Oteake Conservation Area 24-26 September
Oteake is a nice area and less than 2 hours from Timaru. This trip we headed into the area from the Otamatapaio River opposite Sailors Cutting.
We parked at the car park, 15m from the first Doc marker, but there was no DOC sign. Catherine had a new brochure so we checked our route. It stated 8km up the river then onto a 4WD track.
Of we set, knowing we had 20km to the Otamatapaio Hut. The track had intermittent markers but we kept on route. After 1 hour plus we came to our first DOC sign. It stated car park 5km, hut 15 km. We decided against dropping our packs and going back to shift the car, and carried on. The river valley is quite open and the farming has intensified. New fences on both side of the river were adorned with rabbit netting, and pivot irrigators operating.
After reaching the new car park the valley narrowed and the track crossed the river quite a few times.
We passed an old stone hut, which is falling apart, a green hut which is a station hut, Dog Creek which provides another route into the Oteake Conservation Area and arrived in sunshine at Otamatapaio Hut. It was a six hour walk. The tops were finally clear.
The hut is plywood lined and very easy to heat. Firewood is scarce but we burnt less than we found.
Sunday was again low cloud and our plan to head to the tops soon changed. We walked up Dog creek until we reached the cloud and stopped for lunch. A lovely view but not the same as from the tops. We arrived back at the hut for a hot drink and then a quick scramble up the closet hill, back to the cloud.
Sunday night it rained, and in the morning another grey day for our walk out.
We checked the access to the car park. It is a public Road but made to look like a private entry, no signposts to the car park and the website is not updated.
Rob, Colin, Judy and Catherine had a great weekend.
A lovely place to go with a hut that needs a coat of paint on the outside. A good project for a small group with a few spare days.