We recently watched a documentary on the advice of friends-Fools and Dreamers-about the establishment of Hinewai Reserve, and also its passionate and somewhat maverick manager, Hugh Wilson. With gale force winds forecast for the mountains on my day off we decided to make our first visit to Hinewai, near Akaroa on the Banks Peninsula. The circuit route we chose took in a variety of waterfalls and viewpoints, the highest being Stony Bay Peak at 806m, where there are views over Akaroa Harbour.
In 30 years the reserve has been transformed from mostly paddock into largely native bush. The novel approach taken by the manager was to allow the virulent weed gorse to grow, providing a temporary canopy for native seedlings, which eventually outgrow and kill the gorse by starving it of sunlight. The documentary is only 30 minutes but quite interesting, and the reserve has a website. The reserve is privately owned but is open to all people, so long as they act in the spirit of nature conservation (basically just leave things as they are).
Track notes at the end.
Hinewai Reserve & Stony Bay Peak: The Scenery
We started at the main entrance (the northern most point of the red route, which I have drawn in) and walked clockwise. This route was quite long and took roughly 6 hours. All well signposted and you can pick up a map like the one above at the various entrances. We did walk for a while up the Waterfalls Track to a supposed viewpoint of Whakamate Falls, but we couldn’t see anything, and I suspect the bush may have grown and obscured this view.
The visitor centre near the main entrance is quite good and worth a visit. You can stay overnight there for $20 pp per night, and they have excellent facilities.
There’s more information on the Hinewai Reserve website.