Twizel is a new town, having only been around since 1968. It was constructed as the base for the Upper Waitaki Power Development, NZ’s largest hydro project, which took 18 years to complete. Today about 1200 people live in Twizel, but in summer the population can go triple.
Things to do
Mount Cook is NZ’s highest mountain, and at 3,724 metres, it’s a challenge for climbers. The Aoroki Mount Cook National Park is 40% glaciers, with 19 peaks and a rocky landscape that gets covered with ice in the colder months. Mount Cook helped Sir Edmund Hillary sharpen up his climbing skills for Everest, and you can follow in his footsteps by attempting to reach the top of Mount Cook or one of the surrounding peaks. If you don’t feel like climbing a mountain, there are heaps of short walks to go on, and helicopters can take you to the very best skiing glaciers. The national park is a 37-minute drive from Twizel.
The Twizel River Trail is a chance to really take in some of Twizel’s scenery – a 12km track that runs over old farm land and along the river. You can also bike the trail if you don’t feel like walking the whole way. Need more outdoorsy activities? Fishing, lawn bowls, golf and kayaking are all available. While you’re here, book a ‘Lord of the Rings’ tour of Twizel – it was used as the location for ‘Gondor’ in Peter Jackson’s films.
When you feel like eating, grab some Korean or Thai food or drop into a local cafe and have a meal made with fresh ingredients, sometimes with Southern Alps views.
Hotels in Twizel start at NZ$122 per night. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.