The Tarnbrae Track is a back-country ride on a wide, well formed trail - some purpose built; some four wheel drive track. The gradient is controlled and gentle and the trail surface is dirt, gravel or stony - good but usually jittery or bumpy, depending on where you are.
The track starts at Lake Ohau and steadily climbs 350 metres over 11km. Then it descends 200 metres over the following 8km to Qualburn Road.
It forms a part of the 300km "Alps 2 Ocean" trail that goes from Mount Cook to the coast at Oamaru. At Qualburn Road it's worth turning right and riding the two kilometres to the historic sheep shearing shed dating back to the 1920s.
As an out-and-back ride the Tarnbrae Track gives you two good workouts and two good downhill blats. The ride back down from the high point to Lake Ohau is a feast of gentle corners - off camber and jittery - all the way heading straight for the jagged peaks of New Zealand's highest mountains.
It's a very scenic ride with magnificent mountain vistas to the north, gorgeous Lake Ohau, and alpine meadows to the east. For a few short periods the trails goes through beech forest. Take care not to run into wandering hobbits.
It is described here as an out-and-back ride from Lake Ohau. Even better ways to ride it would be as part of the Alps 2 Ocean Trail or as a shuttle from Omarama.