Twizel River Trail

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The Twizel River Trail is a perfect leisurely walk for the whole family. Though it is long, a whooping 12km, the track is flat with some small hills. Most people who use the track stop along the way to go for a swim, to fish, to birdwatch or just to have a picnic. 

However, because the track is so long and all along the river, people tend to be spread out so you will be able to enjoy the river and the track without any crowds. This track is shared with mountain bikers, runners, walker and anglers alike. You may even see a baby buggy or two.

Speaking of anglers, the Twizel River hosts rainbow and brown trout, Canterbury galaxias and upland bully. The latter 2 fish are native to Canterbury. Outside of the water, you may also be able to identify native birds and small geckos.

The track is through old farm tracks and newly established river tracks. Along the riverbank, you will find willow trees to shade you from the sun.

This track is enjoyable as it lets you take in the sights of the Mackenzie basin mountains, Lake Benmore and maybe even Aoraki Mt Cook on a clear day.

Quick Facts

        • Location: Twizel, South Island, New Zealand
        • Time needed: 5-6 hour walk
        • Distance: 24 km
        • Difficulty: Medium
        • Bikes allowed: This track is shared with mountain bikes.
        • Route: Return
        • Elevation: 78 m descent
        • Wet Feet: The walk is alongside the river, so there is the potential for wet feet.
        • Toilets: There are toilet facilities throughout Twizel.
        • Dogs: No
        • Mobile Coverage: Yes, very good
        • Last Updated: May, 2020
  • Track Highlights

    Parts of this track offer views of Aoraki Mount Cook. The Twizel River has great swimming holes and fishing spots. The end of the track offers views of Lake Benmore.

  • Track Quality

    The track is flat and a natural dirt road (not gravelled). This is a shared mountain bike track.

  • Hazards


  • Transport

    Twizel is accessible through InterCity, Newmans and the Cook Connection.

  • Water

    Drinking water is available throughout Twizel.

  • Driving Instructions

    The town of Twizel is located along SH8, about 11 km from Pukaki. It is a 2:30 hour drive from Queenstown and 3:45 h drive from Christchurch. The start of the walk is just outside Twizel on the eastern side of SH8, at the DOC pedestrian gate.

  • Shops or Restaurants nearby

    There are shops and restaurants in Twizel.

  • Area & Track History

    The town of Twizel was meant to temporarily house the construction workers of the nearby Upper Waitaki Hydroelectric Scheme. It was meant to be reverted back to farmland afterwards. Now Twizel is the largest town in the Mackenzie District. A lot of the town is made up of holiday homes so the population of the town nearly triples in summer months. Twizel is the perfect base to access the rest of the Mackenzie Region such as Mount Cook, Lake Pukaki and Lake Tekapo.

  • Camping & huts on or near the walk

    No camping on this walk

  • Best Things To Do near this walk

Map of Twizel River Trail

Here is the map for Twizel River Trail showing it’s location in New Zealand. You can change the view on the map to satellite if you prefer to see an image of where the walk is instead.

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