Walks and Hikes
Explore our bushland tracks, hilltop trails, and lakeside rambles - do you want a short hike to a waterfall, a steeper challenge, or a riverbank stroll with the kids? Waimate District's walking tracks and trails have something for everyone.
Studholmes Bush Tracks
A range of tracks in the hills overlooking Waimate, and along the old railway line through the Waimate Gorge.
Something for every age and fitness level, from steep uphills to long, winding flats, and a waterfall. Hilltop views to the Pacific Ocean, and inland to the Southern Alps.
Location: Five minutes inland from Waimate. Parking and signage on the Waimate side of the gorge. Time: From 20 minutes. Level of Fitness: Low - high. No dogs.
Ngaio Track Challenge
If you really want to test your fitness, try getting to the top of the Ngaio track without stopping! You may see wallabies on the track, or hear them thumping through the bush.
Start at the Studholme Bush carpark, the hill walk starts off gently enough, but you'll soon be winding straight up to the top of the hill. Just when you think you've reached the top, you'll turn a corner and see another stretch to go...
You'll feel great at the end and be rewarded with amazing views out to sea, and inland to Waihao Downs and Waihaorunga.
If you're up for the challenge, start your timer at the Studholme Bush carpark gates, and stop it at the sign at the top. Send your results here, (must be recorded with Strava or other such app) with a photo if possible. The record holder will be announced on our Facebook page along with the time to beat.
A tree-lined walkway alongside the Waimate Creek between Point Bush Road bridge and Garlands Road bridge. Also a great track for kids to learn mountain biking.
Garlands Track is relatively flat; the Garlands Road loop is a gradual uphill.
Location: Two minutes from the centre of town on Point Bush Road. Time: 45 minutes return, or 1 hour round trip up Point Bush Road and down Garlands Road. Level of Fitness: Low - moderate. Dogs on a leash.
A flat loop track around the park and arboretum, underplanted with masses of bulbs. Sheep and horses sometimes graze here, and please respect the animals and don't disturb them.
Easy walk in parkland area with beautiful established trees. Suitable for walking and biking.
Location: Two minutes from the centre of Waimate, on Waihao Back Road. Time: 30 minutes + Level of Fitness: Low. Dogs on a leash.
Kelceys Bush Tracks
Beautiful bush at the base of the hills; two tracks, alongside and through a stream.
If you're feeling adventurous you can make stepping stones with rocks and cross the streams and reach the first water supply station for the town of Waimate. A lovely place to picnic.
Location: Ten minutes from Waimate via Mill Road.
Time: 20 mins (Sanders Falls) or 40 mins (water intake).
Level of Fitness: Low - medium. Dogs on a leash.
Gunns Bush Track
This track has moss hanging from the trees and an abundance of bird life. It's a great family track - kids love exploring the bush, climbing trees, crossing streams, and listening to the birds. The track follows a river valley in amongst bush. At times it meanders beside the creek.
Location: Hunters Hills. Entrance is off Lower Hook Road, at Gunn’s Bush Camp, 13 km northwest of Waimate. Time: 1.5 hours loop track. Level of Fitness: Medium. Dogs on a leash.
Waihao River Walkway
This walkway runs beneath limestone cliffs along the south bank of the Waihao River between McCullochs Bridge and the Black Hole. The track meanders through willow trees, grasslands, and riverbed. Part of the track goes through a working farm. Close gates behind you, and don’t disturb stock.
Location: Fifteen minutes southwest of Waimate via SH82 and Kapua Road to McCullochs Bridge. Time: 1.5 hours return. Level of Fitness: Low - moderate. Dogs on a leash.
Lake Wainono Wetland
Lake Wainono is considered a wetland of national importance, and a paradise for bird watchers.
Location: Start at either end of the track: Hook Beach Road or Poingdestres Road. The track can also be accessed from Wainono Lake Road, on SH1 opposite Nosh Cafe.
Time: 5 hours return. Level of Fitness: Low - moderate
Mt Nimrod Reserve
Beautiful walk through native broadleaf forest, with views to the coast as you climb. Native birds and (possibly) wallabies on the track as well. The camping ground is one of the nicest in the district, and is a wonderful place to hear the dawn chorus.
Location: Hunters Hills. Off Back Line Road, 43 km northwest of Waimate. Time: 2-3 hours loop track. Level of Fitness: High. No dogs.
Evans Crossing - Pareora River
This track follows the river from Evans Crossing to the Pareora dam.
There are masses of picnic spots on the river bank, and the river at Evans Crossing is popular for swimming in the summer. Dramatic landscape of limestone outcrops, hills, and forest. Do not swim near the dam.
Location: Pareora-Maungati area 48.5 km northwest of Waimate via SH1 and Pareora River Road. Time: 1 hour 20 minutes return Level of Fitness: Easy-moderate.
Otaio Gorge Walkway
This reserve is set in pockets of native bush beside the upper reaches of the Otaio River in the Hunters Hills.
There are deep pools for fishing or swimming. The track runs along the north bank of the river for about 1.5 kms, past the remains of a hydro-electric generating system.
To continue into the gorge you boulder hop up the river.
The short track to the riverbed is easily accessible for pushchairs, wheelchairs, and older people.
Location: about 40 kms from Waimate via Backline Road, or SH1. Time: 15 minutes to 1.5 hours. Level of Fitness - Low to medium
Lake Benmore walks
The Waitaki Lakes are a great place to explore on foot - it's a dramatic landscape of water and mountains.
There are several signposted tracks for walking and mountain biking, or you can guide yourself along the lakesides.
This area is an easy day trip from Waimate; and a perfect break on the journey to or from Central Otago.