The honeydew beech forests found in Rotoiti Mainland Island are capable of supporting large numbers of native birds.

Around 100,000 people visit Lake Rotoiti's Kerr Bay every year and with the recovery area right beside the campground they need only walk a short distance to experience flourishing native forest and birdlife.

What to see

Fantail. Photo copyright: Ketzal Sterling (DOC USE ONLY).
Fantails are a common sight at
Lake Rotoiti

The recovery project's beech forest is alive with the sights and sounds of birds. Bellbirds chime a constant chorus, fantails can be seen flitting from tree to tree and increasingly the screech of the kaka can be heard ringing out. There are a number of walks, of varying lengths, leading off from the campground and weaving through the forest. Walks go past colourful information panels that tell the story of the project and the flora and fauna within it.

The Bellbird Walk is a wheelchair-accessible pathway that takes about 15 minutes. About 45 minutes should be allowed for the Honeydew Walk while the Loop Track goes even further into the forest and takes about an hour and a half. The DOC St Arnaud Visitor Centre also has interesting and informative displays on the project.

When to go

The Rotoiti Nature Recovery Project can be visited at any time of year. In summer, the area bustles with holidaymakers while in winter snow-covered peaks create a spectacular setting.

How to get there

The project area and Lake Rotoiti are easily reached from both Nelson and Marlborough. From Nelson City, follow State Highway 6 south and take the turn-off to the left sign-posted for Nelson Lakes after passing through Wakefield. This road reaches a T-junction with State Highway 63 where you turn right to reach the village of St Arnaud and Lake Rotoiti.

From Blenheim take State Highway 63 south-west out of town and follow it all the way to St Arnaud. If travelling north on State Highway 6 from Springs Junction, you can reach St Arnaud by turning right onto State Highway 63 at Kawatiri Junction north of Murchison. A number of companies operate bus services to St Arnaud from Nelson, Blenheim and the West Coast.

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