New Zealand Walk: Mo­tat­apu Track - a beau­ti­ful walk

Walking New Zealand - - Contents -

Al­though the Mo­to­tapu Track is a three to a four day hike, as part of the Te Araroa Trail, the first day is an in­cred­i­bly beau­ti­ful day walk.

If you’re not keen on car­ry­ing heavy packs, or climb­ing high moun­tain passes, but want to ex­pe­ri­ence South Is­land high coun­try, this is the per­fect place.

In the 1860’s there were sheep sta­tions at the south end of Wanaka, and gold min­ing grow­ing in Mace­town and Ar­row­town, so a gov­ern­ment funded track was built to link the two ar­eas.

The Mo­tat­apu fol­lows sec­tions of that track, and has three DOC huts built on it, funded by Sha­nia Twain and her Above: Head­ing up over Golden Tus­sock. Be­low left: The start of the track at Fern Burn carpark. hus­band at the time. We walked into the first hut.

Leav­ing Fern Burn carpark, near Glendhu Bay, and 12kms from Wanaka, the trail fol­lowed Fern Burn through grass­land. There were lovely moun­tain views all around. We soon reached a stand of red beech. Here, Fern Burn nar­rows form­ing a gorge and we passed lots of wa­ter­falls and little cas­cades. Hun­dreds of red and white toad­stools of all shapes and sizes grew in clus­ters, or in wavy lines fol­low­ing the tree roots. Some were tiny like little mar­bles, while others were as big as din­ner plates. It was quite beau­ti­ful.

Leaves lit­tered the ground and tuis,

bell­birds, grey war­blers and tomtits twit­tered above, while robins hopped around us. It was a hive of ac­tiv­ity and bird song. It took a while to wan­der through this patch be­cause we just didn’t want to leave.

The trail con­tin­ued on up, through patches of kowhai, ko­romiko, rib­bon­wood and tree daisies.

Then, leav­ing the tree cover, we wan­dered through golden tus­sock and alpine flow­ers with awe­some views of rocky out­crops and huge rolling hills in all di­rec­tions.

With lots of photo stops and a pic­nic on the way we reached Fern Burn hut in less than four hours.

It was a busy little hut with walk­ers from all over the world. Some had been walk­ing the Te Araroa for sev­eral months, some were just com­plet­ing this

By Barbz Lowther

Above: left: In­ter­est­ing gates. Above right: time for lunch. Be­low right: Fol­low­ing the stream over grassy flats.

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