The steep Ohau Mountain Access Road in NZ
Ohau Mountain Access Road is a 9.3km good metal access road located in the Ohau Range in the Mackenzie High Country, not far from the Mt Cook region on the South Island of New Zealand. The road is extremely steep, with a gradient average of 10.1%.
The road is extremely steep and climbs up to Ohau Snow Fields, at an elevation of 1.469m (4,819ft) above the sea level. Weather conditions can be changeable over the day, and mountain visitors are advised to be prepared and carry basic survival equipment. Starting from Lake Ohau Road, the ascent is 9.3 km long. Over this distance, the elevation gain is 940 meters. The average percentage is 10.1%
The road to the top is a smooth mountain road; one of the best alpine roads in the country. It’s unpaved, narrow, without safety rails, and the lake in the background makes the drop-offs look particularly hairy. Thankfully the road is very well maintained so it’s generally not too muddy, but a 4WD would be beneficial.
The drive is definitely worth it. There are many excellent photo opportunities here. Don’t forget your camera! From the access road, the views up the valley to Aoraki Mount Cook and overlooking Lake Ohau are spectacular with snatched glimpses of the snow field now and again before opening up to the full panorama on arrival at the car park.
Pic: Brennan Hawkins