If you have ever wondered why Otago’s colours are blue and gold, dusk at Lake Onslow will tell you. As the sun slips in the sky, the whole landscape becomes three bands of two colours-blue sky, golden hills, blue lake. Don’t be so distracted by the fat trout feeding on grasshoppers and cicadas that you miss the moment.
Lake Onslow lies in a basin south of the Knobby Range and to the north of the Lammerlaw and Lammermoor ranges. It was created by the damming for irrigation of the Teviot River, and the lake is so well stocked with trout that it is one of only a few South Island waters for which there is no daily bag limit or minimum size. Many people remember it as the place they caught their first trout.
From the valley of the upper Taieri River, the road to Lake Onslow heads west through a landscape of big sky and seemingly endless high tussock plains. In winter this can be a bitterly cold, uninviting area. After rain the mostly clay middle section can be slippery, but in midsummer the ruts are more likely to be set like concrete.
The road approaches the lake from the north and then skirts its western edge, so you will see it out to your left for some time before coming across the track to the lakeside huts. There is room for camping here, and the public long-drop has a proverbial million-dollar view.
From the lake the road climbs to a saddle near Mt Teviot (977m). The view from here is of Old Man Range, the Clutha Valley and Roxburgh.
HOW TO GET THERE
From Paerau travel south, turn into Loganburn Ford Road and drive to the intersection with Linnburn Runs Road.
G43 (Roxburgh), G44 (Beaumont), H43 (Middlemarch)
N > S. Start at H42 628267
Gravel road to 14.4km and then clay and gravel surface until 31.3km, where gravel starts again. The road may be closed by snow and ice in the winter and can be slippery when wet.
Source: 4WD South Island Volume 1 (Ken Sibly & Mark Wilson)