Kanuka Track, Bendigo (near Cromwell), Central Otago NZ

This loop walk passes through the Bendigo area, an old mining district in Central Otago near Cromwell. The track undulates through native Kanuka forest and amongst rocky outcrops, and there are wide open views of the Pisa Range and Clutha Valley.

Kanuka Loop Track, Bendigo, Central Otago

On our seventh visit to Queenstown in May 2017 I had to work a bit harder to find decent sized day walks that we hadn’t already done. In doing so I came across the reasonably unique Kanuka Track, situated in Bendigo, an old mining area near Cromwell in Central Otago. The walks in Central Otago generally pass through fairly arid country, and they often start in farmland, then end up in grassland reserves or sometimes on arid alpine plateaus. But this one took us through native Kanuka forest, and up and down the foothills of the Dunstan Mountains, which were peppered with rocky outcrops. There were views of the almost 2000m high Pisa Range which we had climbed a couple of years earlier, and of the wide open Clutha Valley, which contains vineyards, farmland, and Lake Dunstan, which was formed by damming the Clutha River.

It was lovely weather, but we set off a bit late and the autumn sun was already starting to head behind the Pisa Range, so that is a bit hazy in all my shots. The track is easy to follow, and info is provided here on the DOC website.

Kanuka Track: The Scenery

Kanuka Loop Track, Bendigo, Central Otago
At the start. The Pisa Range was prominent for much of the walk. Unfortunately the sun made it a little hard to photograph. Quite hazy.
Kanuka Loop Track, Bendigo, Central Otago
A glary shot.

Kanuka Loop Track, Bendigo, Central Otago

Kanuka Loop Track, Bendigo, Central Otago
Looking towards the St Bathans Range.
Kanuka Loop Track, Bendigo, Central Otago
Looking south-west.
Kanuka Loop Track, Bendigo, Central Otago
Looking south-west.
Kanuka Loop Track, Bendigo, Central Otago
There were sections of these strange, hard plants. They looked like they would be soft and spongy.
Kanuka Loop Track, Bendigo, Central Otago
A closer luck at the rock like plants.
Kanuka Loop Track, Bendigo, Central Otago
The kind of country we walked through. A touch reminiscent of the Australian bush, at least compared to most of NZ.
Kanuka Loop Track, Bendigo, Central Otago
Looking north over Clutha Valley vineyards and farmland. Quite dry in this area but well irrigated.

Kanuka Loop Track, Bendigo, Central Otago

Kanuka Loop Track, Bendigo, Central Otago
We descended into the valley beside the near rock formation.
Kanuka Loop Track, Bendigo, Central Otago
These trees lined the narrow valley. Not sure what they are but they don’t look to be native.
Kanuka Loop Track, Bendigo, Central Otago
Near the end.

Author: Edward Hathway

I'm a clinical psychologist and keen hiker.

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