OTEAKE CONSERVATION PARK TRAILS Straddles the ranges dividing Otago and Canterbury, accessible from the Maniototo or the Waitaki Valley
The Oteake Conservation Park is almost 65,000 hectares of mountainous high country, tussock plateaus, scree slopes, wetlands and shrub land. The distinctive flat-topped Hawkdun Range is the park’s centrepiece; often featured in photography and paintings with the St Bathans, Ewe, Ida and St Marys ranges, as well as parts of the upper Manuherikia Basin included within the park.
There are several access points on both the Otago and Canterbury sides of the park, the mains one being car parks at Hawkdun Runs Road, Falls Dam, Home Hills Run Road and Mt Buster Road in the Maniototo near St Bathans, and on Broken Hut Road from the Waitaki Valley.
Make a stop in Omakau and stock up on refreshments and food to take with you on your day’s adventure!
There is a wide range of Central Otago cycle trails and roads in the park, suitable for mountain-biking as well as walking and tramping with 4WD vehicles not permitted on these trails. Much of the public access into the park is along easements crossing private land, please respect this by keeping to trails and roads, and leaving gates as you find them.
Some trails are well formed, while others require backcountry experience - all offer stunning river and or mountain range views. In the 1860’s gold was found within Oteake and at 1200m, the Buster Diggings became the country’s highest altitude gold workings. You can still see evidence of Oteake’s gold mining past in the network of water races found in the area.
In summer, conditions can be hot and dry, so carry plenty of water and sunscreen. Between May and October, snow could be present and an avalanche risk may exist, there are river crossings, so treat all rivers and streams with respect. As alpine conditions can occur at any time of the year, BE PREPARED.
On your return there are a number of historic pubs in St Bathans, Becks, Lauder, Omakau and Chatto Creek to rest at and enjoy a refreshment of choice while you reminisce on your exhilarating day out in Central Otago.
Distance: Approximately 68 km of trails
Fitness: Intermediate to Expert, Steep climbs, variable terrain