Follow us in:

This stage covers the road from Te Anau to the Walter's Peak Station, on the West shore of the Wakatipu Lake. It's mostly a flat dirt road that goes through farm land and ends at the lake. The Mavora lakes are approximately in the middle and a convenient stop. The Walter’s Peak Station is a dead end but you can embark on the TSS Earnslow for a vintage boat trip to Queenstown.

Route index:

December 4, 2013: From Te Anau to Mavora lakes (Profile)
December 5, 2013: From Mavora lakes to Walter's Peak Station (Profile)

Route profile
Route profile

December 4, 2013: From Te Anau to Mavora lakes

A cappuccino and a hot chocolate at The Fat Duck are the best way to set out to the Mavora Lakes. The road 94 is a continuum of farming land. The only trees you can see are to delimit the sheep stations. Other than that, the scenery is green rolling hills dotted with tender woolly spots. The road is flat except for a few and gentle ups and downs. At the turn off to the Mavora Lakes Road (Km 30.4 from the beginning), we ask the owner of the house at the junction to refill our water bottles. There are no known good sources of water along the Mavora road until the lakes.

Black And White LambsThe dirt road is in pretty good conditions. Only a shy washboard is present here and there. At Km 40.9 there is a vantage point for a good view of the Mararoa Valley. Although this road goes uphill, the grade is so low (7.7 m every Km) that is not noticeable. Again, only a few and gentle ups and downs. The scenery is very similar to the one on road 94, farm land dedicated almost exclusively to sheep raising. The traffic is low but it seems the drivers don’t realize the cloud of dust they leave behind them.

At Km 58.6 is the turn off to the Kiwiburn hut. Since it’s still early to call it a day, we keep on towards the lakes. The wildlife along the way is rather limited, besides the million sheep. The most noticeable are the birds and their very varied calls. One in particular sings a decorated song while flying high at low speed to be more visible.

At Km 63.4, we finally turn left towards the Mavora Lakes. The scenery changes radically. Very soon we enter a beech forest that relieves us from the heat of the day. The clouds have been our only shade today till now. There are several campgrounds and huts around both lakes and they seem to be popular. Initially we settle in the first campground, at the north tip of the south lake. We take a dip in the not so cold water and have some treats at its shore. It’s around 6 and we still have 4 hours of light. We decide to ride to the north lake (3 Km from our campground). There we find a much nicer campground with better views and without the two noisy groups around our campsite. We go back, pack everything and move the camp to the north lake. While arriving to the new campsite, we spot a stout dragging a rabbit still shaking across the road. The rabbit is about 5 times the stout's volume!!

We prepare dinner and sit on a gravel pile next to the shore while the sun is setting on the top of the east range of the valley. The breeze and the DEET keep the sandflies away momentarily but when it starts to get dark they are too annoying and we take refuge in the tent.

Go to top

December 5, 2013: From Mavora lakes to Queenstown

Downhill to Walter's Peak StationThe 58.5 Kms to Walter’s Peak Station are fairly easy. Mostly flat, except for a steep short drop, the road follows a wide valley used for pastures. At Km 14.2 we have to ford a wide shallow creek with a rocky bed. There is a shelter to the right but we didn’t check it. At around Km 21 there is another building to the right of the road that could serve as a cover but we didn’t check that one either.

TSS EarnslowShort after, at Km 28.5 comes the steep downhill. This section bypasses a canyon where the river we will be following goes through. The next interesting waypoint is at Km 38 where we have to ford a deeper river but still doable on the bike. Lake Wakatipu is already visible in the distance. As you get closer to the Walter’s Peak Station, you are likely to find yourself herding (or rather chasing) sheep. The station is a very nice place. They have a museum, a restaurant, a gift shop and all the necessities for tourists. The restaurant patio is surrounded by very well-tended gardens with a great variety of flowers.

Arriving at QueenstownThe cappuccino and the hot chocolate are our little reward while we wait for the Old TSS Earnslow Steamboat that will take us back to Queenstown. The boat trip is totally worth. It has been lovely restored and offers the passenger a vintage atmosphere. You can also visit the engine room and see how they load coal into the two engines that produce the steam to move the propellers. And, of course, the views from the deck are breathtaking. Once in Queenstown, we settle in a nice and modern, yet not expensive, suite at the Nomads Backpackers and had dinner at the fancy Butchery restaurant, right in front of the quiet part of the Queenstown marine. It’s a nice way to end our adventurous part of the trip.

Go to top