North Temple track

  • Bushwalk
  • Return — 10 km
  • 4 hours
  • EasyEasy to follow, not much of a climb
  • 5/5Impressive cirque in a well-kept secret place

You’re tired of the tourists' crowds in Otago and want to enjoy a short and easy walk to an amazing place, only a two-hour drive from Wanaka ? This one is for you !
As Lake Ohau is not along the highway and as they have to do a little detour to get to the next cafe of their trip, people often bypass it. That’s a pity for them as it’s probably one of the most beautiful Southern Lakes but it’s a chance for the ones who want a bit of fresh air.

This is not a difficult track and you should be able to return to the starting point in four hours, if you don’t take the time to explore and admire the cirque, which would be a shame. But pick up a sunny day because you’re gonna have wet feet and it can be cold at the end. If you have more time and are a bit more adventurous, you can do a two-day loop, called Temple Circuit, linking South and North Temple tracks via an unmarked route through Gunsight Pass but take care, the water level of the south branch of Temple Stream can be high after heavy rain and you have to cross it. There’s a hut at the end of South Temple Track, South Temple Hut (how original !).


  • By car : drive to the very end of Lake Ohau Road, where you’ll find a nice DOC free campsite. The last kilometres are unsealed but suitable for all vehicles if the weather is fine and as you go across private land, leave the gates as you find them.
  • By public transport : bus companies Nakedbus, Atomictravel and Intercitycoach have a stop in Omarama, the closest town but you still have to walk 60 km to the start of the track. In summer, you should be able to find a ride pretty easily.
  • By bike : you’re not very far from the Alps to Ocean Trail, you can do a side trip on your way.
Mount Cook view from Lake Ohau rd
Mount Cook view from Lake Ohau rd


  • Best time to go : summer (January to March) but as you don’t climb to the top, end of spring and beginning of automn should be ok. Definitely, pick up a sunny day, it’s nicer when you have wet feet !
  • Costs : none.
  • Time : 4 hours return, but take your time to enjoy the view.
  • Shorter option : a one-kilometre circuit through the beech forest also starts from the carpark.
  • Camping : the free DOC Temple campsite is right at the start of this Track, with a toilet and a shelter.


Télécharger la trace GPS | Ouvrir la carte en grand

From the carpark to the end of North Temple Track

Don’t forget to sign the intention book before going even though you don’t leave for several days. The track is marked from the carpark, but open your eyes, orange arrows are not always easy to find. The track goes mainly in the forest, following the stream on the left (right bank of it) but I advise you to stay in the bed of the creek, you’re gonna have to cross the stream several times but views are nicer. And staying in the forest doesn’t necessarily means dry feet ! After a while, you’ll have to take the track anyway, it’s kind of obvious : river banks become steeper and higher, and the river soon occupies all its bed.

You climb a bit in the forest, it can be steep but never dangerous. You cross several small streams before arriving in this huge area surrounded by massive cliffs where many waterfalls crash down. Mountains tops should still have snow even in the middle of summer. You’ll pass an informal campsite with a pit toilet at the entrance of the area and then, wander and admire as long as you want ! Go back the same way.

The way you came
The way you came