Wanaka Forest and Bird Branch ~ trip in the Oteake Conservation Park

Yesterday I had an interesting look at a block of country nearby that I’ve not seen before. The Wanaka Forest and Bird group organised it and it was down the west branch of the Manuherikia river and up the east. Accessed oddly enough from the Omarama end of the Mackenzie Basin over Omarama Saddle

For those of you interested the Manuherikia river is better known in it’s lower reaches around the Alexandra area, but it has it’s headwaters well north of St Bathans.

It’s all to do with the relatively new Oteake Conservation Park, which in the area we travelled was originally Twin Burn Station, which was purchased for The Crown by the Dept. of Conservation about 3-4 years ago.

Typical access and grind to high altitude, then down to the river on the other side of Omarama Saddle…

Our briefing…


The first of many river crossings…

Getting my camper over this bridge was quite stressful due to it’s size. Even this lighter vehicle got stuck – most of us had to “gun” up the eroded and undercut lip, hoping we arrived with the bounce placing us squarely on wheel width planks – in between were gaping holes…#alttext#

One of two huts in the area…#alttext#

There was a lot of technical driving – no way you’d want to fall off to the right!..#alttext#

One of two sections that held us up a bit. The vehicle in the rear is getting a tow, a Nissan X-Trail that quite impressed us, for a car in this sort of hard core 4wd country. The ‘Cruiser in the front has to be careful to not drop a wheel into the obvious hole. Such a mistake could easily result in a roll-over, even for this capable truck..

It’s only steam…

My old friend Geoff Wayatt surveys the terrain – the vehicle on the right is “bellied” after a wheel fell in a hole…

My relaxed friend 4yr old friend Celeste, and Jen my yoga teacher wait for things to get sorted…

Heading home up the vast East Manuherikia into rain, which was not forecast or in the plan… #alttext#

Time to clean the fuel filter…

Learning about local vegetation – I’m afraid I’m allergic to water ‘tho…

Keeping a good gap, as we descend steep slippery terrain back down to the Omarama area…

Many thanks to Errol Carr of Wanaka Forest and Bird and those who got their feet wet helping smooth the way.

For the return home over the Lindis, I escorted the vehicle with a fuel filter problem. Steve simply stopped every 10-15 Kms and cleaned it so we got there without too much of a hassle.

I quite enjoyed the stops for a variety of reasons – the light being one…


And now all that is remaining are the memories, the photos, and a dirty truck…

About this Like Minds Blog Donald Lousley

  2 comments for “Wanaka Forest and Bird Branch ~ trip in the Oteake Conservation Park

  1. November 17, 2011 at 1:44 am

    Kia ora Donald,
    Great tour – cheers! Always good to see the word “new” in front of Conservation Park. Looks like a great day was had by all. The stark beauty of the place really grabs me, and those hills in the cloud and mist never fail to call. Kia kaha e hoa.

    • Donald Lousley
      November 17, 2011 at 1:49 am

      Kia ora Robb

      Exactly! I said to someone the mist and rain for me brings a sense of mystery above and beyond a blue sky!

      Interesting to that you see the starkness. I perhaps see it a little differently due to familiarity.

      Looking forward to seeing your next write up if you do one [no pressure].



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