We are located in the Waitaki - (Maori: Wai; water or tears, -taki; of Aoraki -Mount Cook) - a central South Island valley extending approximately 100 km from the eastern side of the Main Divide in the Southern Alps to the Pacific Ocean.
The valley is cut by the prominent Waitaki River. Sourced from three glacial lakes, Pukaki, Tekapo and Ohau in the Mackenzie Basin, the natural flow of the river has been significantly modified by the construction of three hydroelectric dams: Benmore (1965), Aviemore (1968) and Waitaki (1934). In total the Waitaki power stations generate around 30% of New Zealand's hydroelectricity. The dams contain lakes of the same names.
The valley is traditionally a region of high country and lowland farming. In recent years there has been a move from dry land farming to intensive dairy farming.
The valley has also become home to two of New Zealand's finest vineyards:
Known locally as a sportsman's paradise the valley is noted for trout and salmon fishing. It is a popular summer destination for lakeside camping and boating. The 312 km Alps to Ocean Cycle trail from the Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park to Oamaru and the Pacific Ocean adds to the recreational appeal.