The name Orokonui is used for the sanctuary but for hundreds of years before it has been the name of the valley our reserve nestles into. Given this the best way to explore all of Orokonui would be to travel from the top of the valley to the bottom (and back again), and that is exactly what participants of the 2023 Orokonui Walk for Wildlife did on Sunday October 1st.
With promise of a sunny day around 50 walkers from 8 to 80 years old gathered at the Orokonui visitor’s centre before opening, to venture down the valley. Trickling out in groups, walkers began their adventure from mountains to sea. Our trails follow the valley centre, and the stream. Winding through regenerating bush, ancient forest giants like rimu, totarā and miro, and through the tallest forest canopy in Aotearoa New Zealand thanks to the eucalypts.
After reaching the valley floor guided by the calls of our native birds. Walkers exited the sanctuary to head further towards the sea looping around the Orokonui estuary. This part of the walk took participants, along boardwalks, past mudflats and right to sea level enjoying a different suite of wildlife that inhabits these parts.
After circumnavigating the inlet, it was time for walkers to head back through the fence to climb up the robin valley track towards the visitor’s centre and lunch. After some amazing efforts up the hill by all, but particularly those with youngest legs. Everyone arrived back at the top of the valley to be re-fuelled by a specially prepared lunch from our café team and with support of Bidfood and Goodman Fielder to supply the ingredients needed to cater everyone with delicious kai. Given the hot day we were also glad we also had some great drinks kindly supplied by Phoenix Organics and StrangeLove Soda on hand for those that took part.
Before everyone carried on further exploring or recovering, we were able to reward the efforts of participants with some great spot prizes from Bivouac Outdoor Dunedin, Night ‘n Day, Four Square Port Chalmers, Anytime Fitness, and Tea Total.
Thanks to everyone who took part we had a great time and were able to raise some funds towards supporting conservation at Orokonui and helping to help wildlife thrive!
Another enormous thanks to all the business who supported us to run this great event. Bidfood, Phoenix Organics, StrangeLove Soda, Goodman Fielder, Bivouac Outdoor Dunedin, Night ‘n Day, Four Square Port Chalmers, Anytime Fitness, and Tea Total.
If you missed out this year, we will bring back the walk in 2024. But we also have the Orokonui challenge coming up, our 18.7km running race is the ultimate way you can support conservation while challenging yourself. Learn more about it here.