Many day-walks in Central Otago are let down somewhat by a long walk in weedy farmland to get to a conservation area, and then before you know it, it’s time to return. On paper the walk up Devils Creek Track to Mt Kinaki (1309m) is just this kind of walk, although I thought the topography of Devils Creek held some promise. Well, I ended up enjoying this walk from start to finish. In perfect mid-autumn conditions the colours were just lovely, including the weeds, and the rocky slopes of the Dunstan Range were otherworldy. But it was Devils Creek itself that stole the show – a fabulously deep cut, arid and rocky valley that I think earns its devilish name. You also get views back towards Lake Dunstan and the 1963m Pisa Range.
The walk is entirely on an old vehicle track – another quality that I usually dislike in my walks – but on this occasion I was grateful for, as I had recently broken a couple of ribs. And there are plenty of rocks to climb along the way to take your photos from.
The walk starts near Cromwell on Highway 8 next to Lake Dunstan. Track notes at the end.
Devils Creek Track to Mt Kinaki: The Scenery
Walking as far as Mt Kinaki is a fairly easygoing 18km walk with 1100m change in elevation, entirely along an old vehicle track. This track is less distinct in the Bendigo Conservation Area, which starts near point 1035m. The vegetation looks quite similar to what you have been walking through.
We stopped at the summit, but next time I might walk on a bit to see more interesting topography where Devils Creek bends around to the south.
More info on the DOC website.