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Dunedin Day walks Queen’s birthday                                                                                                                    4th - 6th June

Day 1.

After an early start we (7) travelled to Waitati then took the road less travelled to Dunedin. It was interesting on the peninsula.

Orakanui wildlife sanctuary visitors centre.

We went into the centre and read all about the peninsula wild life and the efforts to give a safe haven for the birds. A 15 minute stop and a destination to revisit.

Longbeach                                                                                                  Our next stop was to visit the huge cave at the north end of the beach. Apparently a great place for an overnight party. After a low entrance it opened out to a large area.

We passed a few group of rock climbers along the way.

A brisk walk to the south end of the each saw us walk about 4.5km on the sand.  The views along the coast to Shag Point and then  the Otago peninsula was stunning in the low winter sun. We picnicked back at the car.

On leaving Longbeach we drove around  the settlement of Porakanui  and discussed a return to the area with kayaks. Some wonderful paddling  in the estuaries and inlet could be had.

We travelled to Port Chalmers then Mt Cargill Road without getting lost and stopped at the next track. The car park had overflowed so we parked on the narrow road.

Organ pipes and Mt Cargill.                                                                                   The organ pipes feature in several brochures so it was time for a visit. The track started with a bunch of steps then settled into a good track with not much mud. The birds were busy singing and flying about. After about 30 minutes we saw the organ pipes and they are spectacular. A multitude of rock columns stacked together with people sitting, climbing to the top and generally enjoying the day. After  scrambling up and taking phots it was time to visit Mt Cargill. The top has a wonderful plain table pointing out the features surrounding Dunedin. The views were 360 degrees and stunning. The silence was disturbed by a car rumbling over the cattle stop 20m from the summit.

A quick climb up Buttars Peak which was marginally lower than Cargill but a more interesting formation occurred on the way back to the car. It was 4pm and time to check into the motor camp.

Day 2  

Taieri River Track

We set out from Dunedin along the scenic coastal road around 9am. Indeed a beautiful day without frost at the camp ground and an enjoyable drive along the coastline to the Taieri River mouth and start of the track. The Taieri River Gorge  track reaches inland from the river mouth. We watched a group of kayakers set off upstream on the incoming tide.

The track was undulating and followed the river gorge. Although walking in the low bush views gave us amazing windows out to the coast down over the river and towards Dunedin. There was a great variety of vegetation.  As the track climbs a little it enters a lush podocarp forest with superb specimens of Halls totara, tree fern/kātote and miro. There are also good stands of healthy, regenerating kahikatea. We were also impressed by the birdlife with lots of woodpigeon, tui, fantails to name a few.

Around half way point we took the short side track to take us down to John Bull Gully picnic area which was at the river side. After a brief stop we decided to carry on to the Taieri Ferry road car park which was the 8km mark and end point of this track. After enjoying a lunch break in the sun and taking in the views looking westwards we returned the same way. All up around 17kms and about 5 ½ hours. This was a lovely track and great days walk. 

Day 3

Pineapple Track to Swampy Summit

Starting at the 'Bull Ring' on Flagstaff-Whare Flat Road (off Three Mile Hill Road).

Starting with a long steepish climb then gradually levelling out the track reached a plane table which helps locate the many viewable landscape features from this prominent high point. A signposted junction with the Swampy Summit Track the Pineapple Track continues to the Flagstaff summit and Swampy Summit. Lots of great views all round but today a chilly breeze higher up. There seemed to be lots of track options and a number of entry and exit points to these walks. We were grateful to get some local advice as the many track options weren’t always signposted and clear. There were indeed lots of people out there enjoying the walks on this day. The track was somewhat muddy in places and we were appreciative of our serious boots which at the end were quite muddy. All up we walked for around 5 ½ hours and about 15 kms.

Thank you to Colin and Judy for arranging great accommodation and food and those who attended were Owen Catherine Judy Colin Dawn Wayne and Christine