Skyline Walk Oamaru – 20 February 2022

On Sunday nine of us, John, Graham and Joan, Veronica, Vikki, Robert, Kaye and Lindsay and Wayne walked the Skyline Walk in Oamaru. The weather was perfect. There were blue skies and it was warm and sunny. After a quick car shuttle to avoid an unnecessary walk back along roads we started from Orana Park and walked up and over a small hill to the start of the grassland part of the track. After a brief read of the map and walk details on a notice board at the start of the track we climbed up a well worn, well mowed track to the ridgetop – the skyline that gave good views onto parts of the town of Oamaru, the sea and inland to the mountains. We walked through the Glen Warren Reserve then started walking towards the Glen Eden Reserve.

We then dropped down slightly and walked throught a patch of native bush just below the skyline. We saw a few bananna passionfruit vines growing in amongst the native and wondered why someone hadn’t taken them out. Once out of the native bush we dropped down to the banks of a small creek and then we had a quick side trip to look at a small quarry of geological interest. We crossed a small creek and climbed up the other side to the Glen Eden Reserve. Now we were walking on footpaths beside roads. We stopped and looked at a small astronomical observatory on the top of Observatory Hill, then we had a brief sidle, pausing to look at the historic Phoenix flour mill’s water wheel on Old Mill Road below us. There were several mountain bike tracks joining the main track before we reached a decision point where the track branched. We sidled down valley along the track, crossed several fences via stiles and dropped down to the road at about the middle of the Oamaru Public Gardens where we had a short break and a late morning tea or an early pre-lunch snack. The track information boards told us we had walked 4.6km at this point.

We started to follow the Oamaru Creek through the Gardens and had a quick side excursion and walked under the historical limestone main road bridge. We then crossed the bridge and followed the creek down to another small park where we crossed the creek again and walked under another old historical limestone bridge – impressive arches when seen from below. We came out at the old Oamaru Railway Station where the tourist train was waiting for its passangers. Then we passed Steampunk HQ and passed through a small park and walked under the railway bridge before coming up to the new impressive wooden suspension bridge that crossed the Oamaru Creek right at the seafront. We crossed this bridge and had a quick look at the remains of the old Oamaru Freezing Works buildings before heading to the Friendly Bay Park for lunch.

After lunch we started part two of the walk – towards the Lookout and Cape wanbrow. The track started at King George Park, Wayne knew a shortcut and we quickly climbed up to Test Street before climbing up though grassland and native bush of the Lookout Point Reserve to the lookout. After a break, looking at the notice board and admiring the views of the wharf, Oamaru and the sea, we headed to the old gun emplacement at Cape Wanbrow Reserve. There was a mix of walking track and road to walk on here with lots of mountain bike trails coming and going beside us as we walked along the road. The old concrete gunsite was the furthest we went. Here we turned around and walked back down to Test Street via a mountain bike trail. We walked beside the King George Park this time and arrived at the pre-parked shuttle car. There was time for an ice cream while the cars were being shuttled back. The total distance we walked was about 9-10km.

Getting away from Timaru on Friday night took longer than normal, seven bikes had to be loaded onto vehicle bikeracks, in practice quite a slow process. Then a drive to Twizel and Alpine Energy’s cottage where we based ourselves for the weekend.

Saturday morning with grotty weather, so what to do? Drove to Lake Oahu with bikes, unloaded them, weather still deteriorating, so pedalled up to the Lodge and a cup of coffee. Weather outlook still not encouraging, so back on the bikes and headed back to Twizel via the lake edge, over the weir, then along the canal road back to our accommodation, 40km in all. Cold and wet by this stage, some of us gave up, hardier souls continued up to Pukaki.

Sunday dawned, clear and sunny. Drove back to Ohau lodge. Bikes unloaded and shuttling of vehicles, then onto the bike track. A well graded track although track surface was noticeably rough especially for those without mountain bikes. But great conditions and wonderful views otherwise, and a tail wind pushing us southwards. 20 km to Quailburn woodshed, where we had a lunch snack, then a downhill glide of 20 km to Omarama. Most of the party carried on cycling to Sailors Cutting, another 17 km.
Special thanks to John for sacrificing his biking for vehicle shuttling, it made things a lot easier.
Those participating: Colin, Judy, Barry, Owen, Catherine, John and Rob

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