This steep but short track will take you up through some original forest of Banks Peninsula to a summit with great views. Ōtepatotu is popular with families. This is a steep track with steps, and a reasonable level of fitness is required. Not suitable for children under 5.
From the carpark the track climbs through a remnant of mountain tōtara forest to reach the summit of Lavericks Peak (755 m). Nearing the summit, trees are hung with weeping moss, creating a 'goblin forest' atmosphere. This is appropriate to the loose translation of the name Ōtepātotu, 'place of the fairies'. The summit offers grand views of the Akaroa harbour and the surrounding peaks.
The return track travels down through a native fuchsia/kōtukutuku gully forest on the southern side.
Picnic tables and a toilet are available at the car park.
Follow the Akaroa Highway, SH75 to the top of the hill above Little River, then take the Summit Road (Tourist Drive) to the Pigeon Bay turnoff. Continue on the Summit Road 13.5 km past the turnoff to find the reserve. Ōtepatotu is located along the Summit Road midway between Okains and Le Bons Bays. The reserve is adjacent to the road, with limited roadside parking
Auckland, Northland and parts of the Waikato are at Level 3. DOC huts and campsites are closed in these regions. The rest of New Zealand is at Level 2.