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Skiing in Ohau

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Lake Ohau is a 62 square kilometre glacial lake in the Mackenzie Basin of New Zealand's south island. It is fed by the Hopkins and Dobson Rivers, which have their headwaters in the Southern Alps, and its outflow in the Ohau River, which itself feeds into the Waitaki River hydroelectric project.

The lake forms part of the traditional boundary between the Otago and Canterbury regions.

Ohau is the smallest of three roughly parallel lakes running north-south along the northern edge of the Mackenzie Basin — the others are Lake Pukaki and Lake Tekapo.

The Ohau ski field is close to the south-western shore of the lake, and as part of the Ohau Range in the Main Divide, is endowed with reliable snowfall and fine weather. It is serviced by a double chairlift, a platter and a snow mat. The main trails are groomed regularly.

'The Boulevard' offers learners and intermediates easy and fun skiing or snowboarding from the top of the chairlift down to the base facilities. The chairlift also provides access to a wide variety of slopes suitably challenging for experts and exciting for intermediates.

A very gentle slope, serviced by a snow mat introduced for the 2006 season, is ideal for children and beginners. The platter lift is more exciting for the developing beginner.

In honour of New Zealand's Scottish heritage, Lake Ohau ski field holds the Highland Games each year. A re-enactment of the Scots' fight for freedom is part of the festivities. And what would an event of this kind be without caber tossing, highland flinging, pipes, haggis and porridge? It's all there.

Alf's Imperial Army was created by the Wizard of New Zealand in 1972 at the University of Melbourne. It is a proponent of Pacific warfare and battles against enemies of Her Majesty The Queen using strictly non-lethal weapons such as newspaper swords, cardboard shields, flour bombs and snowballs provide spectacular fun.

Their costumes closely resemble the uniforms of the British Army, in particular the redcoats of the 1881 period, and they carry out their games under the Scottish and New Zealand flags.

Once the battle has been won, it's whiskies at the Lake Ohau Lodge, a warm and comfortable place after a hard day of warfare.

Lake Ohau Lodge has rooms of four standards, all with ensuite facilities. It sits on the shores of the lake, with views of Glen Mary Glacier, Mt Cook and the Ben Ohau Range. Just 15 minutes from the snowfield, it is very convenient. It has welcoming hot outdoor spa pools where you can sip on a gluhwein and take in the dramatic sunsets as Mount Cook turns pink.

The restaurant has fine food served at long tables, and of course, an open fire completes the ambience.


New Zealand's south island.


Lake Ohau Lodge has a dinner, bed and breakfast package starting at around $160 a double a night. Ski lift passes for guests are about $45 for adults and $20 for children. The season will run from around July 14 to September 30, 2007.

Air New Zealand has flights to Queenstown.

One-way fares from;
  • Sydney, $381
  • Melbourne, $385
  • Brisbane, $388
  • Adelaide, $488
  • Perth, $604

Valid for sale until December 9, 2007, and for travel between May 10 to December 9, 2007.

Prices quoted correct at May 10, 2007

More information

Lake Ohau Lodge & Ohau Snow Fields
PO Box 51, Lake Ohau Road
Lake Ohau, New Zealand
Ph: 64 3 438 9885
Fax: 64 3 438 9885

Air New Zealand
Ph: 132 476

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