Things to do in Twizel: A Hidden Gem in New Zealand

Things to Do in Twizel

blog authorBy Johanna Hansen shield verification Verified Expert

    Nestled in the heart of New Zealand's South Island, Twizel is a picturesque town that offers a plethora of activities and attractions for every traveler. Whether you're an adventure enthusiast, a nature lover, or someone looking for a serene getaway, 

    Twizel has something for everyone. Let's dive into the myriad of things to do in Twizel, New Zealand that will make your trip unforgettable.

    What is the best time to visit Twizel?

    The best time to visit Twizel is during the summer months (December to February), when the weather is mild and sunny. However, Twizel is a beautiful place to visit year-round, and each season has its own unique charms. In the autumn (March to May), the leaves on the trees turn golden and red, and the mountains are often capped with snow. 

    In the winter (June to August), Twizel is a popular destination for skiing and snowboarding. And in the spring (September to November), the wildflowers are in bloom and the birds are singing.

    How do I get to Twizel?

    Twizel is located in the South Island of New Zealand, about 3 hours' drive from Christchurch and Queenstown. The nearest airport is Timaru Airport, which is about an hour's drive from Twizel. You can also get to Twizel by bus from Christchurch and Queenstown.

    Things to do in Twizel

    Visit a Lavender Farm

    Twizel's lavender farms are a sensory delight, offering more than just picturesque views. As you step into these farms, the gentle hum of bees fills the air, working diligently among the vast fields of purple. Lavender, known for its therapeutic properties, has been used for centuries in aromatherapy to reduce anxiety and stress. 

    When visiting, many farms offer guided tours where you can learn about the cultivation process, the different varieties of lavender, and their uses. Don't forget to stop by the farm shops where you can purchase handcrafted lavender products, from essential oils to soaps and lotions. These make for perfect souvenirs to remind you of your tranquil visit.

    Lavender Farm in Twizel

    Walk the Twizel Walkway

    The Twizel Walkway is more than just a trail; it's a journey through the diverse landscapes that define Twizel. Spanning several kilometers, this walkway takes you through lush green meadows, alongside serene water bodies, and offers glimpses of the majestic Southern Alps in the distance. 

    Birdwatchers will be in for a treat as the region is home to various native bird species. Benches are strategically placed along the route, allowing visitors to sit back, relax, and soak in the natural beauty. Interpretative signboards provide insights into the local flora and fauna, making it an educational experience as well.

    Twizel Walkway

    Trek the Kettlehole Track

    The Kettlehole Track is not just a trek; it's an adventure that promises awe-inspiring views with every step. Originating from glacial activities thousands of years ago, the track gets its name from the unique kettlehole formations found along the route. As you hike, you'll traverse through dense forests, open grasslands, and rocky terrains. 

    The track is well-marked and suitable for trekkers of all skill levels. Along the way, lookout points offer panoramic views of Twizel and its surrounding areas, making the effort truly worthwhile. Remember to carry a camera; the landscapes here are postcard-perfect!

    Kettlehole Track

    Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre

    A tribute to one of the world's greatest explorers, the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre is more than just a museum. Through interactive exhibits, visitors can trace Sir Hillary's journey from his early days in New Zealand to his historic ascent of Mount Everest. 

    The planetarium within the center offers a mesmerizing look at the southern skies, while the 3D theater showcases documentaries that transport viewers to the world's highest peaks and the vast expanses of Antarctica, places Sir Hillary explored and loved.

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    Stargazing: A Celestial Experience

    Twizel, part of the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve, offers one of the best stargazing experiences in the world. The absence of light pollution ensures that the night sky is illuminated in its full glory. On a clear night, one can spot constellations, planets, and even the ethereal glow of the Milky Way. 

    Local observatories and tour operators offer guided stargazing sessions, where experts share fascinating insights about the universe, constellations, and the celestial bodies visible from Twizel. Telescopes provided during these sessions allow for a closer look at distant stars and galaxies, making it an unforgettable experience for both amateur astronomers and curious souls.

    Stargazing in Twizel

    Do the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail

    The Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail is not just any cycling route; it's a journey that encapsulates the essence of New Zealand's South Island. Starting from the snowy peaks of the Southern Alps, this trail winds its way through golden tussock lands, dense forests, and serene lakesides before culminating at the Pacific Ocean. 

    Covering a distance of over 300 kilometers, cyclists get to experience a diverse range of landscapes, each more breathtaking than the last. Along the way, quaint towns and villages offer rest stops and glimpses into local life, making the journey as culturally enriching as it is adventurous.

    Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail

    Lord of the Rings Tour: A Journey to Middle-Earth

    The cinematic masterpiece, Lord of the Rings, brought the enchanting landscapes of New Zealand to the global forefront. The tour takes enthusiasts to some of the film's most iconic locations, from the vast plains of Rohan to the mystical forests of Lothlórien. 

    Guided by experts, fans can learn behind-the-scenes anecdotes, understand the transformation of these locations through movie magic, and even dress up as their favorite characters. It's not just a tour; it's a step into the world of Tolkien, brought to life by Peter Jackson's vision.

    Lord of the Rings in Twizel

    Visit Omarama

    Often referred to as the 'Place of Light' in Māori, Omarama's beauty is ethereal. Known for its clear skies, it's a favored spot for gliding enthusiasts who soar the thermals, enjoying bird's-eye views of the landscapes below. But the true gem of Omarama lies in its clay cliffs – towering formations sculpted by natural elements over millennia. 

    After a day of exploration, the town's thermal hot tubs offer the perfect respite. Soak in the warm waters, infused with natural minerals, as you gaze at the starlit sky, making it an experience of relaxation and wonder.


    Mount Cook Observatory: A Peek into the Universe

    Situated amidst the pristine landscapes of the Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park, the Mount Cook Observatory stands as a beacon for all astronomy enthusiasts. The high-altitude location, coupled with minimal light pollution, ensures crystal-clear views of the night sky. 

    Equipped with cutting-edge telescopes, the observatory offers viewers a chance to gaze at distant galaxies, nebulae, and star clusters. Regular workshops and sessions with astronomers make it an educational experience, unraveling the wonders of the universe, one star at a time.

    Twizel's Charm Lies in Its Diversity From natural beauty to thrilling adventures, from historical sites to modern attractions, Twizel offers a diverse range of activities that cater to all. Whether you're wondering what to do in Twizel during a short trip or planning an extended stay, the town will never cease to amaze.

    Twizel is not just a destination; it's an experience. With a plethora of things to do in Twizel, New Zealand, every moment spent here is a memory in the making. So pack your bags, set out on an adventure, and let Twizel enchant you with its charm. Safe travels!

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