New Zealand Walk: Motatapu Track - a beautiful walk
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.