New Zealand Walk: Catlins River Wisp Loop Walk
During March, there was no-one except the Department of Conservation ranger at the Tawanui Campground. We headed off for half and hour in one direction on the Tawanui Wisp Loop Walk, part of a two day, 12km per day tramping track. The section we did was easy to walk on an unformed surface over lots of beech tree roots.
Sections of the tea coloured Catlins River were lined up to a 5m wide strip with silver beech on both sides. None were fenced from the surrounding farm and forestry land. Only a few kilometres downstream, only willow and other invasive weeds lined the banks.
Apart from the languid river and a solitary fantail, there was little else to see, although we did look out for native mistletoe. The longer day walk held a lot more promise for another day.
Road access is via an extension of Catlins Valley Road or Morris Saddle Road from Owaka Valley.
This would be a great place to pitch a tent, park a motorhome, fish, mountain bike or drift on a car inner tube towards the sea.
Above: Silver Beech near the Tawanui DOC Campsite upper Catlins River.