This circuit takes an hour and a half – much more if bird watching. The first 400 metres to the viewing platform are flat, the rest is undulating with a few steps. A few metres along this track is a sign for the Tuatara Viewing Pen. Two juvenile tuatara may be basking at the front of their burrows if it’s warm. Look for bird feeding stations.
This short-cut back to the Visitor Centre passes through beautiful old podocarp forest then regenerating forest. Look for kiwi poo and beak probe marks along this track. A pond alongside the track contains endemic long finned eel/tuna.
This leads through grasslands and 15 year old regenerating native forest to an Otago skink enclosure at the base of a sculpture of Tane Mahuta. To the left of the skinks you’ll find the takahe habitat. Feeding time for takahe is 11am.
A short walk along this grassy track will take you to a special area which is being planted with the host and food plants that native butterflies need. These plants include native stinging nettle so don’t stray from the path! The area is marked by a carved macrocarpa post.
Take a 25 metre walk to a beautiful old miro tree. In winter look for its fleshy bright red seeds which are an important food source for birds.
Pokaka Loop Track
This 15 minute loop track contains not only old fruiting rimu and pokaka trees but is also a great place for kaka to find invertebrates. Listen for the sound of falling vegetation as the kaka pair that frequent this area rip off loose pieces of bark or cut into a tree to obtain sap.
Fuchsia Gully Track
This one way track takes you through mature fuchsia/kotukutuku forest to a very pretty part of Orokonui Stream.
Easter Orchid Track
The beautiful Easter Orchid flowers around Easter!
Robin Valley Track
This track takes up to 3 hours return, some sections are steep and uneven, and there is a 300m change in altitude taking you to sea level at the bottom of the Ecosanctuary. A moderate level of fitness and good walking shoes are required.
The track follows the Orokonui Stream, through a grove of tree ferns to New Zealand’s tallest tree, a Eucalypt. Walkers can exit through the self locking gate at the bottom of the Ecosanctuary. (A key is needed to re-enter). Please make sure that the gates are shut properly.
From this gate the DOC managed Orokonui Stream Track leads to a car park on Orokonui Road (20 minutes). Follow the yellow topped poles around the estuary. Turn right from the car park to get to Waitati.