Nature and conservation
Nestled under the Ohau Range, south-west of Lake Ohau is the Ohau Moraines Wetland Complex.
This vast area of red tussocklands, wetlands, rolling moraines and outwash flats is one of the largest wetland areas to be protected in recent years anywhere in New Zealand.
This high country wetland complex was formerly Tarnbrae Station and was purchased by The Nature Heritage Fund.
The hill slopes are mostly covered in tussock grasslands with small patches of mountain beech/tawhai, extensive snow tōtara shrublands and grey shrublands of matagouri/tūmatakuru, mānuka and small leaved Coprosma.
The moraines are tussock-covered with native shrubs on dry ridges. Between the dry ridges are wetland hollows of extensive
red tussock, sedges, rushes and cushion bogs of comb sedge, low growing heaths and sundews.
Several rare and threatened plants are found here —the small summer green lily Iphigenia novaezelandiae, coral broomCarmichaelia crassicaule, and the buttercups Ranunculus maculatus and R. brevis as well as the sedge Carex lachenalii.
New Zealand falcon/kārearea can be found within rock outcrops and shrublands on the Ohau Range Range and kakī / black stilt, South Island pied oyster-catchers / torea, banded dotterels / tūturiwhatu and Australasian pied stilts / poaka use a
number of ponds that seasonally contain water.
If you are fortunate you may be able to spot some tiny native fish in the springs and streams at the base of the Ohau Range including big nose galaxiias (Galaxias macronasus), which is found only in the Mackenzie Basin.
Visitors to the area can get expansive views of Lake Ohau and the surrounding mountains, including the very picturesque Ben Ohau/Ruataniwha Peak.
The Ohau Moraines Wetland Complex is located inland from the North Otago town of Omarama, South Island.
Take SH8 between Twizel and Omarama. Turn onto Quailburn Road 4.5km north of Omarama.
Know before you go
- Dial 111 for fire emergency.
- This is a sensitive environment so please ensure weeds are not spread.