Situated on the Eastern slope of the South Island’s main divide, the Waitaki Valley is a large braider river valley draining the highest peaks of Aotearoa’s Southern Alps.
The name Waitaki, translated from Te Reo, is said to mean ‘the tears of Aoraki’ – New Zealand’s highest peak. The Waitaki valley is an unspoilt, untouched paradise with some of the best scenery in New Zealand, with many established wineries and is famous for its unique Otago climate and limestone based soils.
The Lindis Group’s vineyard Clos Ostler is located in the Waitaki Valley. The story of Clos Ostler began in earnest 38 million years ago when geological forces drove an ancient limestone seabed upwards forming the building blocks of the modern Waitaki Valley in Aotearoa New Zealand. Today, the valley is home to one of New Zealand’s unique wine growing climates — one that sits close to the margins of winegrowing and subsequently yields some of the most complex and nuanced wines known to New Zealand.
Take a drive through the Waitaki Valley and be inspired to get in touch with nature, either through exploring geological wonders, or picnicking by the beautiful braided river or one of the three lakes.
Waitaki Valley / Natural Monuments
CLAY CLIFFS | 45 minute drive from The Lindis
A geological wonder; sharp pinnacles and ridges separated by steep and narrow ravines. The Cliffs are relatively new, made up of layers of silt and gravel deposited by ancient glaciers over a million years ago. The Clay Cliffs are just north of Omarama, and a recommended visit – please note: A $5 donation is required to visit.
ELEPHANT ROCKS | 1 hr 45 minute drive from The Lindis
Rock formations varying from 1–10 metres across and are naturally scattered around a grass paddock on a gentle hillside over an area of about 200 metres (660 ft) across.
The rocks themselves are rounded and others pockmarked from weathering. It has generally been accepted that they do not specifically resemble elephants, though you may find some if you look hard enough.
Waitaki Valley / Towns
The place of light – is a great place to visit. Omarama has a stellar reputation for world-class gliding; here you can soar over the beautiful Waitaki Valley and McKenzie basin. Home to the Ahuriri River and Waitaki lakes.
Ō: place of; marama: moon, light, or moonlight. In later times it was said that marama is the Māori pronunciation of marram grass, which was planted here under government instructions.
Omarama (pronounced O-ma-rama) is a small township at the junction of State Highways 8 and 83, near the southern end of the Mackenzie Basin, the closest township to The Lindis. Omarama is in the Waitaki District, in the southern Canterbury region and has a population of about 400 people.
Ohau showcases real New Zealand; it's a small holiday hideaway and gateway to Lake Ohau, numerous walking tracks, the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle trail and the Ohau ski field. The ski field offers stunning vistas.
Kurow is centrally located in the middle of the Waitaki Valley. Stop for a wine tasting, platter or both and gather some insights into local history.
Home to a unique and interesting mixture of natural, historical and cultural attractions that are unlike anything else.
Waitaki Valley / Lakes
Lake Ohau is a 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 has its outflow in the Ohau River, which itself feeds into the Waitaki River hydroelectric project.
1 hour 40 min drive from The Lindis | 93km
Lake Benmore is a lake located in the South Island of New Zealand. It was artificially created in the 1960s by construction of Benmore Dam. The lake covers an area of approximately 75 km². Parts of it lie in the Mackenzie, Waimate, and Waitaki districts within the southern portion of the Canterbury Region.
50 minute drive from The Lindis | 44km
Lake Aviemore or ‘Mahi Tikumu’ is a man-made lake in New Zealand's South Island, part of the Waitaki hydroelectric scheme. Immediately upstream is Lake Benmore and downstream Lake Waitaki. Aviemore lies on both sides of the border between the Waimate and Waitaki districts.
1 hour 10 min drive from The Lindis | 73km (to damn lookout)
Lake Waitaki is the smallest, oldest and farthest downstream of the three man-made lakes of the Waitaki hydroelectric project in New Zealand's South Island. It lies below lakes Aviemore and Benmore on the Waitaki River, close to the town of Kurow.
1 hour 15 min drive from The Lindis | 79km