of the Aoraki / Mount Cook Mackenzie region. The church provides awe-inspiring views of Lake Tekapo and mountains through its altar window and has been the setting for thousands of weddings since its dedication.
Close by the church is a bronze sheepdog statue, a tribute to the hardy dogs “without the help of which the grazing of this mountain country would be impossible”.
In Lake Tekapo you can fly fish the lakes and rivers, ski and snowboard the pristine snow slopes in winter, enjoy a boat cruise, play a round of golf, ice skate in the winter months, relax in the hot pools and indulge in the health spa, take a horse trek around Mount John, enjoy off-road mountain biking, take a scenic flight over the Mackenzie basin and Aoraki / Mount Cook National Park or marvel at the skies above on a stargazing tour at the world-famous Mount John Observatory – there’s something for everyone.
The amazing turquoise blue color of Lake Tekapo is created by “rock flour” – the glaciers in the headwaters grind the rock into a fine dust. These suspended particles in combination with the sunlight create Lake Tekapo’s unique watercolor.
Fairlie is the eastern gateway to the Aoraki / Mount Cook Mackenzie region and provides an almost surreal contrast from its rich, green rolling hills and pastures as they respectfully submit to the grand, open, shimmering upland.
Enjoy Fairlie’s four seasons – vibrant bubbling spring, warm lazy summer, gloriously tinted autumn, and silent snowy winter. Fairlie offers boating and fishing in the rivers and on Lake Opuha, hunting and hiking in the hills, golf on the 18 hole course, and in winter, great skiing and fun at Mount Dobson.
Investigate intriguing history at the Fairlie museum and at Mabel Binney Cottage or visit one of the many local art galleries.
Experience rural New Zealand with a farm visit and stay overnight at one of the many farm stays, or stop in at one of the many local cafes.
In November 2003, a statue of James Mackenzie (19th-century sheep rustler, after whom the region was named) was unveiled on Fairlie’s Main Street.