A Walk on the Wisp – Walking Trail

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A Walk on the Wisp – Walking Trail. Trail Boss : Steve Clark ph 03 445 0920 email : steveclark3177@gmail.com

Duration : 6 days, Sunday 25 February 2018 to Saturday 3 March 2018 Party size : 12 maximum

This 6 day, 98km walk starts and finishes in Owaka thereby avoiding having to shuttle trampers and/or cars. This year’s Cavalcade is a departure from the usual Central Otago venues, but Owaka and the Catlins have much to recommend them. The trail will involve abandoned railway formations, riverside tracks through native bush, a stiff climb onto Wisp Hill (so named as the summit is often wrapped in cloud), farm tracks and to finish a beach track where we may see sea lions and the remains of the wreck of the steamer Sarat.

Accommodation on the Sunday and Friday nights will be at the Owaka Golf Club. The trail finishes on Saturday walking to Owaka for the Grand Parade through the town to the Domain.

This trail is for fit, experienced trampers who must be capable of carrying up to 16 – 18 kg for up to 21 km per day over rough farm tracks with some steep ascents and descents. Accommodation on the trail will be in woolsheds. The trail is independent with all personal gear, food and shared gear carried by the walkers. There will be no back-up vehicle. It is self catering with walkers sharing in cooking the evening meal for the party. The evening meal on the final night will be catered.

Please feel free to ring or email me if you have any questions relating to the trail.

Sunday 25 February 2018 We will meet at the Owaka Golf Club, Pounawea Road from 3:00pm onwards. Dinner is not included in the trail fee, but if there is sufficient interest we can book dinner at the Lumberjack Cafe & Bar in Owaka. If you are arriving early in Owaka there is an excellent museum in the town with displays covering the history of the area. There is also an abandoned scow of the type that plied the South Otago coast moored in the Owaka River off Pounawea Road, about 2km beyond the golf club. If you feel that you won’t get enough walking on the trail there is a 20 minute walk along the old rail formation through the only tunnel on the line. This is signposted on the highway before you get to Owaka.

Monday 26 February 2018 From the Owaka Golf Club we will drive into Owaka to the Domain. Secure parking for the cars will be available nearby (the Police Station and police house are also nearby). Details will be provided in due course.
The trail will take us along the Popatowai Highway to Hanning Road, which we wil follow to its end. From there we will follow farm tracks over a saddle before dropping down to the Catlins River. Crossing the river we will follow the abandoned railway formation, which parallels the river, through to Tawanui where will spend the night in the Tawanui Scenic Farm woolshed. Approximate distance 16 km.

Tuesday 27 February 2018 From the woolshed we will follow Morris Saddle Road to Catlins Road and the start of the Catlins River Track. The track follows the Catlins River through lovely native forest at the foot of the Beresford Range. At the northern end of the track we will branch off to the Wisp Hill Station woolshed for the night. Approximate distance 17 km.

Wednesday 28 February 2018 Today we tackle a crossing of the Wisp Range. Leaving the woolshed we will cross Cairn Road and follow a track along the foot of the Wisp Range. The grade is easy gaining 100 metres over 4 km, but then we take to the hills. Following a farm track we will gain a small terrace, which we follow for a short distance before climbing again. Initially the grade is not too bad, but the final stretch to the ridge is grunty. The hard yakka cuts off 5 km so is worth the effort. Having gained the ridge we will follow it for 1.5 km before dropping down the northern side of the ridge to the Owaka Valley. The final 6 km to Lochindorb Station woolshed is straightforward being a combination of country roads and farm track. Approximate distance 21 km.

Thursday 1 March 2018 Today’s trail is a combination of country roads and farmland. From Lochindorb we will follow the road to Hay’s Run where the trail follows farm tracks past the Glenomaru Valley Reserve and along Glenomaru Valley Road to the Owaka Highway. Here we will follow the old rail formation to Wright Road from where we head across country to Kitto’s woolshed. Approximate distance 21km

Friday 2 March 2018 Today we head for the coast and Sandy Bay farm. After dropping into a valley to cross Otara Stream we climb Ironwood Hill and Green Hill for magnificent views of the coast before dropping down to Cannibal Bay. Depending on the tide we will walk along the beach at Cannibal and Surat Bays to Newhaven Road and our destination at the Owaka Golf Club. Along the beaches we may see New Zealand sea lions and the wreck of the steamer Surat. Approximate distance 20km.

Saturday 3 March 2018 We will walk from the Owaka Golf Club to the assembley paddock at the Ponderosa in Owaka in preparation for the Grand Parade at noon. The Grand Parade will pass through Owaka to the Owaka Domain where entertainment and food stalls will be available. Approximate distance 3 km.


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