Hinewai Reserve & Stony Bay Peak, Banks Peninsula, Canterbury NZ

A long circuit walk through mostly native bush in the Banks Peninsula’s largest nature reserve, Hinewai Reserve.

Hinewai Reserve & Stony Bay Peak, Banks Peninsula

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).

Hinewai Reserve & Stony Bay Peak, Banks Peninsula
On the drive in. Stony Bay Peak to the right. This is on the other side of the hill to the reserve.

Track notes at the end.

Hinewai Reserve & Stony Bay Peak: The Scenery

Hinewai Reserve & Stony Bay Peak, Banks Peninsula
The from Miki Miki Knob down to Otanerito Bay.
Hinewai Reserve & Stony Bay Peak, Banks Peninsula
A shot of the reserve from Jules Knob. You can see the patchwork quality of the regrowth. The remaining gorse is in yellow.
Hinewai Reserve & Stony Bay Peak, Banks Peninsula
Wairuru Falls

Hinewai Reserve & Stony Bay Peak, Banks Peninsula Hinewai Reserve & Stony Bay Peak, Banks Peninsula Hinewai Reserve & Stony Bay Peak, Banks Peninsula

Hinewai Reserve & Stony Bay Peak, Banks Peninsula
I liked the light and contrasting colours in this scene.
Hinewai Reserve & Stony Bay Peak, Banks Peninsula
There were some areas of beech forest.
Hinewai Reserve & Stony Bay Peak, Banks Peninsula
The remaining gorse in full bloom. Very nice like this, but otherwise it’s just an impenetrable spikey weed.
Hinewai Reserve & Stony Bay Peak, Banks Peninsula
This tree looks a bit alien.
Hinewai Reserve & Stony Bay Peak, Banks Peninsula
Point 646m in the centre there. A bit of glare on this photo unfortunately.
Hinewai Reserve & Stony Bay Peak, Banks Peninsula
Walking back past point 646m (right) towards Stony Bay Peak (left). This short section was outside of Hinewai.
Hinewai Reserve & Stony Bay Peak, Banks Peninsula
Akaroa Harbour
Hinewai Reserve & Stony Bay Peak, Banks Peninsula
The view over Akaroa Harbour from Stony Bay Peak (806m).

Hinewai Reserve & Stony Bay Peak, Banks Peninsula

Hinewai Reserve & Stony Bay Peak, Banks Peninsula
Descending from Stony Bay Peak.
Hinewai Reserve & Stony Bay Peak, Banks Peninsula
A panorama west from our way down Stony Bay Peak.
Hinewai Reserve & Stony Bay Peak, Banks Peninsula
Looking past point 646m towards Akaroa Harbour.
Hinewai Reserve & Stony Bay Peak, Banks Peninsula
Fuchsia Falls
Hinewai Reserve & Stony Bay Peak, Banks Peninsula
I forget the name of this tree, but it reminds me a bit of angophora costata around Sydney (mainly the bark colour and twisted form).
Hinewai Reserve & Stony Bay Peak, Banks Peninsula
Broad Leafed Cabbage Tree (or Mountain Cabbage Tree). I’d not seen these before. This one was near the visitor centre.
Hinewai Reserve & Stony Bay Peak, Banks Peninsula
Looking back over the visitor centre and manager’s house towards Stony Bay Peak.


Track Notes

Hinewai Reserve & Stony Bay Peak, Banks Peninsula
We started at the main entrance (the northern most point of the red route) and walked clockwise. All well signposted and you can pick up a map like this at the various entrances.

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.

Author: Edward Hathway

I'm a clinical psychologist and keen hiker.

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