Big Sky Walking Festival - Central Otago     

April 27 - 29 2018

Stunning views, our brilliant blue day-time skies and clear bright night-time skies, our unmistakeable autumn weather and glorious colours, the largest river in New Zealand, hawks and perhaps a falcon or other native bird, tough native plants and cryptic lizards and grasshoppers may all be enjoyed. Our towns have historic architecture and you can share tall tales at our cafes, restaurants, wineries and breweries after your walk.
Any funds raised from this Festival will be used to help increase the native biodiversity of our area and to develop a bigger and better Walking Festival for 2019.

Sorry, no dogs and no smoking on any of these walks.

Places on all walks are limited so book now

Most walks will have a shuttle to and from meeting places. Details will be given once payment is received.

Choose from five walks guided by friendly and knowledgeable locals that explore our unique natural heritage, our recent built heritage and the gold-mining era. Walks are graded from 1 (easy urban stroll in comfortable walking shoes) to 5 (longer walk in boots on rough ground, not always on a track).


Grade 2 (it will be dark, bring a headlamp or torch). Friday evening, 27 April, 7-9pm. ($12, includes transport). Dress warmly and bring a beanie, gloves and a windproof top layer.
Use the Central Otago Astronomy Society’s telescopes or your own binoculars to explore the bright lights of the Central Otago sky. We can’t guarantee cloudless skies but if they are clear, the sparkling beauty of our night sky may shock you.
Click here to book a spot on the Night Walk


Grade 3 (not hard, but 9km). Saturday morning, 28 April, 9am-12pm. $30 (includes transport).
Accompany our mighty Mataau/Clutha river as it races down from the Clyde Dam towards Alexandra. Even after some of its energy has been extracted for electricity this is a very powerful river. The fabulous autumn colours of Central Otago might be at their peak. Find gold-mining relics and perhaps native plants and birds and look for the endemic and Nationally Endangered tarapiroe (black-fronted tern or riverbed tern).
Click here to book a spot on the River Walk


Grade 3 (starts uphill, ends downhill, not all of it is on a track). Saturday afternoon 28 April, 1-3pm. $25 (includes transport).
Experience the stunning vastness of the Central Otago landscape on this journey. Stumble through the thyme but look up to Haehaeata (first to see the light) at 1,647masl on the Dunstan Mountains, east across the Waikerikeri alluvial fan to the Hawkdun Range, west across Clyde and the Mataau/Clutha to the Cairnmuir Range and south past Alexandra to Kopuwai at 1,682masl on the Old Man Range with the Knobby Range further east.
Click here to book a spot on the Big Sky Walk


Grade 1 (a stroll). Saturday afternoon, 28 April, 4-5.30pm. $12.
Observe the progression from wood and tin structures to sturdy local stone buildings as you explore the remnants of the historic gold rush village of Clyde. Discover the modern use of our old buildings, see the dynamics of continuing change in the heritage landscape and draw your own conclusions on authenticity in our 'old mining town'.
Click here to book a spot on the Architectural Walk


Grade 4 (rough ground, loose rock, not all of it is on a track ,boots are best). Sunday morning, 29 April, 10am-2pm (bring lunch). $30 (includes transport).
Great views on this landscape journey. Walk up to a QEII Covenant in a steep, rocky, valley which hides a kowhai forest. Central Otago was once largely woodland and kowhai were very common. Many other native plants, some endemic, several At Risk, will be seen along the way. Mokomoko (lizards), kahu (hawks), karearea (falcons) and many of our flying and jumping insects are usually seen. The fascinating schist geology of our area is apparent from the vantage points and the fossil and recent history and Lake Manuherekia will be explained. You will discover the complexities of our special dryland landscape and our past and recent geological and biological history.
Click here to book a spot on the Woodland Discovery Walk
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