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South Island map showing Twizel


Once land reserved for farming sheep, Twizel was established as the base for the Upper Waitaki Power Development. The scheme was the largest hydro project ever undertaken in New Zealand, started in 1968 and completed 18 years later.

Today Twizel is a service and tourist town with a residential population of approximately 1200 people. Popular as a holiday town, in summer the population more than trebles. It’s the closest town to Aoraki/Mt Cook and the Tasman Glacier, and is an excellent cost effective alternative to staying in the Mount Cook Village. Many of the houses that once serviced the hydroelectric development are now holiday homes. A 15 minute drive will take you down to Lake Ruataniwha, an artificial lake formed as part of the Upper Waitaki Scheme.

Penstock and Heavy Machinery for Dam Construction 1968 Prefabricated House

Twizel's layout is based on a Scandinavian concept where the shopping and sporting facilities are centrally located with green areas linking streets, providing safe and quick pedestrian walkways to the town centre. Most of the houses were prefabricated and the whole town was erected very quickly. A unique quirk to the town’s residences is the prominence of the meter box, seen at the very centre of houses’ street facing wall, displaying very clearly the township’s electrical establishment.

At the entrance to the town there is a monument to the town’s hydroelectric heritage with a section of Penstock (a piece of pipe that delivers water to dam turbines) and a few examples of the heavy machinery used in the construction of the dams and channels in the basin.

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Featured Twizel Events

Across the Ditch Tour - Mel Parsons & Liz Stringer (AUS)
Meridian Twizel Hard Labour Weekend - Dusky Trail
Twizel Ben Ohau Station, Twizel
Sunday 22 October 2017
Across the Ditch Tour - Mel Parsons & Liz Stringer (AUS)
The Top Hut Bar & Bistro, Twizel
Friday 6 October 2017
Meridian Twizel Hard labour Weekend - Pyramid Run
Twizel Ben Ohau Station, Twizel
Sunday 22 October 2017
Meridian Twizel Hard Labour Weekend - Canal Kayak Marathon
Hydro Canals around Twizel, Twizel
Saturday 21 October 2017

Twizel - Google News

Twizel News
Impatient drivers risk everything and everyone
Blind faith in their luck was the only thing that saved a number of impatient motorists from disaster between Twizel and Timaru at the weekend. Motorists on the 150-kilometre stretch of State highway 8 on Saturday were forced to share the road with the ...

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