What to do in Omarama: The “Place of Light”
Omarama sits in the middle of some of the most memorable scenery seen on a South Island road trip. The small town marks the end of a journey through the spectacular Lindis Pass and the beginning of your journey through the alpine tussock lands to Lake Tekapo and Aoraki Mt Cook (or vice versa). Other than for the breathtaking highland scenery of the Canterbury region, there are more reasons why you’ll want to stay in Omarama for a while. Find out with this list of things to do in Omarama.
1. Visit the Clay Cliffs
A crazy photo opportunity you can’t miss is the Clay Cliffs of Omarama. Walking through narrow ravines between the pinnacle formations is like stepping onto another planet. The cliffs are made of gravel and silt formed by the flow of glaciers more than a million years ago, steadily weathered into these wonderful formations. Note that the cliffs are on private land so pay in the donation box at the gate to the car park.
Location: Henburn Road, 20km (12 miles) drive west of Omarama
2. Cycle the Alps 2 Ocean Trail
Omarama is one of the standout towns on the fantastic Alps 2 Ocean cycle trail. While you might be missing out on the scenic 4-6 day trail from Aoraki Mt Cook to Oamaru, you can still do some of the day rides from Omarama. A good option is the Lake Ohau Lodge to Omarama. There are local bike hire and shuttle operators who can transport you to Lake Ohau Lodge for you to hit the 45km (28 miles) trail back to Omarama taking in stunning mountain and lake scenery.
Location: Lake Ohau Lodge, 43km (27 miles) north of Omarama
3. Take a Road Trip Down the Waitaki Valley
Omarama marks the beginning (or the end) of a scenic drive through the Waitaki Valley. Discover interesting rock formations at Elephant Rocks, see prehistoric fossils at the Duntroon Vanished World Museum, discover Maori rock carvings and much more! Check out the 7 Bizarre Sights in the Waitaki Valley for things to see on the drive.
Location: State Highway 83
4. Soak in the Scenery While Soaking in a Hot Tub
Soak in chemical-free mountain water as you soak in the views of the mountains themselves at HOT Tubs Omarama. Each hot tub is private with its own landscaped private site, so grab some friends or a loved one and enjoy unwinding in the blissful surroundings together.
Location: 29 Omarama Avenue
5. Take Control of a Glider Plane
See the spectacular Southern Alps and surrounding vibrant lakes in a unique way by soaring through the skies by glider plane! Glide Omarama offers 30-minutes to 2-3-hour trial flights allowing you to experience this alternative way of flying in one of the most beautiful settings on earth. During your flight, you’ll be able to take the controls in between admiring the views.
Location: Omarama Airfield