The area has several entry points, the Prospect Hill, Omeo Gully Tracks and Symes Road are good examples. Access to the conservation area is on dry-weather, largely un-maintained legal roads. In winter, because of snow and ground conditions they become impassable and are closed.
Vehicle access along the top of the Old Man Range as far as Hyde Rock to the south and, the TV tower by Kopuwai/Obelisk to the north, is from Symes Road, straight up the hill from Fruitlands.
The Duffers Saddle entrance is reached via Bannockburn and the road to the Nevis Valley. Just over the brow, the Old Woman Track goes off to the left and climbs to the Kopuwai entrance about four kilometres away. The Old Woman Hut is just inside Kopuwai’s boundary and vehicles can continue to Boundary Gate – 4WD access beyond this requires landowner permission. Walking, biking and horse access is on a marked track, by courtesy of the landowner. Heading south in the conservation area a well-defined walking, biking and horse track leads to Hyde Rock on top of the range. The other 4WD access point is from Shingle Creek, via the Waikaia Bush Road.
Several access routes cross private land on easements for walkers and mountain bikers only – vehicles need landowner permission. Respect livestock and property and follow the instructions on DOC signs. Leave gates as you find them and use stiles where they’re provided.
Know before you go
This area is subject to weather extremes at any time of year and roads can become very wet and swampy. DOC’s office in Alexandra can advise on current conditions.
In winter the ranges are blanketed in snow. In summer, warm, pleasant conditions can reverse within minutes with freezing temperatures, high winds and severe, disorientating white-outs. Sensible clothing and footwear is essential.