This lesser known walk in New Zealand’s own Blue Mountains ascends through beech forest to a high point of 1019m at Tapanui Hill. The views of surrounding farmland are extensive, but the forest is probably the highlight.
This walk is a reasonably short side-trip off Route 8 between Dunedin and Queenstown. It’s near nowhere in particular, so if you are passing by this way it’s a good opportunity to stop and do the walk. The loop track starts at Black Gully and ascends through very attractive beech forest to tussock grass on high ground. Views of the surrounding farmland are extensive, but for me the beech forest was the highlight. There are also some lush sections of gully forest towards the end.
The Blue Mountains were apparently named by gold miners after their likeness to Sydney’s Blue Mountains, but to be honest I can’t see much similarity. Track notes at the end.
Black Gully Loop: The Scenery
We used track notes in Day Walks of New Zealand: Central Otago and Queenstown,although they didn’t describe a loop, so we just winged that part. It starts at Black Gully campground, ascends pretty directly up through beech forest, then you walk north along the tops for a couple of kilometres to Tapanui Hill at 1019m of elevation. Head back just a bit to find another track down the mountain through even more attractive beech forest to complete the loop (rejoining the track out very near the start, I think). I can’t see this track down on any maps, but it is easy enough to see when you are there.